Masergy, Telstra, Other SD-WAN Vendors: Managed Services Essential

SD-WAN panel

Is plugging in an SD-WAN box sufficient in an age of rapidly evolving technology?

Chris Werpy, senior vice president of solutions and services for Masergy, says no. Werpy told an audience of partners at last week’s Bridgepointe Technologies event in San Francisco that customers will benefit most from an as-a-service offering because of how quickly SD-WAN is changing.

Masergy's Chris Werpy

Masergy’s Chris Werpy

“The rate at which these technologies are changing is so fast that doing it in a way which takes advantage of a managed service, de-leverages that risk to a customer because they’re not locked in,” Werpy said.

He says it is best for customers to rely on updates and patches, not the arrival of equipment.

“[The compute stack] phones home, gets its configuration on whatever access methodology it is. Whether it’s private or it’s public doesn’t matter. Need a routing image — download it. Need a firewall image — download. Need SD-WAN services — download it,” he said. “That’s where the world’s going, so the as-a-service component is really on the service providers to create that catalog of services at its core, so you can deliver those at the speed of software, not at the speed of hardware.”

Masergy partners with Silver Peak. Werpy was speaking on an SD-WAN panel alongside representatives from Telstra, Tata Communications and Cato Networks.

Tata’s Sushil Naladawe

Tata’s Sushil Naladawe

Sushil Naladawe, global head of SD-WAN product incubation for Tata Communications, says the SD-WAN itself is “not a magic bullet.” Rather, the onus lies with the service provider to offer a complete solution.

“It’s not about any specific SD-WAN box or platform,” Naladawe said. “It’s about the managed service. And we are responsible for taking that road map with proven partners we have chosen.”

Rick Huffman is a data center and cloud specialist with Telstra, which partners with VeloCloud and soon Viptela. He agreed with Werpy that the managed-services conversation is the most important aspect of selling SD-WAN.

Telstra’s Rick Huffman

Telstra’s Rick Huffman

“I think we get a little lost on the technology and we lose a little bit of the service delivery of those things, and we’re driving a conversation around cost, rather than, what is the outcome for the customer?” he said. “For us, we’re looking at integrating solutions from different technology partners, but wrapping it into a service delivery in different formats.”

Huffman argued that the future of networking is hybrid. This means that MPLS will remain in certain aspects of business, and therefore, his company’s aim is to integrate solutions with it.

The panelists from Tata and Masergy primarily agreed that the best SD-WAN solutions will integrate with MPLS in some respect.

Shawn McCarthy, Cato’s director of sales engineering for the Americas, differed significantly on SD-WAN. He agreed that MPLS is a present reality for most customers but said that it is on a timeline to fade out.

“MPLS, I think, will go away. It won’t …

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