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Leading Lights 2019 Finalists: Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy (Vendor)

Find out which vendors devised the most innovative SD-WAN product or platform during the past year.

Mitch Wagner

May 3, 2019

7 Min Read
Leading Lights 2019 Finalists: Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy (Vendor)

SD-WAN has evolved from a straightforward cost-cutting measure -- a low-cost, lower-quality alternative to expensive MPLS -- to a vital arterial network for business. SD-WAN services allow service providers to enable enterprises to connect data centers, headquarters, branch offices, cloud services like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, as well as the explosion of connected Internet of Things devices. And SD-WAN will become even more important as 5G demands greater network agility.

SD-WAN can help service providers get past the enterprise perimeter and start offering wide-area networking services connecting multiple enterprise facilities, as well as networking the campus and LANs.

And vendors are jumping in with SD-WAN products and services designed to help service providers seize the SD-WAN business opportunity.

The Leading Lights award for Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy (Vendor) is awarded to the technology vendor that has devised the most innovative software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) product/platform strategy during the past year. Finalists are:

  • Amdocs – Amdocs NFV SD-WAN strategy

  • Anuta Networks – ATOM Multi-Vendor SD-WAN Automation

  • Infovista – Ipanema SD-WAN

  • Nuage Networks – SD-WAN 2.0

  • Versa Networks – Versa Secure Cloud IP Platform R20.x

  • VMWare) – VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud - Network Edge

Find out the winners of this and all our other Leading Lights awards, as well as this year's inductees to the Light reading Hall of Fame, at the Leading Lights dinner and party at the Pinnacle Club in Denver, Monday, May 6, following a day of workshops preceding our Big 5G Event. The Big 5G event opens on Tuesday, May 7. For more information and tickets, visit the Leading Lights Awards 2019 page.

And now let's find out more about the shortlisted companies:

SD-WAN alone doesn't provide enough value for telcos and other service providers, says Amdocs. Revenue opportunities come from offering business customers value-added services such as WAN optimization and load balancing, along with advanced firewall security.

Unfortunately, operators can't launch these value-added services quickly enough. Operators lack awareness regarding current network capabilities and resources. And they lack integration between the network, SD-WAN, virtual network functions platforms and business support systems (BSS). That means service introduction is a manual process -- complex and time-consuming, Amdocs says.

To meet those needs, Amdocs claims to have created the industry's first pre-integrated, orchestrated services solution combining SD-WAN and network functions virtualization (NFV), leveraging both practical SD-WAN management experience with Bell and Comcast along with collaboration with Versa, Nuage, VeloCloud and Fortinet.

The solution is pre-integrated, validated and operator-tested, to minimize risk. It can be integrated quickly -- just three months from inception to production, as opposed to more than a year for alternatives -- because it's made up of basic building blocks. And it's an open platform, mostly comprising open source software, so it can be extended to support future uses and network services, Amdocs says.

Anuta Networks
Anuta ATOM's multi-vendor SD-WAN automation solution is a centralized manager and orchestrator for SD-WAN, security, WAN optimization and existing branch infrastructure. Anuta ATOM automates leading SD-WAN vendors including Cisco Viptela and IWAN, Versa and VMware VeloCloud, along with virtual appliances from Juniper, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, Riverbed, Citrix and more.

Tata Communications (TCL) has deployed Anuta ATOM in their IZO SD-WAN project for 15,000 hybrid CPE devices in the first phase, with planned support for up to 125,000 CPEs in the next two years. Tata's IZO solution achieves a balance between reliable MPLS and cost-effective public Internet, and reduces WAN charges by up to 30%. TCL offers IZO services for branch, CPE and SD-WAN deployments across 130 countries and more than 2,000 cities, Anuta says.

Previously, on-boarding a new tenant required as many as 400 complex command line interactions across four different vendor platforms for TCL. The manual processes were cumbersome and caused errors and inconsistencies. Manually configuring a CPE via CLI took up to 60 minutes. With ATOM, TCL cut down time to configure a single CPE to less than five minutes. TCL's enterprise customers are now able to self-administer changes via a self-service portal which are automatically implemented via ATOM.

In addition to TCL and Telstra, other customers include Japan Post, F5 Networks and Neustar.

Infovista's goal with Ipanema SD-WAN is to ensure perfect quality of experience for its customers' business-critical applications, by combining a software platform, orchestration and a versatile delivery model. Infovista goes beyond basic SD-WAN's capabilities of centralizing network management and controlling bandwidth costs. Infovista guarantees network resources are allocated in alignment with enterprise business objectives, to maximize cloud migration benefits and digital investments while maintaining quality of experience for their users, including customers and employees.

Nuage Networks
Nuage launched its VNS SD-WAN 2.0 to meet enterprise networks' aggressive needs for public cloud consumption and connections to private data centers, WAN-connected branches and the public cloud. SD-WAN 2.0 satisfies the enterprise's need to connect users to applications anywhere in a secure, programmable, automated and transport-agnostic manner. It provides end-to-end policy and data plane controls extending from branches to workloads in public or private clouds, as well as SaaS.

For security, SD-WAN 2.0 can visualize, detect, protect and respond to threats in real-time, as well as analyze application-level network communication across data centers, public clouds and within branches to identify anomalies and violations.

SD-WAN 2.0 provides enterprises with a flexible infrastructure to deploy and manage virtual network functions (VNFs) such as VoIP gateways, level 7 firewalls and IoT agents, on uCPE devices. VNFs can be hosted locally on an x86 uCPE devices, in the data center or cloud, ending the complexity of installing and remotely managing dedicated purpose-built CPEs and single function appliances.

Versa Networks
Versa introduced two significant new releases of its Secure Cloud IP Platform, combining multi-tenancy, multiple deployment options, zero-touch provisioning and multi-cloud extensibility to enable solution providers to create high value NFV-based managed service offerings. Enterprise customers are able to leverage these new capabilities to better manage their WAN costs while simplifying operations, enhancing network resiliency and improving application performance. Additional benefits also include resilient connectivity and critical security functions such as next-generation firewall and secure web gateways that automatically integrate with other networking functions, Versa says.

Versa introduced several new features in 2018, including SaaS optimization, uCPE and multicast support, as well as security enhancements. Versa also introduced application service templates for easier application policies, with finer tuning of default commands. Additionally, Versa achieved significant integration with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, as well as Amdocs' orchestration platform for OSS/BSS service provider management.

The rise of IoT, 5G, AI and multi-cloud requires a dramatic technological evolution in business requirements. To fill those needs, SD-WAN is expanding to absorb other functions that are critical to enterprises -- including compute, analytics, security and multi-cloud connectivity -- at the network edge, where business is conducted, VMware says.

The VMware SD-WAN Network Edge strategy is evolving to provide compute at the edge, to support Internet of Things and mobility. It integrates with the underlying intelligence and programmability of 5G. VeloCloud provides federation between its own hosted gateways and those hosted by telco partners, to allow telcos to federate amongst each other and provide truly global coverage for telco customers. The SD-WAN technology supports business services such as security, virtual network functions (VNFs) and universal customer premises equipment (uCPE). Advanced analytics and AI built into VeloCloud create self-healing and self-managing networks. And VeloCloud supports multi-cloud with network workloads including the edge, cloud and data center. VMware has partnered for VeloCloud with AT&T, Ring Central, Microsoft, Plixer, SevOne, Mist Systems and more.

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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