SD-WAN FEATURED ARTICLE
Versa Notes SD-WAN Validation in 2017
Playing Monday morning quarterback is not always a pat on the back, but for someone like Marc Andreessen, he’s hoping to see hindsight in 20/20. Software is eating the world, no question. Digital transformation is in full swing, touching all points of technology, but it seems one segment is stealing the spotlight. SD-WAN is winning the day, with projections putting a billion-dollar price tag (News - Alert) on the market in just a few short years.
This once handful of competitors is a rapidly expanding field. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the industry’s preeminent provider’s of SD-WAN. Versa Networks Head of Product Marketing Robert McBride sat down to talk 2017, Versa and, of course, SD-WAN.
Robert McBride: 2017 was an exciting year for us at Versa Networks. We launched our Software-Defined Branch (SD-Branch) capabilities, which ushered in a new approach to virtualize and consolidate branch network and security services. Building upon that, we began to go up the value stack and focus on critical business collaborative and productivity services – specifically Unified Communications (News - Alert). By bringing in native support for reporting and MOS, we can now directly improve these traffic flows within the SD-WAN. The list is long in regards to additional product capabilities we released this year, but to summarize - we enhanced our analytics platform, improved our UX, brought in more automation for cloud, and enhanced our platform to support and host 3rd party virtual services. Beyond new product capabilities, the year brought in many new customers with global presence in both the Managed Service Provider and Enterprise space – with notable wins and announcements from Verizon, Comcast Business, Kalaam Telecom, KDDI (News - Alert), S-Net Communications and Singtel to name just a few. We also had one of our premier enterprise customers present at ONUG Fall 2017 discussing how they are software-defining the banking experience for their customers.
It was a busy year for us and an exciting one at that!
TMC: Can you talk about some of the top trends and innovations in SD-WAN from 2017?
RM: Most notably, what we saw in 2017 for SD-WAN was an intensified focus on security. The number of vendors moving into ecosystem partnerships with traditional security suppliers increased, and we also saw some traditional security vendors move into the SD-WAN space – both through partnerships and products.
Other security trends, with an example from Versa Networks, included the continuous development in adding more native security capability into the SD-WAN platform – things like Anti-Malware for on-premises or cloud based delivery. Not surprisingly, of course, security was a prominent trend through the year.
The cloud has always been a topic closely associated with SD-WAN – whether to connect or consume; however, in 2017, it became apparent that there was a need to have direct support to extend SD-WAN into the cloud. This goes beyond just having a control and management infrastructure in the cloud but to directly having an SD-WAN virtual appliance to enhance connectivity to the cloud. The result of this was that we saw more public announcements and validated designs from some of the top cloud providers. For example, Versa Networks worked with AWS and ESG in a multi-vendor effort establishing how our solutions interoperate with AWS with a published guide available to educate customers on SD-WAN and the cloud.
TMC: How did the SD-WAN industry improve this year? Are there any new or emerging technologies about which you’re particularly anticipating?
RM: I would say the biggest improvement really was the validity that SD-WAN is here to stay. We saw this through an influx in production deployments, an increase in the number of managed service providers announcing service availability, and also because of some acquisitions. The acquisitions placed a level of validation that this technology is valuable and necessary to ensure seamless connectivity from the enterprise edge to the cloud.
It goes without saying that across the board all of us SD-WAN technology providers improved our products’ usability as a result of the learnings we had with our production customers.
As far as any new and emerging technologies go - anything that is about driving automation, automation, and more automation. Specifically, the notion of self-driving or self-healing networks and the inclusion of ML and AI into the branch is exciting. There is a significant need to simplify how we handle IT operations as we move to a highly distributed and multi-cloud world. AI and ML are definitely technologies that will help – whether to enable more automation for network operations or enhance security posture.
TMC: What’s in store for 2018? Are there any exciting new products or events you’d like to discuss or teaser information you can share?
RM: 2018 is going to be even bigger for us at Versa Networks as we continue building upon the Versa Cloud IP Platform to change how enterprises design, deploy, and operate their networks.
Stay tuned to this SD-WAN provider. Built on a secure foundation, the Versa software-defined portfolio is a good place to start the search. This still maturing marketing is making its way to the mainstream with much in the way of opportunity for software-defined networking solution providers.
Edited by Maurice Nagle