The SD-WAN provider VeloCloud Networks scored another service provider partnership by signing with Sprint this week.
Sprint will soon begin a pilot for a VeloCloud-powered SD-WAN service it plans to release in 2017. The company said in a Thursday announcement that it picked VeloCloud as a vendor because it meshes well with “Sprint’s focus on network agility, flexibility and cloud services enablement.”
“Sprint SD-WAN will transform the way our business customers use their network,” said Mike Fitz, vice president of Sprint’s global wireline business unit. “SD-WAN enables enterprises to lower their network costs while dynamically supporting converged services such as SIP Trunking, cloud services, and hosted applications.”
VeloCloud is on a roll. Earthlink announced in August that it would partner with VeloCloud to provide SD-WAN services. Earlier this month AT&T said it would collaborate with the company to launch an SD-WAN portfolio. Then TelePacific signed a similar partnership, and now Sprint.
So what’s differentiating VeloCloud from the 30 or so other vendors it says it’s competing against?
Vice President of Marketing Michael Wood laid out a six-fold reason. One of the primary technological advantages is the multitenancy of VeloCloud’s SD-WAN solution. Wood said the company started out with the intention to directly sell enterprises a self-servicing and scalable solution.
“What we learned over time is that we really wanted to work with partners and the channel – system integrators and value added resellers – so we began to do that. Some of them just wanted to resell what we had. Some of them wanted to white label what we had. Some wanted a hybrid model,” he said.
VeloCloud then started working with service providers and found the same type of demand, with many of the service providers wanting to do deep integrations.
“Because of the genuine multi-tenancy that we have built into the architecture, all of that was miraculously possible,” he said.
Wood said the partnering carriers tend uniquely combine the solution with their own core competencies and capabilities. He said the SD-WAN solution offers integration “at the core of the MPLS network.”
“Providers can run virtual gateway appliances in their core that terminates both public Internet (e.g., business broadband) and MPLS circuits supporting hybrid WANs that mix the two,” said analyst Kurt Marko, who researched EarthLink’s decision to partner with VeloCloud. “This allows customers to augment the capacity of existing MPLS links with broadband.”
Wood said that older hybrid WAN models, in addition to newer SD-WAN models, frustrates users when the network drops calls. But another advantage of his solution, he said, is its ability to maintain multiple links.
“Many of the other solutions that are out there will drop calls and sessions if to move an application or traffic flow from one link to the other link,” he said. “They do that because they interrupt the connection of that application.”
He added that the carriers who chose VeloCloud do so because they want an architecture that will let them maintain their MPLS investment while still meeting the needs of their clients.
Mike Fratto, research director at Current Analysis, said the company has been accruing wins by pursuing service providers and managed service providers and making those wins public with big announcements. Still, he said the jury is still out on which SD-WAN technology is truly “winning.”
“Other SD-WAN vendors are also getting wins but for various reasons can’t announce the SP/MSP,” he said. “I haven’t quantified them so I don’t know who is winning more, but I will caution against assuming that public announcements equals all wins regardless of technology.”