Network infrastructure management software vendor SevOne has landed an intriguing engagement at Verizon: The Tier 1 operator is using SevOne software to improve visibility into the performance of its SD-WAN service.
As a result of the deployment, Verizon's enterprise customers can now get a single web interface view of their WAN services across multiple vendor technologies -- legacy and software-defined. (See Verizon, SevOne Join Forces for SD-WAN Visibility.)
That's an important development, as enterprises that add the SD-WAN variant of Verizon's services to their existing connectivity portfolio will have a single view of their service and not need to use multiple monitoring systems.
But it's an extra step for Verizon. The operator launched its SD-WAN service using technology initially from Cisco Systems Inc. and then also from Viptela -- now it has had to add SevOne's management and monitoring software into the mix to gain the kind of visibility that both Verizon and its enterprise customers will need. (See Verizon, Cisco Launch Smarter WAN and Verizon Launches Virtual Network Services.)
That raises the question -- will all operators that deploy SD-WAN capabilities need to follow Verizon's example and add another vendor to their list of suppliers? (Right now, operators want fewer, not more, suppliers.)
After all, the introduction of SD-WAN is hardly going to be in a greenfield environment -- the big opportunity right now for operators such as Verizon and, indeed, AT&T, is to enhance existing legacy VPN services with SD-WAN services that can connect remote enterprise locations and/or provide lower-cost connectivity for certain applications. (See AT&T Bets on Integrating SD-WANs, MPLS.)
If Verizon's strategy is one that will be replicated by others, that would create an interesting new market opportunity for SevOne and others with similar network management capabilities but also raise questions about the kind of monitoring capabilities on offer from the SD-WAN vendors. Light Reading is waiting to hear back from Verizon on why it felt it needed to deploy SevOne's technology and whether it explored other options.
UPDATE: Verizon says that each SD-WAN vendor does provide visibility into their respective offerings but "the advantage of SevOne is to normalize information across vendors for a consistent user experience. Verizon's strategy is to provide a consistent and seamless service experience to our customers and the Verizon/SevOne relationship allows us to normalize the disparate data into the critical information required to assure the SD-WAN environment for enterprise customers."
In addition, the Tier 1 says it did "evaluate various vendors to fulfill the SD-WAN performance needs, however SevOne's capabilities in networking knowledge, large volume data handling, architectural flexibility and joint innovation partnerships was a clear choice for our needs."
For Verizon's enterprise users, any "single pane of glass" management option will be a good one: As more enterprises go digital, having visibility into the complex virtualized and legacy networking environments that support their business is key to managing, supporting and maintaining their infrastructure so they can understand what's happening and why. Enterprises want application-driven networking, but without the right tools, that's a very complex process.
"SD-WAN is becoming increasingly important in the digital transformation strategies enterprises are adopting. With the benefits of SD-WAN, the network acts as a sensor to enable the better delivery of applications on the network," Verizon's Viraj Parekh, director of managed services and SDN/NFV, told Light Reading via email. "However, that intelligence comes with increased complexities in determining the correct policies for the SD-WAN network such as application mapping, path assignment and policy thresholds." (See Verizon, SevOne Join Forces for SD-WAN Visibility.)
Verizon's SD-WAN web interface gives their enterprise customers an end-to-end view into hybrid WAN performance, application performance and supporting infrastructure. It also provides baseline metrics that drive performance alerts and and performance metrics for network, security and applications.
The deal with SevOne Inc. is a new one for Verizon and appears to be a big win for the Delaware-based startup which had a tumultuous 2016. The company laid off close to 40% of its workforce and lost its husband and wife co-founders Vess and Tanya Bakalov in August, according to The News Journal in Delaware.
In working with SevOne, Verizon's Parekh says, "Verizon has jointly innovated in providing the intelligence enterprise organizations require to demystify the complexity of SD-WAN and empower network operations to advise on the optimal application policy decisions to benefit the business."
Continued Parekh, "SevOne's value proposition to Verizon isn't solely limited to the SD-WAN solution and instead benefits the overall network services consumed by the enterprise, spanning both traditional and SD-WAN networks. SevOne's unique ability to handle large data volume processing at efficient speeds, distributed data collection methods spanning on premise and hosted architectures, advanced data baselining, predictive threshold analysis with autonomous data correlation spanning network and flow forensics analysis makes SevOne a natural choice for providing service performance to the enterprise organization."
Verizon adds that 2017 is looking to be a big year for its SD-WAN service. "Since the launch of Verizon's SD-WAN service in 2015, we have seen enterprises globally making SD-WAN the foundation of their network transformation strategy. Not only have we already deployed SD-WAN solutions spanning multiple vendors, we have operationalized the deployments at scale and are continuing to evolve the maturity of SD-WAN solutions," says Parekh. "To date, Verizon Enterprise Solutions has successfully deployed SD-WAN solutions to thousands of locations globally for enterprises and expect this trend to increase in 2017."
Colt's Nico Fischbach told Light Reading's Iain Morris in a video interview at 2020 Vision that its customers are also clamoring for SD-WAN but that legacy environments create complexity. "SD-WAN is top of mind for many CIOs right now," he said. "It's going to ramp up pretty quickly... but dealing with legacy environments is going to be complex." (Watch Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017.)
Multi-vendor legacy and next-generation networks certainly fall into the complex category for service providers and their enterprise customers -- the solution developed by SevOne and Verizon appears to be addressing at least part of that complexity, but also raises questions about what further developments will be required before operators have services that truly meet their enterprise customers' needs.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading