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How to Optimize Your Edge Strategy with SD-WAN

It’s increasingly clear that edge computing is now center-stage for forward-looking organizations considering their digital strategies. According to IDC research[1], 73% of C-suite respondents now view edge as a strategic investment, and by 2024 there will be an 800% increase in the number of applications at the edge. As a consequence, IDC also project that by 2024, over 50% of new enterprise IT structures will be at the edge rather than in corporate data centers – up from less than 10% today

What’s Driving the Uptake of Edge Solutions?

Edge computing can enhance and expand digital and physical interactions at the physical location where things and people interconnect with the networked digital world.

Organizations building a comprehensive digital transformation strategy are finding that edge computing can expand their use of digital information to help them make faster and better decisions. Edge computing brings computation and storage closer to the devices that generate data, empowering them to obtain real-time market insights quickly and efficiently from deep edge sources and engagements. Being able to quickly acquire, analyze and act on these insights can help transform operations or create richer, personalized customer experiences or drive business differentiation and growth opportunities. 

Why SD-WAN is the Springboard for Innovation?

For many edge use cases, roundtrip latency is critical. Consider IOT and Smart City, for which near real-time business logic and analytics require latency of less than a couple of milliseconds. Edge services have a strong dependency upon the wide area network (WAN) to deliver the low latency, predictability and high performance that these next generation of applications require.

An agile network based on SD-WAN is the way to deliver on edge services’ promise. SD-WAN easily extends its benefits of centralized policies for routing, traffic thresholds, security and access to edge deployments.  SD-WAN can also enhance the performance of edge applications through real-time analytics of bandwidth requirements. It’s no surprise that over 82% of enterprises plan to migrate existing WAN/network connections to an SD-WAN alternative (see Figure 1).

IDC US Enterprise Communications Survey 2020

Figure 1: IDC: US Enterprise Communications Survey, 2020

Future-proof network architecture must take into consideration key emerging trends in the networking industry say IDC[1], including:

  • Accelerating growth of global IP traffic estimated at 40% CAGR, which is impacting the economics of network expansion
  • Proliferation of IoT and growth of global ecommerce, which is moving intelligence and data gathering to the edge
  • Continued adoption of the cloud, which is transforming wide area networks
  • Enterprises that are demanding a rich media experience to address the needs of their customers
  • The rise of low-latency edge use cases

Lumen’s view is that an agile, flexible network that allows an enterprise to host apps and data across multiple clouds at the lowest cost, and with superior performance will be the foundation for a successful digital business. It’s about adapting in order to thrive.


SD-WAN: Enabler of Innovative Edge Services

Read more about the ten principles we believe should form the architecture of an agile network in our recent white paper.

What does the Future Hold for SD-WAN and Edge Innovation?

From cost-effective bandwidth management underpinned by multiple connectivity options, to faster deployment enabled by zero-touch provisioning, we believe there are multiple benefits of underpinning edge services with SD-WAN.

But there are challenges to overcome before organizations can embrace the full potential of SD-WAN, including:

  • The expansion of the developer ecosystem to support the development of over 520 million new apps and services that IDC predicts will be deployed by 2024[1]
  • Integration of key enterprise customers and media providers as partners
  • Creating opportunities for interoperability across service provider networks, hyperscalers and vendor solutions
What could Edge-enabled SD-WAN mean for your Organization

The opportunities are clear. All industries will benefit from the low-latency, high-performance, security and storage capabilities of edge services. From retail to energy, logistics to healthcare, industry investments are growing.  Find out about emerging edge use cases that will leverage SD-WAN by downloading our new whitepaper written in collaboration with IDC.

[1] SD-WAN, Enabler of Innovative Edge Services, IDC, April 2021

Interested to know more?

Find out how you can transform your edge strategy with Lumen SD-WAN Solutions.

SD-WAN Diagram