SD-WAN, the Best Bang for Your IT buck

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My most recent video interview (Fall, 2015) with Kevin Gavin of Talari Networks (seated to the right)

I just had a chance to interview Kevin Gavin from Talari Networks – I’ve known him for years, going back to his ShoreTel days and I also covered Talari around the time he joined and named it a company to watch. He is very knowledgeable about tech and telecom. In this recent video interview I had with Kevin, he touts added benefits of SD-WAN like making the network more holistic.

I saw him most recently a few weeks back where he told me that 2.5 years ago when he joined the company, the space really didn’t exist. Furthermore, they had to sell the category as well as the product. Now, we all know SD-WAN is all the rage. TMC even has a sponsored online community on the topic.

Talari started making overlay solutions but now has products which can also function as a router replacement which kind of makes sense when you think about it. The next release will have a VM and firewall Kevin explained. He said emphatically, “The world’s moving towards a consolidation play, that’s where we’re going too.” Great point Kevin, at last count my phone is also a compass, camera, level, flashlight, TV, radio and about a dozen other things at the same time.

The company also has an AWS solution allowing you to extend the WAN to the cloud.

From there it got interesting. Companies aren’t generally allowed to share their customers with the media because well, so many organizations just don’t want to let the competition know what they are up to. Kevin shared a list of top customers but then made me promise on my typing fingers (yes, I hunt and peck smiley-embarassed) that I wouldn’t share the individual names with you. The point he wanted to get across is how big their customers are. The top 30 are spending $500,000 or more. He said customers keep coming back.

This gets back to the title of this article. Companies can put anywhere from two to six broadband connections together and use Talari to combine them into a pipe which oftentimes is better than MPLS. He said, Talari doesn’t advocate scrapping your MPLS connections. In fact he said some of the company’s law firm customers have dual MPLS connections. Since some lawyers charge $600/hour or more, the expense is likely justified. He added that video is driving much of the demand for not only MPLS but his products.

Still, SD-WAN pays for itself quickly, allows for potentially better service levels than MPLS and also offers redundancy. It’s really an amazing value and a tech which has one of the best ROI models around.

He shared some interesting insight about various markets. Lawyers are more concerned about quality while manufacturing uses SD-WAN because MPLS may be hard to get or expensive in remote locations. Finally, banking seems more concerned about reliability and uptime. I am sure these needs are not mutually exclusive but general guidelines on different markets.

Other areas where the company is excelling is cruise ships and oil rigs. In the future we can expect a new version 5.1 which will let you flag more expensive links so they can be used only when absolutely needed. This helps in situations where the wireless connection has the best quality and is used to generate expensive traffic.

SD-WAN in many ways is like VoIP or IP communications… The arbitrage opportunity is too great to ignore. But SD-WAN also natively offers redundant connectivity which makes it a real winner when determining how to get the best bang for your IT buck.

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