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The SD-WAN vendor is looking to increase sales through service providers, as enterprises turn to SPs to outsource networking needs.

Mitch Wagner

October 1, 2019

5 Min Read
Silver Peak Heats Up SD-WAN Telco Romance

Silver Peak is seeking to strengthen telco relationships, increasing partnerships with service providers to deliver SD-WAN products and services.

As Silver Peak marks 15 years and its 1,500th SD-WAN customer, the vendor is looking to increase sales through managed service providers (MSPs) from about 20% to half of its total sales. Silver Peak already partners with 70% of managed service providers to deliver SD-WAN to enterprise customers, including AT&T, NTT, GTT, Verizon, China Telecom, Masergy and TPx, John Vincenzo, Silver Peak CMO and senior vice president, tells Light Reading.

Silver Peak is positioning the shift not as a change in strategy but a sharpening of its focus -- enabling service providers to make SD-WAN deployments more efficient and easier, Vincenzo says.

The shift comes as priorities change in the entire SD-WAN market, Vincenzo says. The early days of SD-WAN were about reducing MPLS costs, and making more efficient use of broadband.

"What we've seen is the use case and opportunity has gone from cost savings to strategic," Vincenzo says.

Figure 1: Silver Peak CMO John Vincenzo. Silver Peak CMO John Vincenzo.

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Now, SD-WAN is a strategic priority and enabler for enterprises shifting to the cloud, Vincenzo says. Enterprises are looking to SD-WAN for improved application performance, security and automation.

Many enterprises are migrating their entire infrastructure to the public cloud, says Michael Hakkert, Silver Peak's VP for corporate marketing. In those cases, SD-WAN becomes essential to reaching the applications that run the company business. Silver Peak partners with cloud providers Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Oracle to provide enterprises with reliable, high-performance, secure connectivity.

Silver Peak's customers are large enterprises, crossing all verticals with 15 or more branch offices, many of them with global footprints, and a focus on increasing automation. "If you check those boxes you're a strong candidate for SD-WAN in general, and Silver Peak specifically," Vincenzo says. These enterprises are asking, "Can I get the dedicated performance that I have come to experience in the traditional [MPLS] world with the cost effectiveness and efficiency of broadband," Vincenzo says.

Silver Peak's growing service provider ecosystem represents a shift from the DIY approach, where enterprises installed SD-WAN devices in branch offices, to a managed service offering, where enterprises look to telcos for heavy lifting, Vincenzo says.

"A lot of the enterprise guys are already relying on service providers to manage telco infrastructure. And the service providers already have the relationship," Vincenzo says. Enterprises can focus on their own strategic value by outsourcing networking to a trusted advisor, such as a service provider, he adds.

And service providers are looking to provide SD-WAN as part of a portfolio of services including routing, security, segmentation, WAN optimization, visibility, control and edge services, Vincenzo says.

SD-WAN provides an opportunity for revenue growth in an enterprise services market that is otherwise flat for service providers, according to Heavy Reading analyst Sterling Perrin, speaking at a panel of service providers and vendors at Light Reading's Network Virtualization & SDN Americas conference last month.

Silver Peak faces stiff competition, not least from market leaders Cisco and VMware. Silver Peak differentiates by being an SD-WAN specialist, allowing service providers and their enterprise customers to assemble best-of-breed solutions from multiple vendors.

"We didn't buy the expertise. We didn't buy the technology and try to fit it into a larger portfolio," Vincenzo says. Both Cisco and VMware came to SD-WAN leadership through acquisition of companies specializing in SD-WAN. "We give you the freedom to do best of class across the board."

That's a message that seems likely to resonate with service providers.

Big suppliers like Cisco and VMware are incentivized to provide the full networking stack to telcos, whereas telcos might want to shop around and assemble best-of-breed solutions, said John Isch, Orange Business Services practice director, at the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, during the network virtualization and SDN conference in Dallas late last month.

Vincenzo claims Silver Peak is the "independent leader" of SD-WAN vendors; both Cisco and VMware offer SD-WAN as parts of integrated stacks of networking products and services.

Whether Silver Peak is, indeed, the independent leader depends on who you ask. In a report released in July on the state of the SD-WAN market, analysts at research house IHS Markit ranked Aryaka ahead of Silver Peak for independent SD-WAN vendors.

VMware was number one in market share, with 20.3% of the market, Cisco was second with 13.1%, Aryaka third with 11.6%, and Silver Peak fourth with 8.7%, the analysts said.

However, Aryaka provides SD-WAN as a service, primarily over its own network -- though that is changing; Silver Peak is top ranked in terms of market share among the independent SD-WAN companies offering the connectivity service as an overlay.

Silver Peak is building out its team to strengthen relationships with service providers, including additional engineers and account teams to work with their telco sales counterparts. "Our sales team is motivated to work directly with service providers to sell to the large accounts," Vincenzo says. Silver Peak hired executives in each of its three regions to drive partnerships with service providers.

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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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