In 2015, SD-WAN achieved liftoff with numerous real-world deployments from a range of organizations.
Unlike some technologies, SD-WAN lived up to the hype in 2015, and it will continue to prosper this year because it enables operational and capital savings.
Which brings us to Thursday's news that VeloCloud Networks Inc. raised $27 million in a Series C round of funding. (See Cisco Joins $27M Round for SD-WAN Startup VeloCloud.)
There are also several types of SD-WAN, or hybrid WAN, offerings from vendors. VeloCloud bills itself as a "cloud-delivered" SD-WAN company, which means its customers don't need to purchase or rent hardware. On the other hand, router vendors are building SD-WAN capabilities based on their existing platforms.
VeloCloud set up a proof-of-concept demo at the ONUG Fall Summit. The demonstration showed how hybrid WAN or Internet-only WAN branch office connectivity could deliver business grade application performance over the Internet in the face of network impairments. It also outlined SD-WAN use cases for network connectivity, application performance, security, cloud service providers and managed service providers.
Other SD-WAN startups include CloudGenix Inc. , Viptela and Versa Neworks as well as established companies such as Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD), Pertrino/Cradlepoint, Talari Networks and Silver Peak Systems Inc. .
Enterprises and service providers that utilize SD-WAN can cut down on the cost of relying on expensive MPLS services. With SD-WAN, customers can either use private MPLS circuits for their mission critical traffic, or the public Internet for less sensitive material.
Based on policies that are in a central controller, SD-WAN software forwards traffic across the link that is best suited to handle that flow's SLA requirements without needing a network engineer.
Large enterprises, such as banks, lapped up SD-WAN services last year, but there could be more service provider deployments this year. VeloCloud notched customer wins with Vodafone Americas and communications provider MetTel late last year.
By implementing an application orchestration stack that manages connectivity, service providers can tap into the benefits of SD-WAN by offering it within their commercial services portfolios.
While last year represented a high-water mark for SD-WAN, this year's deployments will exceed that level.
— Mike Robuck, editor, Telco Transformation