RingCentral is keeping its options open when it comes to software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).
The upstart UCaaS vendor on Wednesday announced a connectivity partner program that features several SD-WAN vendors. The program offers RingCentral’s sales partners certified options that will work “seamlessly” with its cloud communications platform. The program lists VeloCloud, CloudGenix, Riverbed, Cradlepoint, Windstream, and GTT Communications as members.
Curtis Peterson, RingCentral’s senior vice president of cloud operations, says more companies might be added to the list. Peterson tells Channel Partners that RingCentral had been waiting for some of the SD-WAN hype to die down before it began assembling a program of certified vendors.
“We didn’t run out, pick one of these SD-WAN vendors, standardize our platform around it and basically make it our direct sole product on our platform,” Peterson said.
First, Peterson says it was waiting for the “technology shakeout” and ensuing consolidation of SD-WAN vendors to occur (think VMware’s purchase of VeloCloud). He also says it is “presumptuous” for a company in RingCentral’s industry to try to lead the direction of WAN. While analysts and companies agree that UCaaS and SD-WAN will be close bedfellows in upcoming years, Peterson says they should have a healthy boundary.
“We looked at it from a customer perspective and said, ‘Why should we dictate the entire WAN design? We shouldn’t,'” he said.
Third, RingCentral chose to be selective with SD-WAN providers, choosing only the ones it deemed adept at handling media. Peterson says there are several cornerstone requirements to be met.
“There are some SD-WAN providers out there that don’t handle call continuity failing over between multiple circuit types, they don’t enhance the QoS, they don’t provider the native visibility, they don’t necessarily cloud-configure,” he said.
The program certifies vendors whose products support RingCentral’s platform or particular use cases. Peterson says the goal is to have a “predefined template” or possibly just a “tick box” to be checked.
Lastly, RingCentral touts the program as offering flexibility to sales partners, rather than forcing them to alter their SD-WAN practices.
“There [are] partners out there selling SD-WAN today, and by doing this certification program, we’re leaving the door wide open for our partners to participate in the play,” Peterson said.
That’s in contrast to companies in the channel that have partnered with or acquired a single SD-WAN provider and offered a single choice for the combination of UCaaS and SD-WAN.
“The carriers out there were picking a single vendor and saying, ‘OK, well, this is the one that we’ll provide our QoS SLA with. So buy our service, buy our SD-WAN, and then you get QoS,'” Peterson said. “And then RingCentral’s policy is, we’re going to make QoS anywhere, everywhere, all the time.”
Peterson says partners will be able to quickly address an “amazing opportunity” in the market.
“A lot of them have already standardized on one or two or several of these [companies] that we put in the initial list here,” he said. “And they’ll be able to run to market immediately with a fully compatible RingCentral solution.”
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