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Not all SD-WAN solutions are created equal

The compelling second paragraph of the United States Declaration of Independence starts as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”. While this is true for humanity it most definitely does not hold true for the various SD-WAN solutions that are available today.

SD-WAN offerings up to now have been provided by vendors within three general groups:

  • legacy vendors who are attempting to pivot from their core competency,
  • pure play vendors who have started from scratch with venture capital investments, and
  • conglomerates who often leverage their enterprise market incumbency and offer a portfolio of acquired solutions.

Up to now some of these vendors have essentially providedagile connectivity in an operationally efficient manner allowing enterprises to get a little more from their WAN. However, although some of these early offerings have helped to transform enterprise WANs they have also been rife with challenges that the enterprise or managed service provider has to deal with.

In pursuit of growth, legacy players are attempting a pivot from their core competency (e.g. WAN optimization, security, routing, etc.) and have bolted on some SD-WAN capabilities. The problem with their approach is that these solutions were not purpose-built to offer SD-WAN and they are still focused around their core competency. These solutions typically include a handful of SD-WAN features that complement their incumbent solution, resulting in limited SD-WAN solutions that have quality issues and are not designed for large scale networks. Furthermore, these solutions are not equipped to meet the demands of today’s enterprise customers, let alone managed service providers.

Pure play SD-WAN players, most of them start-ups with an infusion of venture capital dollars, are focused on WAN connectivity only and often lack hardened and comprehensive networking features with little expertise in delivering carrier-grade solutions that can support large scale multi-cloud deployments. In addition, many of these start-ups have an uncertain future, lack the infrastructure and resources to support a large install base, which introduces unnecessary risk to many enterprise customers.

Large conglomerates represent incumbent vendors in the enterprise market who try to leverage their large customer base to parlay into SD-WAN wins. For these SD-WAN offerings the solution often involves current proprietary hardware that locks the enterprise or service provider inflexibly into their legacy hardware. This is contrary to the shift we are seeing toward x86-based commodity CPEs that offer openness, flexibility while supporting an easy path toward virtualization and agility. In an effort to capture more of the enterprise market, conglomerates try to be all things to all enterprises and offer multiple overlapping solutions. This approach is not only inflexible but is also confusing to the enterprise as it creates uncertainty for what their end game will be and complicates the decision to invest in the right long-term solution.

In addition to these challenges, the industry is seeing a large disconnect between what enterprise IT needs and what is available on the market. Many enterprises have multiple sites and run their business applications in a multi-cloud environment that includes public or private clouds and are consuming increasingly more SaaS applications. These needs have fueled the growth and the merging of SDN, NFV, and SD-WAN cloud technologies (see SD-WAN market trends from Global SD-WAN Vendor Market Mid-Year Forecasts 2018, Frost and Sullivan, 2018). Unfortunately for the market, these SDN and SD-WAN solutions are offered as distinct products with different management and control systems and completely different data and policy models. Putting these separate solutions into production creates massive operational overhead and complexity, leaving Enterprise IT teams with inflexible and less secure networks that are expensive to operate and manage. In the end, these separate solutions can leave the enterprise worse off than they were before.

This is where Nuage Networks and its SD-WAN 2.0 solution comes in, offering a singleplatform that does not inherit any of the challenges mentioned earlier since it was purpose-built from the ground up with the vision to securely connect users to applications anywhere with no restrictions. It does not inherit the fragility and lack of features that legacy players have as it was built from inception for the needs of the enterprise consumer. At its core, it leverages a mature, carrier grade and highly scalable control and management plane based on decades of experience delivering products for massive infrastructures. Finally, it comes from an industry leader that has the resources, infrastructure and experience to support global customers of any size.

Perhaps most important of all is that Nuage Networks SD-WAN 2.0 solution represents the industry’s first and only platform that provides a single management and control plane for end-to-end network and security automation between data centers, public and SaaS clouds, and branch sites across any WAN transport network. These capabilities have always been part of the Nuage Networks SDN platform and it is only until recently that the industry has caught up to Nuage Networks leadership in the SDN space. In fact, there is a tremendous amount of vendor activity rapidly trying to close this technology gap resulting in many vendor acquisitions and consolidations totaling up $1B+ in the past year alone.

With close to 30 SD-WAN vendors, it is important to be able to filter out the noise and invest in a solution that is built to address your needs today and tomorrow. Many of the SD-WAN 1.0 solutions on the market are missing the mark on enterprise IT needs. Fortunately, Nuage Networks SD-WAN 2.0 solution is all about meeting the needs of Enterprise IT and providing a single platform to deliver IT services and ensure the end-to-end security of their users and business applications. With this infrastructure in place Enterprises are in a position to thrive in this ever-evolving cloud era.

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