Leading Lights 2020 Finalists: Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy

Six companies – Amdocs, Fortinet, Sprient Communications, Ekinops, VMware and Versa Networks (in partnership with Netcracker) – made the cut in the Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy category.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

August 11, 2020

4 Min Read
Leading Lights 2020 Finalists: Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy

With over 30 vendors in the market, it's a real challenge for SD-WAN suppliers to stand out from the herd. Features such as integrated security, traffic management, application performance, network visibility and access to a customer dashboard are all areas where suppliers can differentiate their services and provide their own unique spin on SD-WAN platforms.

This year, six companies stood out from the pack to make the shortlist for "Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy." The award goes to a technology vendor that has devised the most innovative software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) product/platform strategy during the past year.

The six companies in the running are:

The Leading Lights winners, and the identities of this year's Light Reading Hall of Fame inductees, will be announced online, on August 21, during a special video presentation on www.lightreading.com, one month before the start of the Big 5G Event.

Figure 1:

Here's a closer look at the companies shortlisted in Most Innovative SD-WAN Product Strategy:

Amdocs – Amdocs NFV SD-WAN package on Azure
Amdocs has worked with Versa, Nuage and Fortinet to develop a multi-vendor orchestrated SD-WAN and NFV-based service.

Last August, Amdocs announced a new partnership with Microsoft Azure, stating that satellite operator SES would "deliver virtual network services, such as SD-WAN, orchestrated and managed using Amdocs NFV Powered by ONAP on Microsoft Azure."

Fortinet – Fortinet Secure SD-WAN and SD-Branch
Fortinet has injected its security DNA into developing its SD-WAN service – last October, Fortinet launched its desktop Secure SD-WAN appliance (FortiGate 60F), and this February announced the Secure SD-WAN appliance (FortiGate 40F). The supplier says it integrates advanced routing, firewalls and SD-WAN functionality in one appliance.

Fortinet has more than 21,000 global enterprise and service provider customers such as GTT, Equinix and Burger King Brazil. In addition, the vendor was ranked among the top five most popular SD-WAN technologies utilized by managed service providers in Vertical System's Group 2019 Leaderboard for US Carrier SD-WAN Services.

Sprient Communications – Spirent's SD-WAN Strategy
Working closely with industry organization MEF, Spirent has led the charge as MEF's Authorized Certification and Test Partner to validate SD-WAN services and technologies based on the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN standard.

Spirent collaborated with MEF in developing the MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Program and contributed certification test requirements as well as a test plan. Comcast Business, PCCW Global, Spectrum Enterprise and Telia Company are certified for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services; certified vendors include Nuage Networks, Versa Networks and Infovista.

Ekinops – Ekinops SD-WAN solutions
Ekinops's SD-WAN services are available through its existing OneOS6 portfolio so customers can upgrade their CPE to utilize the SD-WAN features. Customers with uCPEs can also access SD-WAN services via the OneOS6-LIM version device and its embedded router.

In February, Orange Business Services partnered with Ekinops and Dell Technologies to deliver a new uCPE platform to mid-market and large global enterprises. The uCPE utilizes hardware by Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions and runs middleware by Ekinops, and customers will have access to a catalog of over 30 third-party VNFs including SD-WAN, routers, firewalls and WAN optimization.

VMware – "Network of Clouds Services (NOCS)" Strategy
VMware's "Network of Clouds Services (NOCS)" Strategy aims to address the last mile challenge of connecting distributed users to multiple clouds. VMware utilizes SD-WAN gateways to connect users to multiple clouds, and its SD-WAN features include multi-path optimization, network monitoring and security services.

Earlier this year, VMware announced plans to acquire network operations startup Nyansa to "extend its SD-WAN operations, optimization and troubleshooting capabilities into the LAN (local area network) and help service providers bolster their enterprise business," writes Mitch Wagner.

Versa Networks, in partnership with Netcracker – Orchestrated Virtualized Multi-Vendor SD-WAN Services
Versa and Netcracker teamed up to demonstrate their Orchestrated Virtualized Multi-Vendor SD-WAN Services proof of concept (PoC) at last fall's MEF19 event. The duo demonstrated how multi-vendor SD-WAN services can be orchestrated, deployed, assured and managed on a common uCPE via zero-touch provisioning and service automation.

The PoC also utilized MEF LSO APIs such as Legato and Presto with the goal of providing MEF with feedback to further develop the Presto API for commercial deployments. Versa is also among the first handful of vendors to achieve certification for MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services.

— 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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