Colt crafts white glove SD-WAN service for wholesalers

While enterprise customers are quickly adopting SD-WAN, Colt's Peter Coppens says the wholesale market has faced unique challenges in delivering SD-WAN services versus MPLS.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

March 11, 2021

4 Min Read
Colt crafts white glove SD-WAN service for wholesalers

Colt has launched a new SD-WAN service for its wholesale and system integrator customers, dubbed "SD-WAN White Label." The service provider says SD-WAN White Label will provide its customers with the ability to deploy a faster go-to-market SD-WAN service that includes recent upgrades, which Colt launched in late 2020.

Peter Coppens, vice president of product portfolio for Colt, says the new service is ideal for wholesalers operating mainly in their home country at a smaller scale than larger incumbents. In addition, these wholesale providers could benefit from Colt's ability to deliver a complete SD-WAN service, rather than having to dedicate their own resources to a DIY approach, adds Coppens.

While enterprise customers are quickly adopting SD-WAN, Coppens says the wholesale market has faced unique challenges in delivering SD-WAN services versus MPLS.

"With SD-WAN, that same [MPLS] model doesn't work anymore," explains Coppens. "There's very big SD-WAN growth, but it's all coming from enterprise at the moment… With SD-WAN there are many different vendors and all of them are using a different setup with different hardware and software."

For example, many wholesalers would historically look to larger vendors such as Cisco for their MPLS hardware and routing needs, but the SD-WAN market is slowly consolidating. With 30-plus SD-WAN vendors and so much diversity in their approaches to SD-WAN, it's challenging for wholesalers to select the best option for their customers.

"So far, there hasn't been a lot of SD-WAN wholesale market, not just with Colt, but wider," says Coppens. "At least not to the same extent as we had with MPLS."

Colt's SD-WAN gets a refresh

Colt updated its overall SD-WAN platform with SD-WAN 2.0 in December, providing new features including upgraded firewalls, a new analytics platform that utilizes AI and ML and a Self-Install CPE feature. SD-WAN White Label includes the new SD-WAN 2.0 features, in addition to a portal which can be customized to the wholesale provider's brand.

SD-WAN White Label also integrates with Colt's IQ Network, which is Colt's global 100Gbit/s network that connects to over 900 data centers and more than 29,000 buildings across 32 countries.

Colt issued several other new SD-WAN features in 2020 including SD WAN Multi-Cloud, which provides customers with a single connection to access multiple cloud service providers via SD-WAN. In addition, Colt deployed VoIP optimization and support for IPv6 to address increased enterprise demand for VoIP networks and improved virtual meeting experiences; Colt's SD-WAN service supports both IPv4 and IPv6.

SD-WAN market surges 50% in Q4

According to a recent report by Dell'Oro group, the global SD-WAN market grew 50% in Q4 2020, compared to the previous year. Dell'Oro says the top five SD-WAN vendors for revenue share in 2020 include Cisco, followed by VMware, Fortinet, Versa and HPE/Silver Peak. These top vendors gained two thirds of the revenue share.

Shin Umeda, vice president at Dell’Oro Group, says the pandemic lit a fire under enterprises to quickly move forward with deploying SD-WAN services. "COVID-19 put many trials and deployment projects on hold in the first half of the year. As business and economic conditions stabilized, many of these projects resumed and were completed by year end," he tells Light Reading in an email.

Umeda also expects more vendor consolidation in the near future: "Vendor consolidation will continue, but the focus will shift from acquiring complete solutions and revenue and customer footprints to gaining adjacent or complimentary technologies to enhance existing solutions. I’d expect security, analytics, network monitoring and cloud integration to be the types of technologies to be considered."

SD-WAN suppliers are increasingly using security features to differentiate their SD-WAN services, says Dell'Oro. Colt's Coppens has also witnessed this trend as security vendors are adding more network elements to their products, and network vendors are adding security.

"The security perimeter is widely expanding and on the vendor side, we see all the vendors teaming up," says Coppens. "I don't think there's any pure network or pure security vendor anymore. The ones from security side want to add network elements and the network ones are building out or buying the security ones."

One example of the security/network team-up comes from Palo Alto, which recently acquired SD-WAN supplier CloudGenix for $420 million, and announced the completed integration of CloudGenix's SD-WAN services into Palo Alto's SASE platform last September.

Dell'Oro forecasts that the SD-WAN market will grow 32% overall to exceed $2 billion in 2021.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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