Let the SD-WAN Sparring Begin!

By Paula Bernier February 10, 2016

SD-WAN is the leading use case for software-defined networking, according to John Fruehe, senior analyst for networking and servers at Moor Insights & Strategy, in a piece he wrote for Forbes. And that’s causing vendors to rush the SD-WAN stage.

SDN in general is messier because it impacts everything in the network; meanwhile, WAN connections involve point-to-point connections, “making them easier to change because they are a single connection,” Fruehe wrote.

As I discussed in the January INTERNET TELEPHONY cover story on SD-WAN, and as Fruehe mentioned in his article, SD-WAN allows for connection diversity, allowing for failover and more diversity. And, as both of us also noted, there is a wide array of SD-WAN solutions suppliers in the marketplace.

Among the companies in the SD-WAN space are Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, FatPipe Networks, Glue Networks, Ipanema technologies, Nuage Networks, Ocedo, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Talari, VeloCloud, Versa Networks, and Viptela.

The focus of Fruehe’s article is to point out that there’s an oversupply of SD-WAN vendors and offer his insight about how things will ultimately shake out among the players in this hot new product category. Fruehe opines that SD-WAN vendors could take one of four paths, including getting big and going public, merging with their peers, being acquired by a traditional vendor, or fizzling out.

That makes sense. In fact, you could apply this thinking to just about any product category.

While we all watch and wait for the SD-WAN wars to play out, there are skirmishes taking place among various players. For example, the discussion during the “Exploring the SD-WAN” panel I moderated last month at ITEXPO in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., heated up at times, particularly as Viptela CTO Khalid Raza sparred with Michael Wood of VeloCloud about which company has the largest deployment, among other topics.

In a conversation with me after the session, Raza (a Cisco veteran himself) noted that VeloCloud recently accepted an investment from Cisco. And he indicated that in light of that, VeloCloud and its SD-WAN solution may not be as big of a change agent as one might think.

Meanwhile, Viptela has been extremely vocal about its stance to challenge existing vendors, namely Cisco, which uses its market power to lock in customers. SD-WAN, and SDN in general, are interesting in part because these new technologies promise to enable users to avoid vendor lock in.

And in the case of SD-WAN, the vendor lock in discussion applies both to equipment/software vendors and to connectivity vendors/carriers.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

Executive Editor, TMC

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