SD-WAN Won’t Become a Feature of Branch Routing

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN products and technology offer distinctly different features and benefits compared to branch routers. SD-WAN won’t augment routers but will replace them in the branch.
  • Vendors making branch devices like routers and firewalls should be very concerned about being replaced with SD-WAN hardware and software.

I make no secret that I think SD-WAN is the cat’s meow. It really is transformative technology that, in most cases, can deliver on the promise of an as robust or better WAN overlay that obviates the need for a complex routed WAN architecture and the skills need to maintain it. If an enterprise wants to relegate its WAN to just pipes, it can overlay an SD-WAN on top of the WAN and manage it themselves. If the enterprise wants an SD-WAN and WAN service that has management integration from service provisioning to management, it can get a combined service—or soon will be able to get a combined service—from any number of managed service providers. In either case, gone is the complex routed WAN which is brittle and takes a long time to respond to problems. Whether the enterprise router jockeys will want to give up their beautifully crafted BGP is another matter, but the potential exists for most companies. Continue reading “SD-WAN Won’t Become a Feature of Branch Routing”

Enterprises Want Streamlined Operations. Who’s Going to Provide It?


M. Fratto

• Underlying SD-WAN and virtual network functions address enterprise IT’s desire for more efficient operations.

• Managed service providers can differentiate themselves on operations and should invest in doing so.

I’ve heard some commentary that SD-WAN will become a feature of routers and firewalls, and the product segment will wither and die, but I don’t think SD-WAN products are going to disappear. Some vendors will consolidate features and functions. Cisco and VMware will integrate their SD-WAN acquisitions with their other networking products but that doesn’t mean enterprises will run to consolidated products. There will be some uptake of consolidated products, just like there was some uptake of router-firewall-VPN combinations, but enterprise demand for stand-alone SD-WAN products will continue for some time. There are a few reasons for this. Continue reading “Enterprises Want Streamlined Operations. Who’s Going to Provide It?”

SD-WAN Value Blog Part 2: Managed Service Provider Opportunities to Drive Value

Joel Stradling – Research Director, Business Network and IT Services

Setting the Scene with Research

The first of this two-part blog series can be read here: SD-WAN Value Blog, Part 1: Evolving the WAN to Drive Customer Experience TransformationJanuary 5, 2018.

In the below pie-chart (source: GlobalData Multi-Client Survey, October 2017), we asked a large pool of multinationals the following question:

Do you have a managed services provider (MSP) who helps operate your network?

74% said ‘yes’, while the remaining 26% said ‘no’.

Our conclusions for the majority 74% positive response is that this is driven by the need for an integrated portfolio of services and fast responses for adjustments, maintenance, and repairs. We understand from respondents that network complexity is a hassle that they struggle to cope with, and that with digital transformation paths this complexity is only compounded.

We also think that this 74% penetration gives MSPs an ideal platform from which to expand into existing accounts with more services. SD-WAN implementations are a great vehicle for this, with central orchestration and more deeper management functions more effective for flexible real-time changes – including technical ones to network nuts and bolts and commercially with more pay-as-you-go and ‘as-a-service’ options. This opens up opportunities for service providers to move up the value chain in various areas, including for example professional services. In the same Multi-client Survey, the following graph demonstrates the types of partners that businesses use for. Continue reading “SD-WAN Value Blog Part 2: Managed Service Provider Opportunities to Drive Value”

SD-WAN Competition Between Resellers and MSPs Will Heat Up

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • New products, technologies, workflows and architectures used by ISPs as well as IT’s growing acceptance of managed services are laying the groundwork for expansion of SD-WAN managed services.
  • Competition in the SD-WAN segment will increase as existing MSPs and resellers with MSP offerings enter the market.

SD-WAN is disrupting more than WAN services. It’s also the catalyst for the launch of a new round of managed services, which will have a significant impact on the SD-WAN competitive landscape. The clearly defined choice of how enterprises acquire products – via the channel versus managed services providers – is collapsing as MSPs launch new services based on the very same products being sold through the channel. It’s the rare case where a trend that’s great for buyers because of the flexibility it offers is also great for equipment vendors as they can sell more products, but there is a chance for hidden conflicts in the sales cycle. Continue reading “SD-WAN Competition Between Resellers and MSPs Will Heat Up”

The Competitive Impact of Cisco’s Acquisition of Viptela Is Yet to Come

M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco intends to acquire Viptela for $610 million (USD), but it’s one more SD-WAN product in a sea of products.
  • The competitive impact will take a year or more to be realized, and will largely be determined based on Cisco’s integration strategy.

Cisco Systems intends to acquire Viptela for $610 million. That’s a pretty good chunk of change for a company that already has two SD-WAN products, IWAN on the ISR routers and Meraki’s SD-WAN. Until the deal closes, Cisco and Viptela will be pretty quiet about future plans, but since Viptela will be added to Cisco’s Enterprise Networking Group, it is safe to say it will augment Cisco’s networking portfolio and at least, for a while, be offered alongside IWAN. Continue reading “The Competitive Impact of Cisco’s Acquisition of Viptela Is Yet to Come”

SDN Offers Hidden Benefits That Enterprises Shouldn’t Overlook

Gary Barton – Analyst, Business Network and IT Services

Summary Bullets:

• Core network enhancements can benefit enterprises from a network performance and service cost point of view.

• Flexible bandwidth services and pricing models are maturing and are worth a second look.

In 2015 and early 2016, SDN was the buzzword du jour of the telecoms industry, but the attention has now shifted to SD-WAN. Perhaps this is inevitable since SD-WAN is the newer technology and is at the forefront of several recent or upcoming service launches from providers such as Telstra, Orange Business Services, and BT, amongst others. SD-WAN also seems to offer more tangible benefits to the average enterprise customer, particularly those with a large number of smaller sites, or those seeking to adopt virtualised network functions such as firewalls and session boarder controllers. Continue reading “SDN Offers Hidden Benefits That Enterprises Shouldn’t Overlook”

Intentionally Making the Most of SD-WAN

M. Fratto
M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Successfully deploying SD-WAN means moving from rigid, static policies to dynamic enforcement of your intentions.
  • Static rules should be a thing of the past and alternative equivalent controls should be evaluated for any lingering static requirements.

Few technologies make me sit up and say, “I want that!” when I see them, and SD-WAN is a game changing technology for organizations that have more than a handful of remote offices and want a better, more efficient way of interconnecting branches and a better, more efficient way to manage them. Regardless of the product you choose, and I discuss them in “SD-WAN H1 2016 Market Update: Vendor Snapshots Show a Crowded, Competitive Field Attempting to Diversify,” the benefits of SD-WAN will seem remarkable, fantastical even, until you see it in action. Implementing the routing, firewall, VPN, link load balancing, application performance, failover, failback, and cost management with traditional branch office equipment is very complex and even more complex to change, including adding new sites. Continue reading “Intentionally Making the Most of SD-WAN”

One Box to Rule the Branch, Yet Again?

M. Fratto
M. Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • As companies refresh branch IT products, it’s a good time to evaluate new architectures for a better fit.
  • Network function virtualization (NFV) was born in the service provider space, but the basic concept has legs in the enterprise.

Every five years or so, vendors old and new refocus product development on the branch in an effort both to add capabilities in remote offices and to reduce management overhead as well as the number of trips IT has to make to locations for moves, adds, and changes. There’s always been tension between adding even more appliances to a branch office and consolidating down to fewer multi-function appliances. Having multiple single-function appliances improves performance and increases versatility because functions can be swapped out by replacing hardware, but at the expense of increased management overhead and cost; while utilizing consolidated, multi-function devices promises lower costs, consolidated management and simpler networks at the cost of less versatility in swapping out functional components and the possibility of a failure having a greater impact. Continue reading “One Box to Rule the Branch, Yet Again?”

SD-WAN as Intent-Based Networking: Opportunities Abound

M. Fratto
M. Fratto

• Proscriptive network configurations work well, but they are static and unwieldy and don’t really reflect what IT wants or users expect.

• For many organizations, SD-WAN will be their first contact with intent-based networking, which can open many opportunities.

Admit it, you really want your computers to do what you want, not what you say, but computers are really only good at doing what you tell them—nothing more and nothing less. That paradigm has driven all of our human-computer interactions, including how IT systems are designed and operate. Continue reading “SD-WAN as Intent-Based Networking: Opportunities Abound”

The Case for SD-WAN

M. Fratto
M. Fratto

• Your organization may be in the minority that won’t benefit from SD-WAN products replacing your existing WAN infrastructure, but for everyone else, there’s significant upside to moving to SD-WAN sooner rather than later.

• Algorithms in SD-WAN products rationalize competing demands such as current conditions and your pre-defined requirements to optimize application performance. Let go and get on with your day.

There are too many times when I see a technology and think, “Yeah, I want to buy that.” I’m talking technology, not products, in this note. SD-WAN is one of those technologies that I think has so much upside that no matter what product you pick the result will be far and away better than what you have, in particular for interconnecting remote sites. I’m not entirely convinced of the efficacy of SD-WAN for inter-data center connectivity. The key feature is operational simplicity when compared to how inter-office connectivity is achieved today. Continue reading “The Case for SD-WAN”