The Global Network Market was valued at USD 12.15 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 39.11 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 21.85% during 2020-2026. As the COVID-19 outbreak spreads, public and private companies, as well as government entities, are requiring employees to work from home (WFH), putting an unforeseen strain on all manner of networking technologies and causing bandwidth and security concerns. According to the April 2020 Verizon Network Report, overall data volume across its networks increased by 19% compared to pre-COVID levels. While data usage remains elevated, the changes in how people are using the network have stabilized. Verizon stated it expects usage to continue at sustained higher levels in the coming times.
- Presently, enterprise networks are under pressure, with more users, devices, and applications relying on the network for essential connectivity to a wide range of endpoints. In response, organizations are increasingly interested in new network architectures and advanced management tools that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to create self-driving or autonomous networks. These advancements are also significantly changing the way enterprises rely on services from their partners and vendors.
- The automation of data center networks is beyond the virtualized environment, orchestration throughout the storage networks, IP telephony infrastructure, and even enterprise energy management systems. Big Data is a significant driver of traffic within the data center. With a majority of applications relying on these data centers, supporting them through increased virtualization, standardization, and automation has become key factors for better performance and higher capacity and throughput.
- Furthermore, as per the survey responses received at Cisco Live 2020, the report found that network automation of at least one type is in use at 85% of the organizations. AT&T was an early adopter of the network automation race with services like Network on Demand that allows enterprise business customers to call up Ethernet bandwidth via an online portal. Bell Canada is equipping its development and operations teams with DevOps tools. The initial application for ONAP and network automation in Bell Canada's network is expected to be in its data center business, aimed at supporting the company's growing cloud applications.
- As businesses worldwide embrace the WFH option, the demand for collaboration and conferencing solutions has experienced significant uptake. To complement that, technologies such as SD-WAN and virtualized infrastructure setups offer reliable technical solution alternatives for companies in the new business paradigm of teleworking.It is expected that this is going to be the norm, even post the pandemic period. All this implies that demand and spend on fiber infrastructure are going to explode shortly. To leverage this trend, several CSPs have already announced their intent to bring forward their CAPEX spend and, in some cases, the rollout of 5G infrastructure as well.
Key Market Trends
SD-WAN and Virtualization is Expected to Hold Major Market Share
- Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) abstract the implementation of new network functions and decouple them from the hardware infrastructure and associated topological constraints, thus making communications networks programmable and, as a result, much more flexible and agile. Moreover, SD-WAN 2.0 functionality allows the enterprise to transcend connectivity to securely program the consumption of virtualized services across the entire network spanning traditional branches, private data centers, and the leading public clouds, all from a single IT governance platform.
- SDN and NFV are together seen as key technologies enabling the transformation of CSPs by providing a lower-cost means to address market demands. The major end-user driving this market are telecom operators who need to achieve CAPEX reduction, improved efficiency and offer new services. NFV has been a constantly complementing SDN by virtualizing network services that run in dedicated appliances, such as deep packet inspection (DPI), firewalls, load balancers, and session border controllers (SBCs), so that these services can run on a single pool of computer hardware, yielding CAPEX and OPEX savings.
- With the implementation of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), companies have accommodated virtualization to overcome the IT costs associated with computing environments, such as hardware energy consumption and maintenance costs. In 2020, companies like Dell EMC collaborated with Vmware and announced new advancements in software-defined networking so that customers can simplify and help lower the cost of networking in today's multi-cloud world. The new Dell EMC SD-WAN Edge powered by VMware is an integrated platform that helps improve the customer experience by bundling VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud software as a subscription with Dell EMC hardware.
- The market has witnessed a convergence of Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and SD-WAN technologies. While SDN and NFV, combined, represent a compelling value proposition for enterprise WAN architectures, SD-WAN has been complementing this technology. The emergence of initiatives such as the Linux Foundation's ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform), ETSI's OSM (Open-Source MANO), and SK Telecom's T-MANO solutions are beginning to be commercialized that can perform integrated management and orchestration of NFVs from multiple vendors.
North America to Account for a Significant Market Share
- The North American region dominates the network automation market, with the largest market share held by the United States. The primary reason for the region's dominance is the presence of leading network automation solution providers, such as Cisco, IBM, SolarWinds, VMWare, Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks, and many more.
- Also, the region's dominance in internet penetration and technology adoption is expected to be a major catalyst for the adoption of network automation solutions. According to the Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018-2023), approximately 92% of the regional population will be using the internet by 2023.
- Substantial growth in connected and mobile devices is spurring the growth in demand for enhanced network services. Since North America has always remained at the forefront of technology adoption, the region witnessed the maximum adoption of connected devices.
- Further, the increasing number of connected and mobile devices is giving rise to a wide range of endpoints. More users, devices, and applications rely on the network for essential connectivity, increasing the need for reliable network architecture. Hence, organizations are increasingly integrating advanced management tools, such as artificial intelligence, to create self-driving or autonomous networks.
- The deployment of technological advancements, such as IoT, multi-cloud environments, or AI increases the complexity of network architectures. Hence, the deployment of these technologies is increasing the demand for flexible and adaptable network architectures.
The network automation market is slowly turning into a fragmented market. It is expected to witness a robust increase in the near future, strongly driven by the trends of cloud and growing network traffic across various end-user industries. In order to maintain their foothold in the network automation landscape, the competitive strategy has been quite strong from the current market leaders, mainly driven by their acquisitions of various startups and solution vendors in the market. Key players in the market are Cisco System Inc., Juniper Networks Inc., IBM Corporation, etc. Recent developments in the market are -
- June 2021- IBM announced the launch of new hybrid cloud AI-powered automation software for communications service providers (CSPs) to help deliver on the promise of 5G, including zero-touch operations, reduced costs, and the rapid delivery of innovative services to customers. In a wide range of environments, CSPs can use AI-powered automation to stand up and manage networks quickly and is engineered to scale new services in days rather than months.
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