Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) is a hot area, and for good reason, according to analyst Zeus Kerravala, who creates a context that makes the SD-WAN platform's rise to prominence understandable. Even decades ago, he writes, corporate IT departments recognized that traditional WANs were “inflexible, inexpensive, and overly expensive.”
At that point, no other option was available. One of the big reasons was that WANs use a hub and spoke approach, which was antiquated even then. In such scenarios, data is trafficked to and from the data center (the hub) to branch offices and other decentralized locales (via the spokes). Even data destined for the internet or the cloud travels this route. Direct connections are much more efficient.
That architectural model becomes even less efficient as these alternate locations become more prominent. Kerravala says that the predominant approach is to combine multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and broadband. MPLS is optimal for handling the high priority and time-sensitive services, while broadband takes care of services for which best effort is adequate.
A technology that comes along that meets an old challenge – and one that is growing more pressing as the cloud grows in importance – figures to be popular. That popularity is illustrated by the fact that several carriers and companies in the sector have made announcements, including funding of a combined $124 million, during the past couple of weeks.
- At the beginning of the month, VeloCloud said that it closed a $35 million Series D round of funding. Led by Hermes Growth Partners, the round features several new and existing participants. One of the returning participants is Cisco Investments.
- Last week, Cradlepoint said that it closed an $89 million round of Series C funding. The round was led by TCV and two of its executives – General Partner Ted Coons and Venture Partner Doug Gilstrap – have joined Cradlepoint’s board. The funding will be used for a number of initiatives, including SD-WAN development.
There is also non-funding SD-WAN news:
- Yesterday, Nuage Networks, a Nokia Company, said that Vodafone selected it for enterprise software-defined networks (SDN) and SD-WAN data center services. Nuage’s press release says that a “VPN+” live pilot is underway. It will “demonstrate the benefits of SD-WAN in providing leading-edge NFV and IoT applications.”
- Orange Business Services and Riverbed Technology are teaming on provisioning SD-WANs for hybrid networks. The initiative will use Riverbed’s SteelConnect platform. The goal is to simplify management of cloud and corporate applications. The service, which will be available globally, will focus on a virtual network function (VNF) that can be deployed on universal customer premise equipment (uCPE).
SearchSDN offers a feature and infographic on the SD-WAN landscape, with a comparison of products from 11 providers: Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, FatPipe Networks, Nuage Networks, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Talari Networks, VeloCloud, Versa Networks and Viptela. The infographic focuses on deployment options, cloud options, security, whether WAN optimization is supported and pricing.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at email@example.com and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.