Service providers are rapidly deploying software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) services this year as more multi-location enterprises are seeking solutions to lessen their reliability on MPLS and increase network visibility and performance.
The SD-WAN market shows no signs of slowing down over the next few years -- IDC forecasts that the worldwide SD-WAN market for infrastructure and services will exceed $6 billion in 2020, and the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for SD-WAN will be 93% from 2015-2020, according to an IDC report published in March 2016.
In late April, GTT Communications Inc. launched GTT Managed SD-WAN services, and is deploying VeloCloud Networks Inc. 's cloud-delivered SD-WAN technology gateways across the GTT core network throughout North America, EMEA and APAC. GTT's goal in delivering the new managed SD-WAN service to enterprise customers is to expand its hybrid WAN services and cloud networking services, and support the increase in enterprises' network traffic and use of cloud-based applications.
Telco Transformation connected with Samir Desai, director of product management for GTT, over email to discuss how GTT is leveraging SD-WAN to expand existing hybrid WAN services for enterprise customers, GTT's overall SD-WAN strategy and approach to security, the impact of SD-WAN on GTT's MPLS business and more.
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Telco Transformation: How does GTT's recent decision to deploy SD-WAN services fit in with your strategies for existing hybrid WAN services? What is your overall SD-WAN strategy?
Samir Desai: GTT has a deep experience providing hybrid WAN services. We see the recent launch of GTT Managed SD-WAN services as reinforcing the unique capabilities of our hybrid WAN proposition, which aims to flexibly serve our clients' network connectivity requirements. The ability to bring together different WAN access options (broadband, fiber and wireless backup) that integrates into a global network backbone is a crucial aspect in any enterprise WAN solution. SD-WAN leverages our hybrid WAN capabilities to create a more cost-effective network infrastructure and unified experience. This improves application awareness and performance plus the efficiency of bandwidth utilization and network control.
Moving forward, we will integrate other GTT services, such as managed security and voice services, into this unified network experience.
TT: What problems will the SD-WAN services solve for your enterprise customers?
SD: Enterprises are constantly challenged to find cost-effective ways of delivering business applications to end-users. GTT Managed SD-WAN services address this need by enabling multiple WAN access types (including secure Internet) to carry application traffic at the same time. The dynamic bandwidth functionality of SD-WAN allows for mission-critical application traffic to be reserved and routed through WAN paths that have inherent predictability and QoS (i.e. MPLS), while other traffic can utilize more cost-effective Internet-based access. The net result is more effective hybrid connectivity. Application performance visibility and, to some extent, optimization of the network performance of applications like VoIP or video, are other service benefits.
TT: How does SD-WAN improve visibility for enterprises? How can they leverage SD-WAN for business intelligence?
SD: SD-WAN, inherently, needs to understand the performance characteristics of the underlying WAN path as it makes decisions on routing specific types of application traffic across the most appropriate WAN connection. The ability to take this measured data and present it in a meaningful format that maps to specific applications running within an enterprise environment greatly improves network visibility. From a business intelligence perspective, this information can be used to better manage their bandwidth utilization and service level agreements.
TT: Does your approach to network security change with the deployment of SD-WAN services?
SD: Not at all. As an established provider of managed security services, we will leverage and augment our capabilities in this space within our SD-WAN service deployment. As more applications are run outside of the corporate network and accessed via underlying public Internet-based connectivity, the need to provide and maintain the security of the enterprise end-to-end WAN solution continues to be of critical importance.
TT: Will SD-WAN affect your MPLS business?
SD: MPLS still has a place within the corporate WAN network both today and moving forward due to its inherent predictability and Class of Service support. SD-WAN simply provides a seamless way of augmenting other forms of WAN bandwidth to core MPLS connectivity (data centers, mission critical applications) to create a more effective hybrid WAN solution. GTT is well positioned to provide all forms of WAN connectivity unencumbered. For example, GTT has a strong global MPLS core network, but we are not tied to a metro or local access MPLS network that we favor as the preferred customer solution to generate a return on the network investment.
TT: Will you provide customers with different types of SD-WAN services in the future?
SD: We view SD-WAN as an evolving element of the wider WAN infrastructure environment that is increasingly driven by IT applications in the cloud. The requirement for dynamic, efficient and flexible networking to optimize applications performance will continue to gain prominence. As we see the market develop and specific areas of demand emerge, we will continue to be agile in introducing additional technology platforms and solutions to meet changing customer requirements.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading