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MetTel Launches SD-WAN Offering With MPLS Integration

WAN Diagram

Lorna GareyMetTel announced on Tuesday an SD-WAN solution aimed at enterprise and midmarket customers that it says can reduce total WAN cost of ownership, improve application performance and make it simple to pull in branch offices via remote provisioning based on pre-defined policies.

SD-WAN is a hot technology for customers looking to manage a mix of MPLS, broadband, DSL and 3G/4G links as a unified network. IT or a solutions provider can apply QoS and set up direct private connections to popular cloud services such as Office 365 and AWS. It’s also attractive to service providers because SD-WAN products are a relatively low-cost way to augment existing WAN offerings with more versatile technology, says Mike Fratto, a principal analyst with Current Analysis, covering the enterprise networking and data-center technology markets.

“SD-WAN also lets service providers extend their reach beyond their own networks to any location connected to the Internet,” says Fratto. “RestFUL APIs provide integration with service providers’ operational and business support systems, and availability of both physical and virtual appliances removes barriers, letting providers deploy in more places.” {ad}

MetTel's Eddie FoxThe MetTel service is based on VeloCloud. Cisco recently invested in VeloCloud, and MetTel has a history with the company, having signed a deal in October to add VeloCloud technology to its managed SD-WAN and bonded Internet solutions.

“We have had others in the network and the lab, but are extremely confident with our unique implementation of VeloCloud’s technology and all of its features,” Eddie Fox, VP of network services at MetTel, told Channel Partners. “We feel it is a perfect match for today and into the future as our network and customer CPE continues to become more software-defined and support more virtual network functions.”

MetTel currently deploys VeloCloud on the VMware vSphere NFV platform.

VeloCloud takes a cloud-based overlay approach to software-defined WAN and offers public, private and hybrid cloud versions of the software. The company also offers appliances for branch offices and data centers. MetTel says the new fully managed, Layer 3 SD-WAN extends across the company’s carrier partners, which include AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier.

“Partners and customers alike are all very interested and somewhat skeptical,” Fox said of SD-WAN. “MetTel had to develop a whole new process and department for managing proof-of-concept projects, as sometimes [SD-WAN] technology and cost savings claims are unbelievable. The piece that really makes it a slam dunk is that MetTel can integrate this technology with existing …

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… MPLS networks and provide simple, clear path migrations to converged and hybrid WAN, beyond MPLS.”

Customers locked in to MPLS contracts can pull those networks, along with other contracted circuits, under the MetTel SD-WAN management umbrella immediately.

MetTel also touted the performance and security benefits of diverting traffic off of the public Internet as quickly as possible. Partners can reduce hardware costs by consolidating branch equipment into a single, cloud-controlled device and limit downtime with application steering and traffic prioritization.

MetTel says its SD-WAN solution delivers a cloud-based portal for policy management and path optimization; application-aware, real-time bi-directional QoS, network usage monitoring; international coverage with speeds up to 10 Gbps; and private, portable IP addressing.

Channel partners we spoke with at our recent conference are approaching this technology with some trepidation, but customers are interested, and it’s important to have a plan and understand your carrier partners’ long-term strategies.

“The challenge for service providers offering a managed SD-WAN service based on COTS hardware and software is to add enough value beyond the software at a comparable cost to be competitive,” says Fratto. “SD-WAN products already simplify inter-site WAN connectivity to the point that customers could easily relegate WAN providers – any WAN provider – to the role of plumber. Plumbers are important, but you’re not going to ask them to design a custom bathroom for you.”

Are you selling SD-WAN? Let me know, either in comments or direct. Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.


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