Study: Legacy networks are a barrier to cloud and digital success

Legacy infrastructure are holding back the cloud and digital strategies of enterprises, according to the results of the 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.

Nearly all respondents in Asia Pacific (99%) agree that legacy network infrastructure will have difficulty keeping pace with the changing demands of the cloud and hybrid networks. Conversely, 93% of respondents say their organization’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.

The survey also found 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 a tipping point is near. Of the APAC IT decision makers surveyed, 92% plan to migrate to SD-WAN within the next four years, up from just 6% today.

“This survey and the resulting data reveal the tremendous pressure that IT decision makers in Asia Pacific 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,” said Bjorn Engelhardt, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan, Riverbed Technology. “It was almost unanimous that to have a successful cloud strategy, organizations must adapt next-gen software-defined networking immediately to support it. Riverbed is dedicated to ensuring this transformation is successful and that organizations are able to achieve the operational agility needed to thrive through the use of SD-WAN for cloud networking.”

Legacy Networks Are a Barrier to Cloud and Digital Success

Currently, performance pains experienced by businesses in APAC are glaring, as nearly half (48%) report that they experience cloud-related network issues specifically caused by their legacy infrastructure a few times a month or more; and 90% said it impacts their business at least monthly. Unfortunately, 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 number jumps to 90 percent for respondents in China and 94 percent in Japan. This gap between realization 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 inability of these networks to support cloud-centric applications and workloads and just as importantly, provide end-to-end visibility into their performance is viewed as a real challenge to cloud success. 70% of APAC respondents stated legacy networking infrastructure is a barrier to their cloud strategy reaching its full potential. This number jumps to 82% in India, the highest percentage globally.  Lack of visibility into the cloud is another key barrier (67%).

Companies are struggling with legacy networks, which are not suited to meet the demands of today’s cloud based applications and their accompanying workloads. Simply put, legacy networks are dysfunctional for the business.

Factors Driving Businesses to Next Generation Networks

In the survey, 55% 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
  • 54% – growing demand for mobility
  • 51% – rising customer and end user expectations
  • 48% – support for IoT devices

Next Generation Cloud Networking and SD-WAN

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, 97% agree that within two years SD-WAN technology will be critical in next generation networks to manage cloud and hybrid.  And while only 6% of those surveyed are currently benefitting from SD-WAN today (slightly higher than the global average of 4%), within two years 57% plan to migrate to SD-WAN, and 92% within four years.

APAC IT decision makers see a variety of benefits for SD-WAN, each ranking fairly close:

  • Increase application performance (43%)
  • Network automation and ability to prioritize apps (46%)
  • Unified connectivity across entire network (44%)
  • Network visibility and monitoring (45%)
  • Simplicity/ease of management (44%)
  • Increased network security (44%)
  • Integration with WAN optimization (38%)
  • Instant cloud connectivity to AWS and Azure (43%)
  • Decreased costs (41%)

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 (50%); increased productivity (48%); greater opportunities for expansion (50%); increased revenue (47%); greater agility (44%); and improvement on digital initiatives (48%).