WAN report: Complexity continue to grow as more organizations close legacy data centers
January 20, 2022
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The sixth annual report from Aryaka found that IT teams are planning to invest more in 2022 but expect more transparency and control.

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Aryaka’s survey of IT professionals found that the trend of closing down legacy data centers in favor of cloud deployments is still going strong.

Image: Aryaka State of the WAN Report

IT leaders are managing distributed teams and juggling more complex networks than ever, according to Aryaka’s Global State of the WAN 2022 report. The survey found that a majority of companies expect a hybrid approach to the workplace to be the new normal as the pandemic continues. Also, complexity is up with 40% of respondents managing 50 or more sites.

Aryaka is a managed services provider and software development firm. This is the sixth annual report to survey buying patterns and network investments.

In this year’s Aryaka analysts identified four trends: 

  1. Remote and hybrid work is still a top priority
  2. Cost and consumption are the top concerns around application performance 
  3. Visibility and control are top concerns
  4. Companies are more interested in all-in-one solutions for network and security

“We see customers planning for a permanent hybrid enterprise,” said David Ginsburg, vice president, product and solutions at Aryaka. “Companies know that it’s no longer business as usual, pandemic or no pandemic, they’ve changed their outlook on where employees need to be.”

The report reinforced a few trends and showed that these shifts in IT strategy are accelerating based on these findings:

  • 25% of respondents have closed 25-50% of their sites
  • 25% expect 50%-75% of workers to remain remote permanently
  • Microsoft Teams is winning the video conferencing platform war
  • 35% will eliminate all legacy data centers and move to the public cloud within the next 12 months

“We find clients are really bullish on the cloud and are continually revising up cloud service predictions,” Ginsberg said. 

At the same time, some companies are reversing this movement and bringing deployments back from the cloud to on-prem. 

“Some companies have been burned by fees in the cloud, and they’re looking to cut waste,” he said.

The survey found that 75% of companies are planning to increase spending on cloud infrastructure and security while about a quarter of respondents plan to spend 25% in 2022 in both areas. 

Managing applications

The report authors note that application consumption and performance are evergreen issues for network administrators. Cost and complexity were at the top of the concerns list this year, followed by slow response times.

The survey results show that collaboration apps continue to gain traction and that Microsoft products were most likely to be named the most important cloud/SaaS application:

  • Microsoft Teams: 58% 
  • Microsoft 365: 55% 
  • Zoom: 35%
  • Google Docs: 35%
  • Salesforce: 28%
  • SAPHana:  25%

Also, 48% of respondents have deployed vertical-specific collaboration applications as well. The survey included questions about working with China and found that 50% of respondents cited compliance and regulatory issues as a concern.

Managing complexity

The survey found that some organizations are managing complexity by hiring managed service providers to keep WANs running smoothly. Many organizations are still in the exploratory phase when it comes to software-defined WANs and secure access service edge designs. Closing legacy data centers is part of this transition and the survey found that 35% of respondents will close all data centers and move to the cloud over the next year. A smaller group–27%–will eliminate some centers in favor of cloud deployments.

When it comes to SASE initiatives, the survey found that many companies are still defining overall strategy and goals. Other SASE initiatives include:

  • Phasing out of legacy VPNs
  • Consolidation of SWG, CASB and ZTNA
  • Phasing out dedicated security appliances
  • Measuring user experience and SLA enforcement
  • Creating a cross-functional team

Concerns about complexity are the biggest barrier to SASE adoption, but Ginsberg sees a better awareness of what this approach can accomplish. 

“We’re just at the beginning of this migration which will take place over the next five to 10 years,” he said.

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