& cplSiteName &

CenturyLink: SD-WAN No Quick Fix

Carol Wilson
6/7/2017
50%
50%

DALLAS -- SD-WAN Strategies for Success -- Even as the SD-WAN market takes off, it's critically important to set customer expectations accurately for what this one service can -- and can't -- do to deliver better connectivity for cloud-based applications and more, a CenturyLink executive warned here yesterday.

Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect with CenturyLink, said that 18 months of experience selling SD-WAN has made it clear that success in this arena needs to be based on establishing long-term customer relationships, not offering a quick fix to the need for Internet offload or cheaper connections than MPLS can provide. SD-WAN is part of a customer network transformation of that has to be carefully tailored if it is going to succeed in the long-run. Many factors -- the underlying transport, available resources, application type and even the nature of the typical user -- will determine how the service needs to be set up and operated, he said.

"The typical engagement starts with 'I want to reduce the cost of my network while increasing my availability,' " Grubbs said. "The challenge when you start looking into that situation is that there is more than just that to it."

The danger is unrealistic user expectations, he added. "A lot of people think they'll get 80% reduction in TCO" by moving traffic to an SD-WAN from their dedicated MPLS links. "Once they have grabbed on to that, it is hard to reset expectations," so it's better to realize from the outset that "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

CenturyLink's Bill Grubbs

One part of the long-term relationship strategy is working with the customer to help them view SD-WAN as a part of a broader transformation of their networking services and then to design those services to meet both the specific needs of that customer in a way that is not disruptive or risky for them.

"It's about how do I transform the customer to this new technology in a way that they are confident it is not going to disrupt them, it is not going to distract them, and they are not going to have outages, not only through that transformation but through the operational life of the technology," Grubbs said. "The evolution to SD-WAN is exactly that. We talked about a vision of what the end state looks like but you are not going to be able to jump all the way in."

Most customers are not really prepared for the changes ahead, he added.

"We've had good luck with the Versa platform and the integrated security and simplification that provides," Grubbs said. "But as soon as I go into a conversation with somebody and say 'I'm going to change out your network architecture, your edges, your transports and, oh by the way, we are going to change out your perimeter security to the Internet,' people's heads explode."

Grubbs said CenturyLink's practical approach is to take a holistic view of the customers' applications down to the details, as well as the varying sites being connected and their differences, and its approach to cloud connections -- public or private -- among other things. Some customers already have trusted cloud partners such as Microsoft Office365 or Salesforce, some may want the private cloud connections CenturyLink can give them or they may want everything in a public cloud (or think they do). Others are less certain.

"We'll ask if they have a cloud strategy and they'll say, 'Yes, we want to use the cloud,' " Grubbs said.


Want to know more about the companies, people and organizations driving developments in the virtualization sector? Check out Virtuapedia, the most comprehensive online resource covering the virtualization industry.


Security has to be integrated into the service from the outset, but the approach will vary depending on the customer so having both edge-based security and security deployed deeper in the network is an advantage, Grubbs said.

"You may want to have future control planes between your WAN and your LAN but you may not be able to afford to have those as separate pieces today, from a licensing and operational efficiency standpoint," he said. "Being able to do that efficiently gives you the flexibility to be able to evolve as customer requirements do, whether it's for mobility, additional devices, IoT, Big Data analytics," or other things that are still evolving today.

Changing customer deployments is another reason to view all this as a journey and to build in as much flexibility as possible along the way, knowing that, in many cases, service providers have to help their customers plan for the unknown, Grubbs added.

He cautioned network operators to "plan for failure" in how their services and networks are established, realizing that Internet connections won't be as reliable as MPLS, and that as commodity gear is increasingly put into play, backups options and resilience become more important.

And Grubbs advised those getting started to start simply and not turn on features "just because you can," since over-engineering creates its own problems. He called this final piece of advice his favorite and it earned a laugh from the crowd.

"Software-defined networking and zero-touch provisioning don't eliminate the need for planning and design," Grubbs said. Giving customers a portal is fine but careful planning of data center and network resources is still needed. "It all goes back to risk management and mitigation."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading


CALLING ALL CLOUD, NFV AND SDN COMPANIES:
Make sure your company and services are listed free of charge at Virtuapedia, the comprehensive set of searchable databases covering the companies, products, industry organizations and people that are directly involved in defining and shaping the virtualization industry.


(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.