Tag Archives: softwaredefined

Nuage Networks, Talari SD-WAN tack on multi-cloud connectivity

Software-defined WAN vendors are rushing to enhance their SD-WAN platforms with multi-cloud support, as more enterprises and service providers migrate their workloads to the cloud. This week, both Nuage Networks and Talari made multi-cloud connectivity announcements of their own.

Nuage Networks, a Nokia company, updated its SD-WAN platform — Virtualized Network Services — to better support SaaS and multi-cloud connectivity.

The platform enhancement moves to address three specific pain points among customers, according to Hussein Khazaal, Nuage’s vice president of marketing and partnerships. The three points, multi-cloud connectivity, value-added services and end-to-end security, are already available to customers.

“It’s a single platform that you can deploy today and get connectivity to software as a service,” Khazaal said. “We support customers as they send traffic directly from the branch to the SaaS application.”

In addition to multi-cloud connectivity, Nuage VNS offers customers the option to add value-added services — or virtual network functions (VNFs) — that can be embedded within the SD-WAN platform, hosted in x86 customer premises equipment (CPE) or through service chaining (a set of network services interconnected through the network to support an application). These VNFs are available from more than 40 third-party partners and can include services like next-generation firewalls, voice over IP and WAN optimization, Khazaal said.

While many service providers are leaning toward the VNF and virtual CPE approach, the process isn’t simple, according to Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research.

“Many service providers are finding the vCPE and VNF approach side to be challenging,” Doyle said. “Those with the resources can, and will, pursue it, and that’s where Nuage could be a piece of the puzzle.”

When it comes to enterprise customers, however, the VNF approach is less attainable, both Doyle and Khazaal noted.

“Nuage is one piece of the puzzle that a customer might add if they’re able to do it themselves,” Doyle said. “But most customers don’t want to piece together different elements.”

For smaller enterprise customers, Khazaal recommended using the option with embedded features, like stateful firewall and URL filtering, built into the SD-WAN platform.

Although Nuage has more than 400 enterprise customers, according to a company statement, its primary market is among service providers. Nuage counts more than 50 service providers as partners that offer managed SD-WAN services — including BT, Cogeco Peer 1, Telefónica and Vertel — and has been a proven partner for service providers over the years, Doyle said.

“Nuage is a popular element of service providers’ managed services strategies, including SD-WAN,” he said. “These enhancements will be attractive mainly to the service providers.”

Nuage VNS is available now with perpetual and subscription-based licenses, and varies based on desired features and capabilities.

Talari launches Cloud Connect for SaaS, multi-cloud connectivity

In an additional multi-cloud move, Talari updated its own SD-WAN offering with Talari Cloud Connect, a platform that supports access to cloud-based and SaaS applications.

Talari also named five accompanying Cloud Connect partners: RingCentral, Pure IP, Evolve IP, Meta Networks and Mode. These partners will run Talari’s Cloud Connect point of presence (POP) technology in their own infrastructure, creating a tunnel from the customer’s Talari software into the cloud or SaaS service, according to Andy Gottlieb, Talari’s co-founder and chief marketing officer.

“The technology at the service provider is multi-tenant, so they only have to stand up one instance to support multiple customers,” Gottlieb said. Meantime, enterprises can use the Cloud Connect tunnel without having to worry about building infrastructure in the cloud, which reduces costs and complexity, he added.

Talari’s partner list reflects the demands of both customers and service providers, he said. Unified communications vendors like RingCentral, for example, require reliable connectivity and low latency for their applications. Meta Networks, on the other hand, offers cloud-based security capabilities, which enterprises are increasingly adding to their networks. Talari SD-WAN already supports multi-cloud connectivity to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Talari Cloud Connect will be available at the end of October. The software comes at no additional charge for Talari customers with maintenance contracts or with subscriptions, Gottlieb said. Also, Cloud Connect partners can use the Cloud Connect POP software free of charge to connect to Talari SD-WAN customers, he added.

Are SD-WAN security concerns warranted?

Are software-defined WAN security features sufficient to handle the demands of most enterprises? That’s the question addressed by author and engineer Christoph Jaggi, whose SD-WAN security concerns were cited in a recent blog post on IPSpace. The short answer? No — primarily because of the various connections that can take place over an SD-WAN deployment.

“The only common elements between the different SD-WAN offerings on the market are the separation of the data plane and the control plane and the takeover of the control plane by an SD-WAN controller,” Jaggi said. “When looking at an SD-WAN solution, it is part of the due diligence to look at the key management and the security architecture in detail. There are different approaches to implement network security, each having its own benefits and challenges.”

Organizations contemplating SD-WAN rollouts should determine whether prospective products meet important security thresholds. For example, products should support cryptographic protocols and algorithms and meet current key management criteria, Jaggi said.

Read what Jaggi had to say about the justification for SD-WAN security concerns.

Wireless ain’t nothing without the wire

You can have the fanciest access points and the flashiest management software, but without good and reliable wiring underpinning your wireless LAN, you’re not going to get very far. So said network engineer Lee Badman as he recounted a situation where a switch upgrade caused formerly reliable APs to lurch to a halt.

“I’ve long been a proponent of recognizing [unshielded twisted pair] as a vital component in the networking ecosystem,” Badman said. Flaky cable might still be sufficient in a Fast Ethernet world, but with multigig wireless now taking root, old cable can be the source of many problems, he said.

For Badman, the culprit was PoE-related and once the cable was re-terminated and tested anew, the APs again worked like a charm. A good lesson.

See what else Badman had to say about the issues that can plague a WLAN.

The long tail and DDoS attacks

Now there’s something new to worry about with distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks. Network engineer Russ White has examined another tactic, dubbed tail attacks, which can just as easily clog networking resources.

Unlike traditional DDoS or DoS attacks that overwhelm bandwidth or TCP sessions, tail attacks concentrate on resource pools, such as storage nodes. In this scenario, a targeted node might be struggling because of full queues, White said, and that can cause dependent nodes to shut down as well. These tail attacks don’t require a lot of traffic and, what’s more, are difficult to detect.

For now, tail attacks aren’t common; they require attackers to know a great deal about a particular network before they can be launched. That said, they are something network managers should be aware of, White added.

Read more about tail attacks.

Talari SD-WAN targets mobile with Meta Networks integration

Talari Networks’ customers can now combine their software-defined WAN service with a network-as-a-service platform from Meta Networks.

The platform offered by Meta Networks, an Israel-based NaaS startup, targets remote and mobile users who need to access data center and cloud applications. While SD-WAN technology offers remote connectivity to an extent, it is limited in its flexibility to connect individual remote and mobile BYOD users, as most can’t deploy a physical or virtual SD-WAN appliance. With Talari’s support for Meta Networks’ NaaS software, Talari customers located outside the software-defined WAN perimeter can connect using one of Meta’s multiple points of presence (POP) worldwide.

With the platform, user devices connect to the closest Meta POP to access corporate resources. Instead of applying policies based on site location, Meta Networks takes a user-centric approach by specifying policies and application authentication based on individual user permissions. Network administrators, for example, can create policies that deny mobile users access to certain websites or cloud applications.

The integrated offering is now available for Talari SD-WAN customers.

Versa Networks adds managed SD-WAN partner

Versa Networks added another service provider to its managed SD-WAN partner list. California Telecom, headquartered in Chino, Calif., joins existing Versa Networks partners CenturyLink, China Telecom Global, Comcast Business and Verizon in adding managed SD-WAN services to its portfolio.

California Telecom customers can choose from three available purchasing options: SD-WAN standard, SD-WAN advanced and SD-WAN secured. Load balancing, automated failover, error correction and circuit monitoring, among other features, are included in all three options. Customers can add additional features, such as firewalls, antivirus and content filtering and advanced routing.

“We spent over a year looking for an SD-WAN platform we could integrate into our existing MPLS infrastructure that could offer all the features that were being promoted in the industry,” said Jim Gurol, California Telecom’s CEO, in a statement. Versa’s Cloud IP Platform paired well with California Telecom’s infrastructure, he added, allowing the service provider to go to market immediately.

Customers can deploy California Telecom’s managed SD-WAN service to create various WAN designs, including hybrid MPLS, cloud-based SD-WAN and security-focused models, Gurol said.

SD-WAN adoption impeded by available options

Enterprises are investigating SD-WAN, but the technology is still being adopted relatively slowly, according to a report conducted by Sapio Research at the request of Teneo, a consulting firm and technology integrator.

While almost half of the 200 senior IT and networking managers surveyed said they were investigating SD-WAN in some form, only 20% said they’ve deployed the technology. A third of the respondents hadn’t yet evaluated SD-WAN technology. Part of the reason for SD-WAN’s slow adoption is the large number of available SD-WAN options and variants, according to Marc Sollars, CTO of Teneo, based in Dulles, Va.

“Many firms are clearly putting a toe in the water on SD-WAN or doing a proof of concept, but it’s still very hard to say when this test phase will start to translate into enterprise-level implementations,” Sollars said in a statement. “In many ways, the broad range of choice that SD-WAN brings is what’s causing companies to hesitate over their decisions.”

Respondents indicated the primary driver to consider SD-WAN deployment is to help address the growing complexity of network infrastructure and performance tasks. Cutting network costs and better infrastructure management followed behind.

Cisco refused to participate in NSS Labs report on SD-WAN

Cisco refused to activate the Viptela software-defined WAN product NSS Labs bought for testing, leaving the research firm with a noticeable hole in its recent comparative report on SD-WAN vendors.

Cisco did not provide a reason for refusing to activate the product NSS Labs had purchased for between $30,000 and $40,000, NSS Labs CEO Vikram Phatak said this week. “There was no reason given other than, effectively, they didn’t want to be tested (for the NSS Labs report).”

Cisco’s action marked the first time a vendor had refused to turn on a product NSS Labs had bought for evaluation, Phatak said. Cisco’s Viptela team had initially told NSS Labs it would support the test, which led the firm to buy the product.

“That’s a first for us, candidly,” Phatak said. “And given Cisco’s ethical rules and so on — rules of conduct — I’m in shock because normally, they’re pretty straightforward to work with.”

Cisco refused to discuss the matter, saying in a statement “We believe our customer traction, standing in the market and the continued productive innovation we’re driving speak for themselves.”

NSS Labs wants a refund

NSS Labs wants Cisco to refund the money spent on Viptela. It is hoping it can get the money back without going to court.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Phatak said. “We haven’t talked to any lawyers. I’m assuming that we’ll be able to have the conversation and get our money back.”

Typically, NSS Labs buys products, and the vendors turn them on like they would for any other customer.

“If someone says they don’t want to be tested, we say, ‘That’s great, but if a product is good enough to be sold to the public, it’s good enough to be tested,'” Phatak said. “We’re going to buy it, and we’ll report to the public.”

That’s a first for us, candidly. And given Cisco’s ethical rules and so on — rules of conduct — I’m in shock.
Vikram PhatakCEO, NSS Labs

NSS Labs noted Cisco’s refusal to activate the Viptela purchase in its SD-WAN Comparative Report, which was the company’s first SD-WAN test. Not having Cisco in the evaluation left out one of the largest SD-WAN vendors and a major tech company.

In the first quarter, London-based IHS Markit listed Cisco as No. 4 in the SD-WAN market, just behind Silver Peak. VMware was first with a 19% share, followed by Aryaka with 18%.

The NSS Labs report, released this month, compared the products of nine vendors, including VMware’s NSX SD-WAN, formerly VeloCloud. VMware is Cisco’s largest competitor.

NSS Labs had also planned to include Silver Peak in the comparison but noted it was unable to obtain the product in time for testing.

Tech companies often cite recommended ratings in NSS Labs reports in marketing materials. In April, Cisco highlighted in a blog post the organization’s “recommended” rating for the Cisco Advanced Malware Protection for Endpoints product.

Based on its recent SD-WAN tests, NSS Labs recommended products from VMware, Talari Networks and Fortinet and listed products from Citrix Systems, FatPipe Networks, Forcepoint and Versa Networks as “verified.” Tech buyers should consider recommended and verified products as candidates for purchase, according to NSS Labs.

The company issued “caution” ratings for Barracuda Networks and Cradlepoint, which means companies should not deploy their products without a comprehensive evaluation, NSS Labs said.

Cisco Viptela integrated with IOS XE on ISR, ASR

Cisco has integrated its Viptela software-defined WAN with the company’s IOS XE network operating system, effectively making the cloud-controlled SD-WAN product an option for distributing network traffic from Cisco ISR and ASR routers.

Announced this week, the integration means companies using Cisco’s legacy SD-WAN product, Intelligent WAN — often used with the Integrated Services Router (ISR) — can switch to a much simpler system. IWAN’s complexity precluded broad market adoption, so when Cisco acquired Viptela last year for $610 million, many analysts predicted the company would eventually migrate customers to Viptela.

Connecting Cisco Viptela to IOS XE adds a cloud-controlled element to IOS XE hardware through the SD-WAN product’s vManage console. The cloud-based software is the centralized component for configuration management and monitoring network traffic going to and from the ISR and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) hardware.

As a router network operating system, IOS XE includes dozens of services beyond routing and switching, such as encryption, authentication, firewall capabilities and policy enforcement.

Next for Cisco Viptela

In March, Cisco launched cloud-based predictive analytics for Viptela, called vAnalytics. The software, which companies access through vManage, provides network managers with answers to what-if scenarios.

Over the next 18 months, Cisco plans to merge vManage into DNA Center, a centralized software console for managing campus networks built on top of Cisco’s Catalyst 9000 campus switches. The integration would provide network managers with a single view of their LAN, WAN and campus networks.

Companies use SD-WAN for traffic distribution across broadband, Long Term Evolution and MPLS links connecting campuses and remote offices to the internet and the corporate data center. In the first quarter, companies refreshing their campus and branch networks contributed to a more than 5% increase year to year in 1 Gb Ethernet revenue and a nearly 16% rise in port shipments, according to IDC.

Cisco claimed organizations use more than 1 million ISR and ASR routers globally. ASR routers are designed for high-bandwidth applications, such as video streaming, while ISR systems are for small or midsize networks found in small businesses and branch offices.

Fortinet transitions from partner to FortiGate SD-WAN vendor

Fortinet, a security vendor that has established partnerships with many software-defined WAN vendors, opted last week to start selling FortiGate SD-WAN, its own proprietary SD-WAN service.

In its previous SD-WAN partnerships, Fortinet offered its security services as a virtual network function or integrated into other vendors’ SD-WAN products. To make this transition, Fortinet upgraded its existing next-generation firewall product, FortiGate, to make SD-WAN available as an integrated feature, releasing an updated operating system to support the move. Fortinet’s website states the SD-WAN feature comes at no additional cost with a FortiGate license.

FortiGate SD-WAN includes security features such as application control, web filtering, antivirus, intrusion prevention and cloud advanced threat detection. FortiGate SD-WAN customers have access to FortiManager to monitor and configure deployed appliances, which are available as hardware appliances, virtual machines or cloud instances.

Fortinet counts Alorica, Edward Jones and the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph, Ont., as FortiGate SD-WAN customers.

Cato Cloud SD-WAN adds identity-aware routing

Cato Networks made a series of upgrades to its SD-WAN-as-a-service product, Cato Cloud, which includes the introduction of what Cato calls identity-aware routing.

According to a Cato statement, identity-aware routing goes deeper than application-aware routing, which directs traffic based on application type. Instead, Cato said identity-aware routing assigns networking and security policies that “direct traffic or restrict resource access based on team, department and individual users.”

To do this, Cato Cloud accesses company data from Microsoft Active Directory, distributed repositories and real-time logins to identify each packet flow. This allows Cato Cloud to prioritize traffic on business processes, Cato said.

Cato also added or enhanced its SD-WAN features for real-time network analytics, failover options and multisegment, policy-based routing.

Aryaka expands global private network to Canada

Aryaka Networks added its twenty-seventh point of presence (PoP) to extend the reach of its SD-WAN-as-a-service offering. The latest PoP is located in Toronto and is the first PoP Aryaka has in Canada, although it previously offered its SD-WAN service in Canada through channel partners.

Aryaka also introduced its new director of business development for Canada, Craig Workman, who joins Aryaka from Gigamon, a network visibility provider.

“The PoP in Toronto will further enhance our software-defined network optimization and access capabilities in the region and open up new markets for our partners,” Workman said in a statement.

Aryaka uses its global private network as the basis for its SD-WAN service, which IHS Markit listed as a notable SD-WAN product generating revenue in 2018.

Fortinet transitions from partner to FortiGate SD-WAN vendor

Fortinet, a security vendor that has established partnerships with many software-defined WAN vendors, opted last week to start selling FortiGate SD-WAN, its own proprietary SD-WAN service.

In its previous SD-WAN partnerships, Fortinet offered its security services as a virtual network function or integrated into other vendors’ SD-WAN products. To make this transition, Fortinet upgraded its existing next-generation firewall product, FortiGate, to make SD-WAN available as an integrated feature, releasing an updated operating system to support the move. Fortinet’s website states the SD-WAN feature comes at no additional cost with a FortiGate license.

FortiGate SD-WAN includes security features such as application control, web filtering, antivirus, intrusion prevention and cloud advanced threat detection. FortiGate SD-WAN customers have access to FortiManager to monitor and configure deployed appliances, which are available as hardware appliances, virtual machines or cloud instances.

Fortinet counts Alorica, Edward Jones and the Upper Grand District School Board in Guelph, Ont., as FortiGate SD-WAN customers.

Cato Cloud SD-WAN adds identity-aware routing

Cato Networks made a series of upgrades to its SD-WAN-as-a-service product, Cato Cloud, which includes the introduction of what Cato calls identity-aware routing.

According to a Cato statement, identity-aware routing goes deeper than application-aware routing, which directs traffic based on application type. Instead, Cato said identity-aware routing assigns networking and security policies that “direct traffic or restrict resource access based on team, department and individual users.”

To do this, Cato Cloud accesses company data from Microsoft Active Directory, distributed repositories and real-time logins to identify each packet flow. This allows Cato Cloud to prioritize traffic on business processes, Cato said.

Cato also added or enhanced its SD-WAN features for real-time network analytics, failover options and multisegment, policy-based routing.

Aryaka expands global private network to Canada

Aryaka Networks added its twenty-seventh point of presence (PoP) to extend the reach of its SD-WAN-as-a-service offering. The latest PoP is located in Toronto and is the first PoP Aryaka has in Canada, although it previously offered its SD-WAN service in Canada through channel partners.

Aryaka also introduced its new director of business development for Canada, Craig Workman, who joins Aryaka from Gigamon, a network visibility provider.

“The PoP in Toronto will further enhance our software-defined network optimization and access capabilities in the region and open up new markets for our partners,” Workman said in a statement.

Aryaka uses its global private network as the basis for its SD-WAN service, which IHS Markit listed as a notable SD-WAN product generating revenue in 2018.

Vendors vie for a piece of the SD-WAN market share pie

Most industry watchers still consider the software-defined WAN market an emerging one. This makes sense, given SD-WANs currently account for only a small percentage of enterprise networks. There are signs SD-WAN market share is increasing and maturing, however. The first is the recent merger-and-acquisition activity: Cisco acquired Viptela, and VMware scooped up VeloCloud. The other sign is the vendor landscape has started to settle down, with a few clear leaders in the pack.

Recently, Cliff Grossner, senior research director of cloud, data center and SDN at London-based IHS Markit, released his data center networking equipment quarterly market tracker for the first quarter of 2018. This report covers a wide variety of technology, including SD-WAN.

Editor’s note: The IHS report referenced in this article focused on the SD-WAN vendors that sell SD-WAN appliances and accompanying control and management software to gain revenue, excluding those that offer subscription licensing or software-only approaches. The total SD-WAN market share for the first quarter of 2018 reached $162.1 million.

VMware-VeloCloud and Aryaka battle for the top

The most notable point in the IHS report is a two-horse race is emerging. This quarter showed VMware-VeloCloud with 19% of SD-WAN market share — the same it had in the fourth quarter of 2017. In the meantime, Aryaka — an SD-WAN provider with its global private network — moved to 18%, up 1% from last quarter.

With only 1% separating the two, VMware and Aryaka are now neck and neck for market leadership. It would be easy to assume VMware’s size and channel would allow it to break away from the competition, but VMware has stumbled in networking since it acquired SDN vendor Nicira. The company wisely left the VeloCloud brand in place, as it was one of the premier names in the SD-WAN space.

Aryaka has a solid grip on the No. 2 spot in the SD-WAN market and has a chance to jump into the top spot if VMware-VeloCloud stumbles with any integration challenges. Aryaka has a unique offering that uses its global private network instead of the public internet, making it the product of choice for global companies.

One of the perceived advantages of SD-WAN is its use of internet connectivity for transport. This might work when connecting from New Jersey to Chicago, but a global company that needs to make a Dubai-to-Seattle video call will experience much better quality riding Aryaka’s private network, compared with making a bunch of internet jumps. In his report, Grossner pointed out that Aryaka customers have seen a significant performance boost for cloud-based applications, like Office 365.

Silver Peak and Cisco-Viptela vie for position

Expect to see this as a highly contested market over the next few years.

Silver Peak edged Cisco-Viptela out of the No. 3 spot in the SD-WAN market, with just under $1 million more than Cisco in first-quarter 2018 revenue. There’s no question Silver Peak has done a great job of making the pivot to SD-WAN from WAN optimization and is all-in on SD-WAN. Its EdgeConnect product lets customers move to a hybrid network, then quickly migrate to an all-broadband WAN. Most of Silver Peak’s revenue comes from enterprises, but it has been building a stronger book of business with service providers.

Cisco’s position in SD-WAN is curious, as its success with Viptela is bad for its Integrated Services Router (ISR) business unit — one of the largest revenue sources for the company. In the past, Cisco would have done everything in its power to fight the SD-WAN tide, but CEO Chuck Robbins is directing Cisco to be much more in tune with what customers want versus what Cisco wants customers to want. I believe Cisco will be willing to cannibalize its ISR base to win SD-WAN business. Currently, Cisco has only 12% of SD-WAN market share, but I expect it to be a major player over time.

These four vendors are the only ones with at least 10% of the SD-WAN market share, according to IHS. Outside of these four, the largest amount of revenue in Grossner’s numbers comes from the “other” category. I expect to see more consolidation in that area, with one of the current leading vendors — or perhaps another following behind — rolling up several smaller vendors to gain share.

For now, VMware remains in the top spot, with Aryaka nipping at its heels. Expect to see this as a highly contested market over the next few years. This should benefit customers, as the vendors will push each other on innovation and bring more features to market faster. The SD-WAN market is real, and it is showing signs of maturity, but don’t expect it to slow down.

Silver Peak SD-WAN adds service chaining, partners for cloud security

Silver Peak boosted its software-defined WAN security for cloud-based workloads with the introduction of three security partners.

Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect customers can now add security capabilities from Forcepoint, McAfee and Symantec for layered security in their Silver Peak SD-WAN infrastructure, the vendor said in a statement. The three security newcomers join existing Silver Peak partners Check Point, Fortinet, OPAQ Networks, Palo Alto Networks and Zscaler.

Silver Peak SD-WAN allows customers to filter application traffic that travels to and from cloud-based workloads through security processes from third-party security partners. Customers can insert virtual network functions (VNFs) through service chaining wherever they need the capabilities, which can include traffic inspection and verification, distributed denial-of-service protection and next-generation firewalls.

These partnership additions build on Silver Peak’s recent update to incorporate a drag-and-drop interface for service chaining and enhanced segmentation capabilities. For example, Silver Peak said a typical process starts with customers defining templates for security policies that specify segments for users and applications. This segmentation can be created based on users, applications or WAN services — all within Silver Peak SD-WAN’s Unity Orchestrator.

Once the template is complete, Silver Peak SD-WAN launches and applies the security policies for those segments. These policies can include configurations for traffic steering, so specific traffic automatically travels through certain security VNFs, for example. Additionally, Silver Peak said customers can create failover procedures and policies for user access.

Enterprises are increasingly moving their workloads to public cloud and SaaS environments, such as Salesforce or Microsoft Office 365. Securing that traffic — especially traffic that travels directly over broadband internet connections — remains top of mind for IT teams, however. By service chaining security functions from third-party security companies, Silver Peak SD-WAN customers can access those applications more securely, the company said.

Silver Peak SD-WAN holds 12% of the $162 million SD-WAN market, according to a recent IHS Markit report, which ranks the vendor third after VMware-VeloCloud and Aryaka.

ONF pinpoints four technology areas to develop

The Open Networking Foundation unveiled four new supply chain partners that are working to develop technology reference designs based on ONF’s strategic plan. Along with the four partners — Adtran, Dell EMC, Edgecore Networks and Juniper Networks — ONF finalized the focus areas for the initial reference designs.

ONF’s reference designs provide blueprints to follow while building open source platforms that use multiple components, the foundation said in a statement. While the broad focus for these blueprints looks at edge cloud, ONF targeted four specific technology areas:

  • SDN-enabled broadband access. This reference design is based on a variant of the Residential Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter project, which is designed to virtualize residential access networks. ONF’s project likewise supports virtualized access technologies.
  • Network functions virtualization fabric. This blueprint develops work on leaf-spine data center fabric for edge applications.
  • Unified programmable and automated network. ONF touts this as a next-generation SDN reference design that uses the P4 language for data plane programmability.
  • Open disaggregated transport network. This reference design focuses on open multivendor optical networks.

Adtran, Dell EMC, EdgeCore and Juniper each apply its own technology expertise to these reference design projects, ONF said. Additionally, as supply chain partners, they’ll aid operators in assembling deployment environments based on the reference designs.

Versa SD-WAN counts progress in customer wins, not ‘dollars’

Success in the software-defined WAN market means more than revenue, at least according to one SD-WAN exec, who backs his claim by touting the number of licenses his firm has obtained since 2012.

“While others are talking about their progress in dollars, we’ve been quietly progressing in winning service providers and enterprises and getting them under contract,” said Kelly Ahuja, CEO and president of Versa Networks, based in San Jose, Calif.

Versa counts more than 150,000 global contract licenses since the firm was founded six years ago. Versa SD-WAN customers include enterprises, as well as more than 50 service providers, including Verizon, Comcast Business, CenturyLink and China Telecom.

Yet “progress in dollars” remains a key metric, according to market watcher IHS Markit, which reported 2018 second quarter SD-WAN revenues reaching $162 million, a 12% jump from over a year ago.

The IHS Markit report ranked VeloCloud — acquired by VMware in 2017 — as segment leader, with 19% market share. Aryaka and Silver Peak trailed, recording shares of 18% and 12%, respectively.

Kelly Ahuja, CEO of Versa NetworksKelly Ahuja

Versa SD-WAN wasn’t listed in the IHS report, which included appliances and control and management software as part of the revenue numbers. But Ahuja said revenue is just one dimension of market traction, as vendor products and offerings widely vary. Versa numbers and revenue, for example, don’t include hardware, as the company is subscription only, he added.

“Our traction in terms of the number of licenses [we have] should speak for itself about how well we’re doing in the market,” Ahuja said.

Our traction in terms of the number of licenses [we have] should speak for itself about how well we’re doing in the market.
Kelly Ahujapresident and CEO of Versa Networks

Versa Networks offers three types of license tiers: standard, advanced and secure SD-WAN. The secure SD-WAN service comes with a next-generation firewall and unified threat management and accounted for about 70% of the 150,000 licenses, Ahuja added. Further, customers can purchase Versa SD-WAN licenses based on throughput requirements, which ranges depending on customer type.

“A lot of our business is business to business — to service providers that then sell to enterprises,” he said. “Their customers are typically financial, transportation, retail, hospitality and healthcare.”

Ahuja said the majority of enterprises Versa serves consists of organizations with large internal IT teams that can deploy and manage the service themselves. These include global oil and gas companies, brand-name technology vendors, retailers, and banks and financial firms such as Capital One.