Orange's John Isch: Crowded SD-WAN Market Challenges Telcos

The SD-WAN market's failure to consolidate has made it harder for telcos looking to provide SD-WAN services, according to Orange Business Services' John Isch.

Speaking at the Light Reading Network Virtualization & SDN Americas conference in Dallas last week, Isch said he initially expected consolidation in the SD-WAN market, but it has remained crowded. Smaller SD-WAN players are not being acquired by larger ones; instead the sector has witnessed horizontal integration -- Cisco acquiring Viptela, VMware buying VeloCloud and Oracle scooping up Talari, for example.

That creates different interests between the vendors and service providers, said Isch, who is practice director at the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services.

"If you pick on one of these providers, their interest isn't to provide an open solution that can integrate with other providers," Isch said. An integrated vendor wants to be a one-stop shop.

"I would much rather have SD-WAN as a unique solution that I can integrate into a uCPE and integrate into a virtualization environment on a best-of-breed basis," Isch said.

But that's not what happened.

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Every vendor wants to sell the whole stack, but service providers want disaggregation, said Rami Yaron, MEF co-chair, marketing and education committee, who spoke on a panel with Isch and other service providers and vendor representatives.

"[Service providers] want bits and pieces from every different vendor. This causes issues," Yaron said.

Service providers want disaggregation, but don't understand how much work is involved in integrating disaggregated elements, Yaron said.

Scott Irwin, senior director of SD-WAN for Frontier Communications, agreed. With 40 SD-WAN vendors competing in the marketplace, making the right choice is difficult. And service providers and enterprises are juggling a lot -- not just SD-WAN choices, but also choosing among options for security, managed WiFi, other OTT services, moving to the cloud, and more.

"How do I make a decision not knowing what tomorrow is, and who survives?" said Orange's Isch.

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— Mitch Wagner Visit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on TwitterJoin my Facebook GroupRead my blog: Things Mitch Wagner Saw Executive Editor, Light Reading

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