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Silver Peak Adds Routing, Analytics to SD-WAN

Elizabeth Miller Coyne
3/28/2017

Silver Peak is putting the enterprise branch office on a diet, and making it smarter and more secure with the addition of routing, security and analytics to its SD-WAN solution.

With today's announcement, the Silver Peak Systems Inc. 's EdgeConnect SD-WAN solution now includes SD-WAN, WAN optimization, BGP routing protocols and stateful firewall. In addition, a new feature called First-packet iQ automatically identifies packets and steers them directly toward the Internet or a regional hub or data center firewall. (See Silver Peak SD-WAN Solution Displaces the Need for Branch Routers.)

To date, Silver Peak has announced that Masergy Communications Inc. and Interoute Communications Ltd. are using its products to deliver SD-WAN-as-a-service to their customers. In addition, it has 350 enterprise SD-WAN customers, including Apple, AT&T and Mazda, among others. (See Silver Peak Stakes SD-WAN Claim.)

While Silver Peak has only announced those two service provider customers, the company's senior vice president of products, Damon Ennis, says the company has been "overwhelmed" by the number of service providers that want to use its technology to deliver SD-WAN as a service because of the opportunity to generate service-oriented revenue, something Light Reading has been heard a number of times over the last two weeks. (See MetTel: Market Skips PoCs to Hurry SD-WANs.)

"They see it both as a threat and a huge opportunity," he says. "It's been a long time since MPLS hit the wide area network and since there's been any force for change. We went from private line, to frame relay to MPLS and stayed about MPLS for 15 years."

This trend of adding capabilities to SD-WAN is not a new one. SD-WAN is being combined with security and analytics with the goal of creating what's called a "thin branch." Enterprise IT departments need to tie their branch offices into public cloud applications without having to deploy a large number of boxes that must be operated and managed.

"You are trying to get rid of managing all this stuff at the branch," says Brad Casemore, research director, Data Center Networks, IDC. "You want to simplify management of branch devices and you can do that through consolidation and the incorporation of features such as SD-WAN, WAN optimization, routing and stateful firewall."

According to Casemore, Silver Peak is on the right track in terms of its overall objective to consolidate functions. "For enterprises for whom the thin branch is an objective, these functions make a lot sense and will resonate with those customers," he says.

Whereas SD-WAN was initially thought of an overlay that abstracts the transport network and provides application-driven policy for branches, it's evolving to be more about analytics and visibility and informing that application policy, says Casemore.

"We are starting to see that more and more -- it's what [Silver Peak is] doing with their First-packet iQ; steering trusted traffic direct to the Internet and offloading other traffic that may or may not be suspicious to a regional hub or data center firewall for additional inspection." he says. "These are ways that SD-WAN will be refined and enhanced going forward to provide even more in the way of automated operation and intelligence."

And by the way, don't expect the flurry of SD-WAN news to slow down any time soon -- it's a key indicator that considerable market consolidation is afoot, according to Casemore. "We'll see some of it this year and of course it will continue into 2018. It's why you see such an intensification of announcements and releases and customer wins from all these vendors -- there is a feeling out there among vendors themselves that consolidation will come relatively quickly to SD-WAN."

No one vendor has a definitive market share to give a clear indication of the clear survivors but Casemore says the winners will likely be "certain vendors who come from WAN optimization like Silver Peak and Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD) who are definitely commanding an installed base and a significant customer base."

Among the startups, he says some are going to prosper and others are not -- but the ones that don't prosper will be acquisition targets for bigger companies that either want to bolster their SD-WAN capabilities or to enter that market.

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— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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