The SD-WAN sector continues to sizzle. To wit: Sprint is conducting customer trials of VeloCloud's software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solution and anticipates a worldwide launch early in 2017.
Sprint announced its SD-WAN plans last week, but Eve Crane, Sprint's Network Solutions' product marketing manager, declined to name the end customers. The goals, she wrote in response to questions emailed by Telco Transformation, are to offer SD-WANs across the carrier's portfolio and to add virtual network function (VNF) services all the way to edge devices.
SD-WAN services offer four benefits, Crane wrote: The simplified pricing and billing of an "as-a-service" offering; flexible management; integrated security and "agnostic" support.
"Enterprises can use new or existing Sprint MPLS or broadband Internet connectivity, as well as bring their own broadband (BYOBB) from other providers," Crane wrote. "Sprint will manage the customer's SD-WAN solution across transport vendors, providing an integrated end-to-end experience."
SD-WANs share essential characteristics with software-defined networks (SDNs) such as the separation of the control and data planes and an orchestration plane, said Mike Wood, VeloCloud's vice president of marketing. SD-WAN offerings take these concepts and positions them as overlays to a company’s broadband-based WAN, which could be wired or wireless.
The ability to highly automate networks is a main benefit.
"Carriers like Sprint are differentiating themselves by integrating cloud-delivered SD-WAN at the core of their MPLS network and in their SP data centers while extending integration down to the branch office to an edge devices using a true multi-tenant architecture," Wood wrote, also in response to questioned emailed by Telco Transformation.
SD-WANs, according to Wood, are ubiquitous, fast and inexpensive. Cloud-based management tools enable sub-second decisions to be made to avoid problems. A high level of policy automation also is possible using this approach, according to Wood.
Despite all of the vendors, there's still a lot of leg room for the growth of SD-WAN services. IHS Markit
said this spring that SD-WAN revenue was projected to hit $1.3 billion by 2020. While startup VeloCloud Networks Inc. is obviously taking a cloud approach to SD-WAN, established router vendors, such as VeloCloud investor Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), are building SD-WAN capabilities into their existing platforms. While the current SD-WAN vendor field is crowded, there are some within the industry that believe that believe there will be consolidation. (See Orange's Isch: Consolidation of SD-WAN Vendors 'Inevitable'.)
On October 5, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said that it will use VeloCloud's SD-WAN technology in two configurations. A network-based option will be aimed at companies with sites that feature a wide variety of reliability, performance and bandwidth requirements. A premises-based approach is aimed at companies with more uniform needs at their end user locations, the company said. (See AT&T Boards SD-WAN Bandwagon.)
On October 12, complink 1210|Colt Technology Services Group Ltd} announced the expansion of its SD-WAN services to 13 European countries. More countries will follow in 2017. It is delivered, according to Colt, as a network functions virtualization (NFV) service built on SD-WAN software running on general-purpose servers at customers' premises. (See Unknown Document 27012.)
On October 11, TelePacific Communications and VeloCloud signed a long-term agreement in which VeloCloud will support the managed service provider's unified communications, managed IT and managed services across the US. The first services utilizing the platform will be TelePacific's over-the-top and UCx unified communications suite. (See TelePacific Taps VeloCloud for SD-WAN.)
Last month, EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK) launched the SD-WAN Concierge. As the name implies, it is a managed service that gives customer access to EarthLink expertise to determine and deploy routing, network optimization and security policies, according to the press release. EarthLink already offers the SD-WAN Advisor, which is aimed at companies with in-house resources capable of deploying and managing SD-WAN. (See EarthLink Jumps on SD-WAN Trend.)
Finally, Nokia’s Nuage Networks will provide its Virtualized Network Services to BT, according to a story by SDxCentral. Nuage considers VNS to be "a superset of SD-WAN," according to SDxCentral's story. The story says that the as-yet unannounced deal furthers the SD-WAN concept by enabling users to reach out to applications. BT already uses Cisco's IWAN SD-WAN technology.
— Carl Weinschenk, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation