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Cisco SD-WAN Partnership Propels Nitel

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Nitel has expanded its partnership with Cisco in hopes of giving partners unparalleled software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) flexibility.

The company has integrated Cisco Secure SD-WAN (powered by Viptela) into the Nitel Connect SD-WAN platform. Nitel already partners with Versa Networks for SD-WAN, but Nitel wants its portfolio to be deep, according to vice president of product Todd Miller. Nitel, which Miller said is known for providing disparate access solutions, can not only offer diverse access types but also multiplatform cloud-based security options. That goes along with a network that has “near-MPLS” predictability.

“We really think it’s the combination of all that – the flexibility that it provides – combined with our end-to-end management that ultimately creates what we think provides a superior voice and WAN experience for our customers,” Miller said.

Nitel embarked on an extensive evaluation of its SD-WAN solution last fall, and Miller said Cisco was the best choice for expansion.

“That isn’t to say that our other platforms haven’t also been integrated into Nitel Connect SD-WAN, but we felt Cisco filled a need for us for feature/functionality/capability,” he said.

Miller said Cisco offers “proven” ISR and ASR routers. Cisco also has VPN segmentation, intelligent pathing for cloud access points and a unified management environment.

Gordon Thomson, Cisco’s vice president of global enterprise networking sales, said the partnership simplifies a hybrid multicloud WAN strategy.

“Cisco SD-WAN and the Nitel network provide businesses with the valuable combination of private-network reliability, cloud optimization, and integrated security,” Thomson said. “As a managed service, this offering will deliver cost-effectiveness and application performance by monitoring, maintaining and managing the network continuously.”

Miller said the deepened SD-WAN portfolio fundamentally differs from the rest of the industry in terms of commodity versus solution, with Nitel functioning as the latter.

“For the last two years the market has really looked at SD-WAN more like a product – as if it’s a solution in and of itself that’s stand-alone – and that’s not really our vision for SD-WAN,” he said. “That’s not what we’d call the end game. It’s really just the beginning. We view it more as a vehicle to enablement for our customers.”

Nitel will give partners educational, training and delivery resources, with support from presales through post-deployment.

But the fundamental benefit, according to Miller, is that the SD-WAN vehicle connects customers to the appropriate forms of security, voice and private cloud connectivity. It’s flexibility that Miller hopes will make Nitel a “go-to” for SD-WAN.

“At the end of the day, this is all about taking care of customers. It’s all about identifying the right solution for the customer,” he said.

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