Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy (Vendor)

With more than 30 SD-WAN vendors in the market, and as SD-WAN moves out of the early-adopter phase, it's becoming increasingly critical for suppliers to differentiate their products and strategies to address the changing requirements of service providers and enterprise customers.

The SD-WAN vendors that made this year's Leading Lights awards shortlist are making waves in the industry with their innovative approaches in bringing improved security, better application performance, enhanced network management and visibility and more to the WAN. (See How Will SPs Adapt to SD-WAN 3.0?)

This year's Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy (Vendor) recognizes the technology vendor that has devised the most innovative software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) product/platform strategy during the past year.

The six shortlisted candidates are Cisco Systems - Cisco SD-WAN, Huawei Technologies - SD-WAN, LiveAction - LiveNX, Nuage Networks - SD-WAN "Branch in a Box" Solution, VeloCloud by VMWare - VeloCloud (now part of VMware) Outcome Driven Networking and Versa Networks - Versa SD-Branch.

The winners of all 24 Leading Lights awards and the three Women in Comms awards, as well as the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced at the illustrious Leading Lights dinner/party, which will be held during the evening of Monday, May 14, at the Brazos Hall in Austin, Texas, following a day of pre-BCE workshops. Then, the morning after the awards party, the doors open to this year's Big Communications Event (BCE) at the Austin Convention Center.

To find out which companies were shortlisted across all of this year's Leading Lights categories, please check out Leading Lights 2018: The Finalists and Congrats to 2018's WiC Leading Lights Finalists.

Now a look at the finalists for this category:

Cisco Systems -- Cisco SD-WAN
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) sparked a shake-up in the SD-WAN market in 2017 with the acquisition of Viptela in May 2017 for $610 million. Since the acquisition, Cisco launched SD-WAN vAnalytics, a cloud-based SaaS solution based on Viptela technology, which provides data and analysis for the WAN's branch offices, multicloud endpoints and service providers, and addresses "what-if" scenarios to predict application and bandwidth issues in advance, according to Cisco.

With vAnalytics, IT professionals can predict how potential policy changes to the WAN might impact application performance. The platform trends data across all of Cisco's SD-WAN customers to provide users with a baseline to compare application performance to that of their peers in the same region.

Cisco added new features to the SD-WAN platform including multi-tenancy features for service providers and managed service providers, as well as cloud solutions with AWS, Azure and multiple SaaS providers. With the integration of Viptela, Cisco SD-WAN has expanded adoption of the service by Fortune-1000 and midmarket companies in addition to new Tier 1 service providers such as OBS, BT and Vodafone.

Huawei Technologies -- SD-WAN
Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd launched its SD-WAN platform in Sept. 2017, and claims to support intelligent path selection and acceleration for over 6,000 mainstream and user-defined applications. In Dec. 2017, Huawei was the only vendor to pass EANTC's SD-WAN global tests, which examined product features including "scalability, Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and link resiliency, and the application-based traffic steering of Huawei's SDN solution."

In addition, Huawei launched the uCPEs (universal CPE) AR1610 and AR650 for small- and midsized enterprises (SMEs), which "provide an open platform for the SD-WAN ecosystem" and support the provisioning of value-added services such as virtual firewalls and virtual WAN optimization controllers. Huawei has also deployed an SD-WAN service on Microsoft Azure.

Last fall, SoftBank of Japan deployed Huawei's SD-WAN service as a managed service to enterprise customers in Japan and globally.

Learn how to tackle the challenge of wide-scale SD-WAN rollouts at the fifth-annual Big Communications Event in Austin, May 14-16. The event is free for communications service providers!

LiveAction -- LiveNX
Gaining more visibility into the WAN and application performance is critical for SD-WAN deployments. LiveAction's LiveNX platform provides IT operations teams with network visibility, performance management, analytics and monitoring of their SD-WAN deployments. In addition, users can proactively identify and address potential problems that could affect network performance or user experience.

LiveAction released LiveNX 7 in November, announcing integration with Cisco SD-WAN (based on Viptela), Cisco IWAN, and Cisco Meraki; machine learning capabilities to automate routine tasks and alert users to network changes; device, service, virtual machine and container management across multicloud environments; integration with ServiceNow for automated reporting; deployment in AWS; and more.

Next page: Nuage Networks, VeloCloud and Versa

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