SD-WAN: Why the Channel Needs to be Ready – Part 1

As Head of Products at Comms365, Nick Sacke is experienced in all things SD-WAN.  In part 1 of this two-part blog series, Nick answers critical questions around the future and value of SD-WAN, focussing on the critical question: Will SD-WAN provide the channel with a new business model?

 

Is SD-WAN yet another new technology flash in the pan or will it be truly disruptive?

It’s fair to say that most new technology innovations almost always come with a hype cycle, and SD-WAN has been no different. The concept has received significant market analysis attention and media coverage during its early adopter phase, and that focus hasn’t died down since. But there are clear market indicators that show this is no ‘flash in the pan’ technology – it’s here to stay.

As the first indication of its precedence, large networking houses and Tier 1 carriers, such as Cisco and BT, are retro-fitting SD-WAN to their existing offerings, whilst announcing new ‘white-box’ products designed to replace legacy routing hardware completely. And on the local side, there are more agile SD-WAN providers competing with Tier 1’s for business, and SD-WAN technology definitely allows you to be a contender. For example, here at Comms365 our SD-WAN solution is suitable for smaller businesses; changing the market that was originally focussed towards solutions suited to larger enterprises.

There are now ripples throughout the industry as larger organisations acquire start-up SD-WAN providers to integrate the technology into cloud offerings; for instance with Cisco acquiring Viptela for $600million, there are more to come. After all, SD-WAN revenues are growing by 60+% CAGR globally; and 74% of companies surveyed have indicated that they are already developing or are planning to deploy SD-WAN according to research from IHS Markit.

 

Is SD-WAN ready for this predicted uptake?

Whilst SD-WAN technology is advanced enough, it will still require input to get it off the ground, but what solution doesn’t? In order to set up platforms, a scalable and mirrored virtual machine environment is required, that has sufficient transit peering with major public clouds and internet providers. Not only that, but a DevOps team is also necessary to deploy, manage and keep the core orchestration and other software up to date. In tandem with the core deployment are the processes and required engineering personnel to manage the software configuration and remote site appliances. It’s no small feat, however with the Comms365 solution we are dedicated to continuous technological innovation and the provision of top-level services to our clients, so this is all completed for you through our fully managed services.

 

How crucial is SD-WAN for hosted communications; will the main approach continue to be OTT, or will WAN take over?

At Comms365 we see SD-WAN as a vital enabler of resilience and dynamic routing for unified communications and cloud-based applications, particularly over third-party, blended internet connections including 4G. In UK and Pan-European territory, OTT overlay by SD-WAN offers enhanced performance, mitigating against total control over WAN circuits. When you are looking at multi-continent delivery of the WAN, control via a SLA-network backbone becomes highly desirable.

 

Will SD-WAN gain the most initial traction with SMEs as an enabler for cloud communication services, as seen in the US?

The UK cloud services market is expanding and maturing rapidly, and SD-WAN offers the ability to bring cloud services to the user reliably, securely and with scalability. We expect the SME SD-WAN model in the UK, like the US, to continue to grow in step with the increased demand for cloud services, and continue on this trajectory as SME users start to demand ‘Quality Of Experience’ for these hosted services.

 

Check out the next instalment here to find out more from Nick about SD-WAN and the implications for the industry.

 

If you’d like to hear more about our SD-WAN solution and speak to us about joining Comms365’s Partner Programme, please get in touch on 01234 865880 or email sales@comms365.com.

 

Last updated: 12th June 2019