Versa Networks Updates Aim to Make SDN Easier

Versa Networks is rolling out several new and expanded software-defined networking capabilities that it says will help partners and their customers address IT complexity.

Versa on Tuesday announced that it is introducing what it calls a “software-defined branch” to its set of SDN capabilities. The Santa Clara, California-based vendor has updated its Versa Cloud IP platform to include several new functions: the hosting of third-party virtual network functions; integrated Ethernet and Wi-Fi switching; and embedded LTE.

Versa Networks' Rob McBrideRobert McBride, Versa’s head of product marketing, tells Channel Partners that his company has historically found branch networks to be full of complexity.

“Multiple different vendors being utilized, or even with single vendors there [are] multiple different appliances that are causing a level of sprawl that’s occurred across the branch,” he said. “And of course, this creates a level of complexity in how enterprise IT is actually managing it and actually makes it even more complex for value-added partners and how they might actually manage those networks or even architect networks to provide them to their customers.”

He says although software-defined wide area networking has brought benefits, specific issues remain.

“Although it optimizes WAN connectivity and improves application experience, it doesn’t ultimately solve the general sprawl that’s occurred,” he said.

Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja said Tuesday that SD-WAN only decreases costs for bandwidth.

“It does not solve the full challenge of cost, complexity and lack of agility for the entire branch,” Ahuja said. “At Versa, we saw this as an opportunity and have innovated to deliver an agile and secure software-based infrastructure for the whole branch office as well as the WAN.”

McBride says a software-defined branch allows users to virtualize various services, such as firewall, malware protection and traditional routing, on a common appliance.

The updated platform can host third-party IP services such as Fortinet security, Riverbed WAN optimization, and Avaya voice.

The company also noted that MSPs can take advantage of the platform to combine a variety of software-defined services – WAN, security and router – with their network services.

Versa is looking to find distinctive features that set it apart in an increasingly competitive SD-WAN space. Nitel recently chose to partner with the company for its SD-WAN solution.

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