SD-WAN Featured Article

Tallac Networks CTO Offers SD-WAN Insight

January 30, 2019

By Maurice Nagle, Web Editor

Industry events offer us the opportunity to gain insight into where innovation is taking us. Today kicks off SD-WAN Expo and three days of delving into this burgeoning technology. Leading up to the event TMC (News - Alert) had the opportunity to catch up Tallac Networks CTO and Co-founder Paul Condon and pick his brain about this burgeoning space. Find our full conversation below.




What pains are you taking away for customers?

Branch offices often have little to no IT expertise onsite and MSPs and Enterprise IT departments have to remotely enable and manage branch offices to ensure uptime, flexibility, security, efficiency and cost effectiveness of the branch office solution. The new Tallac SD-Branch solution provides an integrated branch office solution with SD-Branch IT automation and remote control capabilities that allow a lot more control and the ability to take automatic action remotely – enabling more uptime, continuity of business critical applications, and a lot more efficiency and cost effectiveness than current branch office solutions. Remote IT automation eliminates the need to send IT experts on site for many common problems and is like having an IT tech onsite at the branch office but via a cost effective cloud-based solution.

How is cloud acceptance changing how your customers or you company operates?

 Cloud-based Software Defined Networking solutions have rapidly evolved to mainstream.  A CompTIA (News - Alert) study in 2018 found “cloud is the key driver in decision making and infrastructure planning... and 91% of firms are using cloud computing in some form and 80% indicate cloud has greatly enhanced or moderately enhanced efforts around automation”.  Cloud based solutions offer many benefits including an open, more flexible, and cost effective solutions with the ability to incorporate more automation and control for customers.  Cloud-based solutions are breaking down the barriers of traditional network vendors and traditional network architectures and customers are rapidly adopting cloud-based solutions and are realizing the benefits of cloud based solutions.  Within cloud-based architectures, the Software Defined Networking (SDN) development cycle also allows vendors to better understand customer needs and build more relevant solutions to customer and MSP pain points.

What are the most important recent communications technology innovations in your industry?

Cloud computing has become mainstream.  Cloud-based management is not a luxury any more.  SDN and network virtualization have changed the networking landscape and offer more open, flexible, automated, and cost effective solutions.  Now we are seeing the evolution of SD-Branch with integrated branch office solutions that incorporate automation and a lot more remote control of the branch office via cloud-based solutions.  Remote IT automation eliminates the need to send IT experts on site for many common branch office issues offering a lot more uptime, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of the branch office solution.  Doyle research says “The branch office is poised to benefit from advances in software networking to collapse network functions into a single platform – the software-defined branch (SD-Branch)” with worldwide expenditures projected to reach $3B by 2022.  These new solutions are breaking down the barriers created by traditional network vendors and traditional networking architectures.

How is mobile changing your business strategy?

With more mobile and IoT devices and capabilities, access is expected anywhere and everywhere and the technology to manage mobility and IoT has become even more critical.  Solutions need to offer connectivity, flexibility, but also ensure appropriate security and control.  Software defined Mobility and SD-Branch solutions have added a lot more flexibility, control, and security to allow you to rapidly configure and deploy virtual network functions and connectivity while also ensuring security, control, and new automation capabilities to manage these solutions efficiently and cost-effectively.

Do you think the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple (News - Alert), Netflix, Google) companies will ever face serious competition?

We are focused on participating with these industry leaders and creating better solutions that work with and integrate key capabilities from vendors such as the FAANG vendors.  Software defined solutions offer a lot more flexibility and openness to leverage, integrate and work with key leading solutions.

How is open-source changing technology and how your company does business?

Open-Source (News - Alert) is accelerating the pace of innovation. You can get components of technology and quickly innovate and integrate that technology into solutions - accelerating the pace of innovation in the industry. SDN has offered a significant breakthrough in capabilities to rapidly create more robust, open, flexible, secure and cost effective networking solutions versus traditional networking architectures. The SDN development cycle also allows vendors to understand and build relevant solutions to customer and MSP pain points much faster than in traditional architectures.  SDN based solutions also now are beginning to incorporate much more IT automation and remote control capabilities that are offering more efficient and cost effective solutions that can deliver more uptime, responsiveness, and business continuity for the branch office.

How can blockchain transform your industry?

We are continuing to monitor the adoption of this technology and determining where it might be applicable to customers within our solutions.

What implications does AI have for your business and your customers?

With cloud-based solutions and cloud managed systems now being the norm, there is a huge amount of cloud data being collected and analyzed.  With learning systems and access to enormous amounts of cloud data providing better information, new cloud-based solutions with a lot more intelligence and remote IT automation and control have become possible.  The same analytics can be used to monitor device health and predict failure for proactive device replacement. The ability to rapidly configure and enforce automated policies that can take automated actions without having to send an IT tech onsite have enabled much faster responsiveness, more efficiency, and the ability to improve performance and uptime more cost effectively. These types of automated solutions and AI systems enable MSPs and IT departments to do their jobs more efficiently and cost effectively with remote site automation capabilities that are a cloud-based extension of their teams. 

Is SD-WAN changing the way you and/or your customers operate?  How?

We are seeing an evolution to new SD-Branch solutions that offer integrated branch office solutions and remote site automation capabilities.  It is not just about SD-WAN optimization any more, it is about remote site IT automation and more comprehensive and cost effective cloud-based solutions for the branch office.  New leading solutions for branch offices incorporate automation and more control of “things” in the branch offices beyond just networking.  According to Doyle Research, “The branch office is poised to benefit from advances in software networking to collapse network functions into a single platform – the software-defined branch (SD-Branch)” with worldwide expenditures projected to reach $3B by 2022. An example of this type of integrated SD-Branch solution is the new Tallac SD-Branch solution  that integrates several key branch office solutions, including gateway, gigabit Ethernet switching, AC power control, and LTE (News - Alert)/4G failover capabilities, into an integrated branch office solution that includes automation and remote control capabilities via a cost effective cloud-based service.

What new opportunities does IoT bring your company?

IoT has created a large network of connected “things” and provides a vast amount of data and information to the network that allow us to enable more control and automation via cloud-based solutions. IoT also uses PoE as part of the networking infrastructure and uses network resources as well, all of which need to be part of overall policy management. We see consolidation of IoT into more integrated cloud-based network and branch office solutions, like the Tallac SD-Branch solution, that provides the ability to customize and provide the appropriate visibility, management, and control for IoT devices including ensuring the appropriate security and policies are rapidly enabled and enforced for IoT devices.   

What is the greatest opportunity facing your industry? 

There are more sites, devices, and more information on the network in addition to more mission critical applications running on the network -- all creating the need for more uptime and faster responsiveness and resolution to any issues on the network.  There is also pressure to manage sites, devices and applications more efficiently and cost effectively with less resources and a lack of IT expertise at remote and branch office sites.  This creates the need and opportunity to provide more integrated centralized cloud-based solutions with simplified but robust management that now provides remote IT automation and more remote control – offering faster responsiveness, more uptime via a cost effective 24 X 7 cloud service that is an extension of the IT team.  An example of this is the evolution of more integrated SD-Branch solutions that offer a simpler integrated solution with more built in automation and more remote control capabilities for managing branch offices allowing customers to focus on their business without having to send an IT tech onsite to their branch office to manage or resolve many common branch office issues.

What is the greatest challenge?

Branch offices have business critical applications and need to deliver services and capabilities but typically do not have IT expertise and resources at the branch office. Enabling and managing branch office solutions that provide uptime and the ability to efficiently and cost effectively provide the necessary capabilities to the branch office is an imperative for branch offices.  Delivering network services in a cost effective way means being able to deploy physical infrastructure without having a physical presence or specialized expertise onsite.  Providing simplified cloud-based solutions that provide simpler but robust management with more automation and remote control capabilities are critical to providing more efficient and cost effective solutions. New cloud-based SD-Branch solutions, like the Tallac SD-Branch solution, are offering a more integrated, cost effective and more robust branch office solution with remote IT automation and more remote control capabilities to enable faster responsiveness and better uptime without having to send an IT tech onsite to resolve many common issues. Continuing to evolve SD-Branch solutions and providing additional SD-Branch cloud-based capabilities and automation will continue to further address customer and branch offices challenges.

What do you hope to achieve at the event?

We hope to increase visibility of new SD-Branch solutions and capabilities, launch and get a lot of interest in the new Tallac SD-Branch solution, and gain valuable customer feedback to allow us to continue to evolve and add additional automation and control to our SD-Branch solutions in the future. 

Why should people come to ITEXPO and collocated #SuperShow events to meet with your company?

To learn about new technology, capabilities and our new SD-Branch solution that can provide a more integrated, cost effective solution with built in remote IT automation that can help them do their jobs more efficiently and cost effectively – basically becoming an extension of their staff via a cost effective 24 X 7 cloud service.  To attend the panel on SD-Branch (“Software Defining the Branch” – SDW-12) that Tallac will be on to hear about new breakthroughs and capabilities in SD-Branch solutions that can benefit them in delivering better uptime, faster responsiveness, and more cost effective branch office solutions in the future.  To share their needs and challenges to allow us to continue to evolve SD-Branch solutions to meet their needs now and in the future.

Please make an interesting prediction about tech in 2019?

The internet, IoT expectations to connect many “things” to the internet, and the expectation to have access to applications anywhere need to be ubiquitous.  People rely on and are dependent on it and are also increasingly intolerant of lack of access or information anywhere, anytime.  The continued challenge of providing all of this connectivity and access anytime, anywhere continues to also increase the threat of someone accessing it and breaching network security.  The increased need for more robust and automated security will continue to be an area for breakthroughs in solutions in 2019.  Ensuring open, available and easy access but ensuring robust and responsive security with even more pressure on IT staffs for efficiency will continue to be an area of evolution and new cloud-based solutions in the coming year. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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