Israeli startup flexiWAN has introduced open source SD-WAN software that, it believes, can give telcos a competitive edge by enabling them to customize services to suit their own needs.
The company says its approach, based on modular software elements, addresses a growing problem in the SD-WAN market -- namely that service providers are struggling to differentiate because they're all selling similar services based on the same set of inflexible systems, says flexiWAN's co-founder and CEO Amir Zmora.
"Our mission is to disrupt and democratize the SD-WAN market," Zmora says. flexiWAN says its modular nature allows service providers to integrate best-of-breed WAN optimization, security, network monitoring and other components to provide customized services to enterprise customers. Other SD-WAN providers offer a monolithic product -- a "black box," says the flexiWAN chief. "They throw it into one box and say 'take it or leave it'," claims Zmora.
Additionally, the open source nature of flexiWAN's software frees service providers from vendor lock-in, Zmora says.
flexiWAN's business model is to provide management services from the cloud, as well as an optional dedicated server, hosted and managed by the startup.
The software, which shipped last week, is also available preinstalled on hardware from Advantech, Silicom and Lanner for on-premises operation.
Open source is becoming a problematic business model for traditional vendors that have witnessed competition from cloud providers (particularly Amazon Web Services) that host the same software, or clone it, and compete with the vendors for customers.
Are cloud providers like Amazon a threat to flexiWAN? "If Amazon decides to launch networking services, we are not in a position to stop them," Zmora says. "I'm not going to build a business model on being frightened by what Amazon can do. We need to focus on serving customers the best way we can. Amazon will provide whatever they provide."
Zmora makes the case for flexWAN in this three-minute video:
Why this matters
SD-WAN is a growth sector in an otherwise flat market for enterprise services. flexiWAN's customizable, open source approach may provide the differentiation it -- and its service provider customers -- need to stand out in a crowded field.
The approach has already attracted the attention of Telefónica, which has been developing SD-WAN proofs of concept (PoCs) with flexiWAN.
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— Mitch Wagner Executive Editor, Light Reading