Nitel Chooses Versa Networks for ‘Carrier-Class’ SD-WAN

Nitel, the managed telecom service provider, is getting into the software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) game after selecting a vendor for the technology.

Nitel is partnering with Versa Networks and plans to launch the offering in April.

Nitel's Scott StricklinWe’ve seen many members of the channel sign SD-WAN providers in the last half-year, but Scott Stricklin, Nitel’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, says his company chose to wait and evaluate vendors until it found a sufficiently mature product.

“We didn’t want to go out and offer a single solution, like a security-owned solution or a single solution for routing. We wanted to offer a feature rich product. That’s what we’re rolling out. We’re rolling out an SD-WAN product that has security in it, has advanced routing, policy changes you can make to make sure it goes down the right path,” Stricklin told Channel Partners.

He said the major differentiator for Versa’s offering is its “application-centric management,” where the user identifies critical applications and either routes them or lets the service choose the best path. He contrasted Versa’s product with SD-WAN providers as being “carrier-class” instead of “enterprise-offering.”{ad}

“We can watch virtual customers – a lot of different customers – at one time holistically, and we can manage their networks more efficiently that way,” he said. “Instead of having these individual silos, it’s one big carrier-class platform that’s controlled in the center of the network.”

Stricklin says Nitel made the decision to shake up its sales strategy six months ago and become 100-percent “channel-first.” The company eliminated its direct sales team and changed its engagement model to better support partners.

“We were growing at a pretty fast clip, and then we decided, ‘We don’t want to compete with our channel partners. Every vendor seems to do that, and we want them to build trust, and we want to empower them to be the trusted advisor for their customers,” he said.

He said the special emphasis on channel sales support will be crucial to helping Nitel partners be successful with SD-WAN.

“We’re offering them a lot of different resources for them to be successful selling in the channel, because SD-WAN is a little bit more complicated sell. Not all of them, but a lot of them are selling bandwidth and are used to selling pricing, and this takes it up a level, because you’re actually creating an ROI for your end user,” he said.

There are few hotter technologies hotter than SD-WAN. AVANT Communications added nine providers of the technology last month, including Versa. VeloCloud continues to sign with service providers – most recently MegaPath – and Aryaka recently announced that it raised $45 million to expand its services globally.

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