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20 Top SD-WAN Providers for 2020: The CP List Version 3

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Evolving customer demands and more emphasis on security are impacting the highly competitive and ever-changing field of SD-WAN providers.

Last May, our second “CP List” focused on SD-WAN with analysts, members of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board and other industry experts. They shared their views on what it takes to succeed in SD-WAN. We’re back with an updated list and fresh perspectives on changes in this competitive technology during the past year.

SD-WAN Trends

Brian Washburn is an analyst with Omdia. He said two trends have emerged in the past year, as well as COVID-19’s impact on SD-WAN. The technology is becoming “more diverse and nuanced,” he said.

SD-WAN started off as a cost-saving play, then became a key part of complex business transformation efforts, he said.

Omdia's Brian Washburn

Omdia’s Brian Washburn

“Now we’re seeing some efforts to bring SD-WAN back to basics through automated ordering and configuration, friendlier self-installation and automated support,” he said. “These are ways to bring down the cost of SD-WAN deployment. In that sense, SD-WAN is coming full circle.”

Another interesting trend is around SD-enabling existing customer premises equipment (CPE) gear, which is now fairly common among enterprises, Washburn said.

“These include, for example, upgraded Cisco ISR and Juniper SRX routers, and Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks firewalls,” he said. “Service providers might end up having to help enterprises resolve what to do if they have an enterprise-wide SD-WAN partner, a controller for their SD-enabled routers, another controller for their SD-enabled firewalls, and yet another controller for their WiFi/SD-LAN.”

COVID-19

Finally, due to the pandemic, enterprises are apt to have SD-WAN gateways supporting large numbers of concurrent remote access sessions at reasonable performance and cost, Washburn said.

“There are a few strategies and potential perils for this new requirement,” he said.

Bryan Reynolds is TBI‘s director of sales operations. He said more than ever, value-adds and support are critical to end customers.

TBI's Bryan Reynolds

TBI’s Bryan Reynolds

“Customers are very concerned with post-sales support as it pertains to their purchase, and leveraging post-sales resources like project managers, implementation specialists and self-service tools is becoming a popular sales approach when designing solutions,” he said. “Customers need solutions to work for their businesses and cannot afford to have expensive setbacks (construction costs, hardware refresh, etc.). There is a much greater demand on vendors as customers hold their feet to the fire. Those that rise to the occasion usually are more successful.”

Kelly Ratcliff is Clarify360’s CEO. He said organizations have move beyond initial thinking around MPLS cost saving and capex reduction as the primary driver to deploy an SD-WAN solution.

Clarify360's Kelly Ratcliff

Clarify360’s Kelly Ratcliff

“As more and more applications move to the cloud, the corporate IT footprint has evolved,” he said. “Drivers like the increased need for application performance, network visibility and centralized management across branch locations have moved to the forefront as equally important areas of focus.”

The Impact of SASE

Matthew Toth is founder and president of Collaborative Communications Consulting (C3). He said SD-WAN’s definition hasn’t changed over the past year. But people talk about the technology as part of a wider product set called secure access service edge (SASE), he said.

C3's Matthew Toth

C3’s Matthew Toth

“SASE includes SD-WAN, remote access, security and direct peering with major cloud providers,” he said. “Vendors should have less SD-WAN conversations and more SASE conversations.”

M&A

Vendor consolidation, partnerships and venture capital have changed the market, Toth said.

“Oracle bought Talari and Palo Alto Networks bought CloudGenix,” he said. “We expect more acquisitions to happen over the next couple of years. Partnerships have sprung up as well. Riverbed partnering with Versa to build out their SD-WAN capabilities is an example of this. Lastly, venture capital for some of the upstarts gave them a runway to compete with the big boys. Cato Networks, BigLeaf Networks and CloudGenix are examples of these.”

Based on feedback from analysts, experts and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 top SD-WAN providers that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success. The list offers a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known companies that are making big strides in SD-WAN.

Aryaka

Aryaka logo 2020Aryaka is among the leaders in SD-WAN, Reynolds said. Also, the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure identifies Aryaka as a “visionary.”

In addition, Aryaka ranks sixth in the latest Vertical Systems Group SD-WAN rankings for year-end 2019. The providers each had 2% or more of installed and billable carrier managed SD-WAN customer sites in the United States.

AT&T

ATT logoReynolds cited AT&T among the top SD-WAN providers. AT&T topped the latest Vertical Systems Group SD-WAN rankings for year-end 2019. AT&T has partnered with VeloCloud since 2016 for its platform.

“The WAN is playing a greater part in digital transformation decisions,” Ratcliff said. “Enterprises are turning to SaaS-based options instead of premises-based ones, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) in the cloud, to run their businesses. Mission-critical applications like ERP need a solidly foundational vehicle in the form of a solidly architected SD-WAN network to support them.”

(list continues on next page)

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