The software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) market is consolidating, via some moves from well-established vendors. Earlier this month, VMware acquired one the largest SD-WAN providers, Velocloud. Cisco has also done a similar acquisition of Viptela. Prior to these acquisitions, SD-WAN could have been regarded as hype, but these transactions indicate a shift in the market focus and a longer-term technology trend.
SD-WAN Key Takeaways
SD-WAN providers focus on flexibility of connectivity and service availability. This allows the IT organization to focus on defining policies and selecting features that drive the most benefit and meet business objectives.
The SD-WAN market has a variety of solution providers and sales promises, which generally offer:
- More consistent delivery of key cloud services, as defined by application-aware policies.
- Consolidation of WAN management, usually on a SaaS-provided service portal, rather than managing individual device configurations.
- Better integration with public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services or Azure, with integrated connectivity options that have been well tested.
- Potential cost savings, when combined with an updated approach to WAN connectivity, such as less reliance on MPLS or private lines.
- Distributed connectivity points as building blocks to a Hybrid Cloud strategy.
What’s next for VMware and Velocloud
At a high-level, Velocloud enhances VMware networking solutions with:
- Automated full-mesh VPN between deployed sites with application aware routing and prioritization rules.
- Built-in VPN tunnel configuration functions for public cloud providers, enabling cloud endpoints to become another ‘site’ in the WAN.
- SaaS-hosted monitoring and performance metrics for all deployed devices.
- An established channel partner distribution model
VMware and Velocloud are strong players in their respective areas. Combining the datacenter-focused VMware deployments with Velocloud’s distributed branch office connectivity footprint is a more complete solution worth considering than each independently.
The integration with VMware will also help speed the deployment of traditional WAN routers as virtualized appliances on commodity hardware, or Network Function Virtualization (NFV). This is similar to the server landscape moving from single-application physical servers to virtualized ones, running a variety of workloads. This can be compelling for small branch offices, where a single virtualization host can handle network and compute workloads in a small footprint.
West Monroe Partners helps clients take advantage of these changes, taking a blended approach of business and technology capabilities. Rather than focus on a specific vendor solution, we can assess, design, implement, and optimize what’s right for your business.