Where Next for SD-WAN?
SD-WAN emerged as a way for enterprise and SMB customers to cut network costs. But the real benefits of SD-WAN are "network flexibility or redundancy, dynamic routing capability and improved application performance," explains Mike Sapien, chief analyst of Enterprise Services for Ovum.
As the SD-WAN market moves past the early-adopter phase to what Sapien calls "SD-WAN 3.0," service providers are rethinking their SD-WAN offerings to focus on simplicity; offer more network, feature and vendor choices; and target the IT outcomes that customers are demanding, such as improved application performance and more integrated security options, adds Ovum Ltd. 's Sapien. He explains that SD-WAN 3.0 is a more stable, production-ready service with significant new features added.
TPx Communications is an example of this shift where carriers are partnering with multiple SD-WAN vendors, says Sapien. In February, TPx announced a new partnership with Silver Peak, in addition to the operator's existing partnership with VeloCloud. Sapien explains that TPx told him it is happy with VeloCloud's offering but wanted to add Silver Peak to meet the needs of some customers with more complex requirements. (See TPx Takes SD-WAN International With Silver Peak and Silver Peak Powers TPx Expansion of SD-WAN Services.)
"These carriers are now in that 3.0 era where they're looking for other options – for other customers, a feature that's more complex, or even customers that want something more simple... looking for a lightweight version of this that's cheaper," says Sapien. "It's not just TPx going up-market with Silver Peak; you'll see other providers going down-market with a simple, cheaper, lightweight version of [SD-WAN]."
While Windstream already offers a lighter version of SD-WAN in its Advanced Tier service, Mike Frane, VP for SD-WAN at Windstream, says the sweet spot for the service provider has been the Concierge level SD-WAN service. Frane says the Concierge service is "where we become an extension of your team, from network design to implementation and deployment where we give you dedicated project experts to ensure your SD-WAN and the associated Windstream services are delivered on time and as you expected and they can take immediate action to make changes on the fly and your behalf."
In late 2017, the SD-WAN market experienced consolidation with Cisco's acquisition of Viptela and VMWare's acquisition of VeloCloud. Both Frane and Bob Laliberte, senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) , say it will be interesting to see how consolidation will change the approach to SD-WAN, shifting from SD-WAN as a standalone product to SD-WAN as an add-on feature available in a number of network vendor's offerings.
Light Reading will delve further into the changing consumption models for SD-WAN, new approaches that vendors and carriers are taking in deploying SD-WAN, standards efforts and interoperability challenges, and more during the panel "SD-WAN: How the Market is Evolving," at the fifth-annual Big Communications Event in Austin next month.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading
This is an edited version of a story that was originally published on Telco Transformation's sister site, Light Reading. To see the full story, click here.
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