Verizon Business is adding several new levels of managed SD-WAN services in partnership with Cisco.
The service provider has delivered Viptela SD-WAN as a managed service to its customers since before Cisco acquired Viptela in 2017 for $610 million. It is expanding that service now by providing customers with the options of co-managed Cisco SD-WAN by Viptela, managed SD-WAN by Viptela for the Cisco ISR1100 Series platform, and new managed service tiers for Cisco Meraki.
Amit Kapoor, director of Virtual Network Services for Verizon, says the service provider expanded its co-managed and fully managed SD-WAN services with Cisco in response to customer demand for more control over features such as application policies, while maintaining the benefit of relying on Verizon for guaranteed service levels.
"Customers want a service level where Verizon cares for things like the infrastructure and configuration, but gives customers the ability to care for the application policies on-demand," says Kapoor. "They also want us to provide guaranteed service-level and on-time hardware repair – all the things we do globally at scale – that are a higher cost for customers to execute on." Customers using the co-managed approach can make real-time changes to their SD-WAN service via a digital portal, he adds.
Verizon's move to provide a variety of managed options for SD-WAN services to enterprise customers aligns with the results of a recent Heavy Reading survey of 103 global service providers. Operators are finding it increasingly important to differentiate their managed SD-WAN platforms by providing service options in partnership with multiple SD-WAN and security vendors. For example, in addition to their partnership with Cisco, Verizon also provides SD-WAN services from Versa and Silver Peak.
"Offering service bundles that are targeted at the specific needs of the customer elevates the conversation away from platform choices and toward enterprise business needs," wrote Heavy Reading Principal Analyst Jennifer Clark in an analysis of the Heavy Reading report. "In fact, 'offer customers tiered managed SD-WAN and security bundles' – if Rank 1 and Rank 2 responses are combined – was the most popular response from survey respondents, coming in a significant 13 percentage points higher than the next most popular differentiators."
With the co-managed Cisco Viptela option, Verizon customers can self-manage SD-WAN security and application policies, but also tap Verizon for managed support of fault, performance and configuration management. The managed SD-WAN option by Verizon and Cisco Viptela is targeted at smaller branch office deployments where SD-WAN can be deployed on a low-cost branch appliance.
Verizon is also adding new managed service tiers for Cisco Meraki SD-WAN, which includes integration with Meraki's cloud for mainland China.
"We extended our capabilities so if our customers are consuming the Meraki China cloud in addition to Meraki's other clouds, we can collect relevant statistics and offer services leveraging the China cloud," explains Kapoor.
Verizon already supported many Meraki features such as WiFi, routing and switching and has added management of Cisco Meraki MV smart cameras in response to customer demand, he adds.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading