SD-WAN is eating the WAN, cloud and IP communications all at once. We’ve all seen the amazing projections of market growth but the question is why? To gain insight, we looked to some of the most well-respected thought leaders in the market to gain their hands-on insight. As a nationwide network provider Airespring is well-positioned to share best practices in SD-WAN And its exactly why we reached out to Danial Lonstein, COO of the company to learn more about where the market is heading.
Here is our interview:
What is driving enterprise interest in SD-WAN?
The business and technology drivers are many but these I believe are the top five:
- Traditional WANs cannot keep up with increased adoption and use of cloud applications and cloud services.
- Improved automation, ease of provisioning, deployment and operational efficiency eases the burden of configurating, deploying and managing WANs
- Bandwidth optimization – replace or augment more expensive WAN networks, such as MPLS, with less expensive bandwidth options and network options.
- Consistent application security plus better overall ability to implement more effective and consistent security functionality.
- The promise of reduced IT and WAN management costs.
What is the biggest pain your solutions take away for customers?
Compared to other SD-WAN vendors:
- As a multi SD-WAN vendor, we analyze the customer’s needs and recommend the ideal SD-WAN technology for them
- Management & Provisioning, – it’s marketed as plug and play but that is not the real world experience so we take on this burden for our customers
- 24/7 monitoring
- Circuit ticketing for our own as well as 3rd party vendor circuits (ie. Circuits that are not sold by us)
- Our value is in providing a single vendor for all so if there is an issue or problem, there can be no finger pointing between carriers, and between carriers and the SD Wan vendor.
For the multi-location enterprises, one of the biggest pains is managing multiple vendors and network types in conjunction with an SD-WAN project. As a nationwide network operator and aggregator, AireSpring is uniquely suited to address this customer pain point. Most multi-location enterprises are normally forced to work with multiple network vendors. The larger and more geographically dispersed, the larger the number of vendors which could be dozens or more, including broadband providers, metro Ethernet vendors, telco carriers, etc. Each of these vendors have their own service contract, SLAs, and terms and conditions. Each location would also tend to need a network manager and staff to look after the network and deal with any issues that come up. With SD-WAN gateways installed throughout AireSpring’s core network, you are able to fully mesh and interconnect your SD-WAN with any carrier, circuit or technology via AireSpring’s network, which acts as the “glue” over multiple transport types—Ethernet, Fiber, Broadband, LTE, EOC, TDM and more. Additionally connect with a wide range of AireSpring solutions, including MPLS, UCaaS, SIP Trunking and Internet.
What is your target audience?
Our ideal target audience is multi-location enterprises in vertical industries such as transportation and logistics, financial services and banking, retail, and healthcare. These might be companies that are trying to augment an existing MPLS network with less expensive SD-WAN or to combine dissimilar connectivity to optimize bandwidth. Another key audience is SMBs looking to optimize the voice quality of their VoIP/hosted voice solutions when they are running over the public internet.
How do you go to market? Direct? MSPs? Carriers? Etc.-
AireSpring is 100% channel focused. We have no retail division or direct sales team that competes with our channel partners. Our GTM (go to market) strategy involves partnering with large master agencies, independent telecom agents, communications consultants, and VARs from both inside and outside the telecom industry.
What synergistic technologies and markets are aided by SD-WAN?
SD-WAN isn’t built to uproot the world of connectivity and networking. In fact, it works to support existing technologies, rather than replace them. MPLS is the first technology that comes to mind.
We view the relationship between SD-WAN and MPLS as a marriage not a divorce. Many talk about the rise of SD-WAN and the fall of MPLS as if the two technologies are incompatible or competitive instead of what they truly are to each other: complementary. Why? Because there’s no replacement for guaranteed quality of service (QoS) end-to-end in a network and that’s what MPLS delivers. For this reason, some of the largest carriers in the world, including AT&T and even AireSpring, are built on MPLS as their IP Core.
Augmenting MPLS with SD-WAN means:
- MPLS Quality of Service (QoS) is augmented by SD-WAN Quality of Experience (QoE), a close cousin, capable of replicating a similar (albeit not identical) quality across a wider diversity of non-MPLS circuits, including internet over broadband, fiber, LTE, and others, at attractive price points.
- MPLS failover times go from a BGP-controlled 5-60 seconds to SD-WAN sub-second failover with no impact to voice, video or other stateful, orderly-sensitive traffic.
- MPLS active/passive redundant circuits now become SD-WAN active/active circuits and are bonded as one big pipe.
- Services that were traditionally only delivered by MPLS, such as SIP, UCaaS, video and more can now be delivered over SD-WAN.
- Services that were traditionally only publicly-delivered, like internet, can now be delivered over MPLS with a new twist: full IP block portability without the use of BGP or Domain Name Servers (DNS). If your internet circuit goes down, your IP blocks stay UP via SD-WAN failover across MPLS or any other path.
- Inbound congestion avoidance, upstream distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection, and more can be easily added by leveraging SD-WAN.
- MPLS has always been private, now with SD-WAN encryption it is SECURE, thanks to AES256 bit military grade encryption.
- Traffic visibility, remote packet captures (pcap files), prioritization, throttling, blocking, and filtering all become real-time (vs. polled interval data) and easy to view/implement/adjust.
What regions of the world will be most disrupted by SD-WAN?
According to Forrester Research, the U.S. represents 82% of global SD-WAN sales today, with European and APAC markets expected to grow more in 2018. US Multi-national corporations have many offices in many countries across the globe hence the potential to be disruptive over all regions but particularly in Asia and Europe.
How do you differentiate your company from others in the market?
AireSpring is a nationwide network operator and managed services provider and offers more than one SD WAN vendor to its clients. AireSpring believes that the One Size Fits All approach fits none, when it comes to SD-WAN. AireSpring is also carrier agnostic with SD-WAN gateways installed throughout AireSpring’s core network, we are able to be fully mesh and interconnect SD-WAN with a wide range of AireSpring solutions, including MPLS, UCaaS, SIP Trunking and Internet and/or connect any carrier or circuit via AireSpring’s network, which acts as the “glue” over multiple transport types—Ethernet, Fiber, Broadband, LTE, EOC, TDM and more. Single carriers clearly cannot offer this option.
AireSpring also provides a catalog of professional services that are included FREE with our SD-WAN solutions such as free 3rd party circuit support; Free WRITE Access to the SD-WAN Cloud-Based Orchestrator’s “single pane of glass view” which is currently not offered by any other carrier, as well as Free READ access; AireSpring will provide implementation design and engineering services where we will design, configure, deploy and support our SD-WAN solutions for no additional cost; free network monitoring; an escalation list that goes up to our CEO.
What is driving the competitive SD-WAN landscape? Why are so many vendors and providers throwing their hats in the ring?
The WAN technology and engineering talent necessary to enter this market has been widely available at many hi-tech virtualization and networking companies. Hence both established players like Cisco and startups like VeloCloud, whose founders hail from VMWare, can easily enter a very hot and lucrative market. The foundational technology required to design a fully functional, branch-office WAN edge solution is readily available. As the adoption of cloud services and real-time applications accelerated, the threshold was met and the flood gates opened the door to more and more SD-WAN wannabees. SD-Wan has reached a point in the market adoption curve making it very attractive through 2020. Consolidation in this industry has already begun. SD-WAN is a hot market because its features continue to drive compelling use cases that not only save money but open up entirely new ways to grow revenue. It’s a competitive edge which combined with its amazing ability to be provisioned quickly, makes it very appealing
How will the competitive landscape change in the next year?
There will be more consolidation among the 35 or so SD-WAN vendors and larger tech giants will look to acquire a strong SD-WAN provider to round out their own product offerings. Also SD-WAN vendors will merge together. Organizations are more concerned about how SD-WAN will solve their business problems, save them money and improve their own competitive position and don’t care so much about hitching their wagon to a particular SD-WAN vendor. There is a low loyalty factor and SD-WAN vendors will probably look to be acquired by larger tech giants with whom the Global 2000 do have established relationships and on whose platform they have standardized such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. Speculation that some SD-WAN vendors could fall by the wayside during a forthcoming round of consolidation is causing concern and fueling the drive for standardization and interoperability.
What is the future for your organization?
We’ll continue to grow with the same price leading rich feature set we always have with an emphasis on perfecting our domestic operation in the USA and continuing our international expansion which will gain a lot of momentum in 2018. And a continued focus on the Channel as our partners.
The best way to learn more about SD-WAN and related activities and see Airespring and the entire SD-WAN ecosystem in action is to be at the world’s only SD-WAN Expo @sd-wanexpo, Feb. 14-16, Fort Lauderdale, FL. We hope to see you there!