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Nuage Networks Setting Itself Apart from the SD-WAN Crowd

It is always more compelling when an objective and respected third party articulates a solution’s value proposition compared to telling it yourself. Appledore Research’s November 2018 profile on Nuage Networks SD-WAN does just that when describing Nuage Network’s SD-WAN solution.

This comprehensive profile first outlines how Nuage Networks was formed as an “intrapreneurial” venture of Alcatel-Lucent (now Nokia) to exploit the emerging software defined networking (SDN) market while thinking “outside the box”. The profile then gets into the general value proposition of SD-WAN that some leading vendors in the industry share: simplified configuration, increased agility, cost reduction, application-level traffic management techniques to optimize network resources. We believe that many of these values represent “table stakes” and are no longer considered significant differentiators to really set yourself apart in the competitive and crowed SD-WAN vendor market you need to bring more to address enterprise needs in the emerging cloud era.

Unique differentiators of Nuage Networks SD-WAN

It is especially rewarding to see a third-party profile that describes Nuage Network’s differentiators that go beyond the aforementioned expected capabilities. For convenience I have broken them up into two categories: SD-WAN 2.0 enabling pillars and advanced routing/integration capabilities.

SD-WAN 2.0 pillars

The SD-WAN market has moved from just requiring “automated connectivity” to requiring an infrastructure that enables the automated delivery of IT services. We call this set of capabilities SD-WAN 2.0 (see the PR) and in this profile Appledore Research does a good job in describing them as summarized below:

  • A single end-to-end platform that is used to configure SD-WAN and other networking services that span private data centers (both enterprise and Telco Cloud), the public cloud, and branch locations across any WAN transport
  • Software-defined security that goes beyond just protecting network resources (i.e. micro-segmentation) to include application level visibility and analytics allowing for programmable and dynamic threat responses
  • A flexible VNF framework that supports the virtualization of network functions in three flexibly ways: embedded within the Nuage Networks SD-WAN SW itself, programmable service chaining to third party hosted VNFs, and third party VNFs hosted on Nuage Networks uCPE

Advanced routing/integration capabilities

The following differentiators further set Nuage Networks apart from its competition and it was nice to see these capabilities called out by Appledore Research in the profile.

  • Enhanced WAN/routing integration allowing for multiple routing protocols in the overlay (e.g. BGP, OSPF, static) as well as BGP on the underlay/uplink. This provides a great level of flexibility when interworking with legacy sites that do yet support SD-WAN
  • Open API that is available to the vast set of partners that Nuage Networks integrates with. This simplifies and accelerates any new integrations and has been proven in large CSP orchestration and OSS environments
  • Specialized multi-tenant routers (underlay border routers – UBRs) that are deployed to seamlessly interconnect different heterogeneous WAN transport segments
  • One of the richest and most complete ecosystems of technology partners in the industry

Nuage Networks unique position to empower CSPs

Early on in the profile, Appledore Research acknowledges how the market for SD-WAN is shifting rapidly to being sold as a managed service through the CSP customer:

“Over the last 18-24 months the market has shifted from direct enterprise sales, as leading CSPs have recognized that they can play a key role in delivering, managing and most importantly, combining SD-WAN technology with complementary — and sometimes unique — communications offerings.”

This is consistent with our view as well and has become a focus of our go to market strategy. In fact, MEF has acknowledged Nuage Networks as the leading SD-WAN solution for CSPs by being awarded Technology Solution of the Year for the last two years in a row. Furthermore, to showcase how ready Nuage Networks solution is for CSPs, EANTC released a report based on a set of comprehensive tests that details the extreme scale that this solution provides across multiple enterprise tenants.

It was nice to read how Appledore Research further elaborates on how Nuage Networks SD-WAN offering is in a terrific position to empower the CSP. This can be summarized by the points below:

  • As one of the leading SDN vendors and being part of a major Network Equipment Provider (NEP), Nuage Networks is well positioned to provide synergistic offerings to CSPs that include SD-WAN, access facilities, premiums WANs, wireless backup, related VNFs, end-to-end monitoring, root cause analysis and remediation.
  • For a CSP serving a large enterprise, Nuage Networks software can represent a single unified solution across the enterprise data center, the CSP’s NFVI, and the SD-WAN. This will centralize administration and optimize routing across the entire end-to-end network improving performance and agility, reducing errors and cost
  • Support for BGP on both the LAN and WAN sides of the SD-WAN gateway allows a CSP WAN vendor to have deeper integration with more granular flow and data handling
  • Support for seamlessly connecting disjointed and heterogeneous networks allows CSPs to have superior underlay WAN interworking capabilities to address many realistic use cases
  • Nuage Networks SD-WAN architecture meets Appledore Research’s requirements for the next-generation automation and efficient operation of a CSP multi-domain Telco cloud.
  • Nuage Networks software is implemented as an SD-WAN domain controller with other OSS and BSS allowing it to easily become part of a cross-layer end-to-end process automation. This is essential for CSPs who want to deploy an SD-WAN solution as part of their overall network services offering
  • Nuage Networks SD-WAN allows CSPs to easily offer adjacent services such as firewalls, WAN accelerators, etc. It does this by offering its Network’s Services Gateway (NSG) as an x86 uCPE appliance that can host many applications from its rich set of ecosystem partners. Alternatively, these partner applications can be accessed by programming a service chain

As the SD-WAN market requirements continue to shift to meet the next generation enterprise needs, it is terrific to be acknowledged by one of the leading analyst firms in Appledore Research as a leader in the industry who offers a broad set of unique and differentiating capabilities. It is an exciting time in the SDN/SD-WAN market and Nuage Networks is committed to exert its leadership to empower CSPs to solve today’s enterprise WAN requirements while establishing an infrastructure to meet tomorrow’s challenges as well. You can read the full report here.

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