Riverbed Technology has announced the results of its Riverbed Future of Networking Global Survey 2017, which explores the impact both legacy infrastructure and next-generation networks have on cloud adoption and digital transformation.
The global survey, which includes responses from 1,000 IT decision makers across nine countries, revealed a high level of agreement that legacy infrastructures are holding back their cloud and digital strategies. Nearly all respondents (97%) agree that legacy network infrastructure will have difficulty keeping pace with the changing demands of the cloud and hybrid networks. Conversely, 91% of respondents say their organisation’s cloud strategy will only reach its full potential with a next-generation network, and 98% agree that a next-gen network is critical to keep up with the needs of their business and end users.
So no huge surprises there, however in a little more detail the survey also found that there is a current gap in the adoption of next-generation technology such as SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) that will accelerate the cloud and digital transformation, however the company argues that a tipping point is near. Of the IT decision makers surveyed, 93% plan to migrate to SD-WAN within the next four years, up from just 4% today, so if found to be accurate, a big shift in a relatively short space of time.
Jerry M. Kennelly, co-founder and CEO, Riverbed Technology says: “This survey and the resulting data reveal the tremendous pressure that IT decision makers are under to execute their cloud strategies, achieve digital transformation and keep pace with the speed of innovation that is the norm in today’s hypercompetitive markets.
“It was almost unanimous that to have a successful cloud strategy, organisations must adopt next-gen software-defined networking immediately to support it. Riverbed is dedicated to ensuring this transformation is successful and that organisations are able to achieve the operational agility needed to thrive through the use of SD-WAN for cloud networking.”
Life in the slow lane
Companies also reported experiencing negative impacts on their business of legacy systems 58% reporting that they experience cloud-related network issues specifically caused by their legacy infrastructure a few times a month or more and 93% saying it impacts their business at least monthly.
The survey also found that 85% of these same decision makers say they are still several years away from reaching the full potential of digital transformation, in part due to their legacy infrastructure. This gap between realisation and actual deployment is consistent from companies across verticals such as financial, manufacturing, retail, energy and utilities, communications and media and IT services, and could threaten their competitive positions in their respective markets.
The level to which headaches caused by legacy networking systems affect decision makers was also revealed with 54% saying they would endure a longer commute to work; 53% would take shorter lunch breaks; and 42% would stop drinking coffee, if they could spend less time dealing with the issue.
In the survey, 57% of respondents acknowledge that achieving operational agility is critical to the success of a modern enterprise, and next-generation networks as well as the technology to support them are key to reaching this goal. Other top factors driving the move to next-generation networking technology:
- 56% – successfully achieving digital transformation initiatives
- 55% – a strategic move to the cloud and hybrid networks
- 51% – growing demand for mobility
- 51% – rising customer and end user expectations
- 45% – support for IoT devices
Riverbed says that while a current gap exists in the adoption of next-gen technology to support cloud and digital transformation in the enterprise, this is changing quickly. Of those surveyed, 98% agree that within two years SD-WAN technology will be critical in next-generation networks to manage cloud and hybrid. And while only 4% of those surveyed are currently benefitting from SD-WAN today, within two years 52% plan to migrate to SD-WAN, and 93% within four years.
Global IT decision makers see a variety of benefits for SD-WAN, each ranking fairly close:
- Increase application performance (44%)
- Network automation and ability to prioritize apps (44%)
- Unified connectivity across entire network (43%)
- Network visibility and monitoring (42%)
- Simplicity/ease of management (42%)
- Increased network security (42%)
- Integration with WAN optimization (40%)
- Instant cloud connectivity to AWS and Azure (39%)
- Decreased costs (38%)
Riverbed concludes that updating legacy networks and anchoring next-gen networking with technology such as SD-WAN will have many positive outcomes for the enterprises according to IT decision makers including: Greater efficiency due to better use of bandwidth (48%); increased productivity (47%); greater opportunities for expansion (46%); increased revenue (45%); greater agility (44%); and improvement on digital initiatives (44%).