SD-WAN Roundup: Bigleaf Networks Lays Claim to ‘Plug-n-Play’ Crown


… the client’s ideal security environment.

“A lot of SD-WAN companies today have tried to DIY an all-in-one solution, kind of the home-theater-in-a-box for SD-WAN plus security. We’ve taken a very different approach, saying, ‘There [are] lots of companies out there innovating in security. They’ve invested huge dollars. We’re not going to try to compete with them,'” Mulkey said. “Let’s let them function as they should. Let customers choose that Palo Alto or Fortinet or WatchGuard firewall, but we’re going to be very complimentary to it. We’ll sit outside of it, and the customer doesn’t have to touch the configuration of it. It’s a very clean install, and we look to their network like an open internet connection.”

This is one of the reasons why Bigleaf labels itself a “plug-n-play” provider.

“The sad thing is, everyone says they do zero-touch provisioning. But the problem is, it doesn’t work at all when there’s an existing security solution they have to be compatible with,” Mulkey said.

Although Mulkey and Burchett tout their product’s ease-of-use and flexibility, they acknowledge that each vendor has pros and cons. They say partners and customers must consider the importance of the use case — a sentiment Bill Kleyman expressed in last week’s column. Bigleaf brands itself as the solution that best serves customers who need to run a line of business application to a public cloud or SaaS environment.

Burchett says partners and investors have rewarded Bigleaf for its decision to specialize and capture particular use cases.

“When we got started in the early days, we made a conscious decision that we didn’t want to do too many things for our customers and be mediocre at some of it,” he said. “We wanted to take the things that we knew we could excel at and then complement others with a similar focus. That’s why the channel is so important to us; because the channel is the best means to bring all of those solutions together for today’s business customer.”

A Partner Perspective

Riverbed Technology drastically changed its channel program, shifting from competency-based rewards to performance-based awards. Partners will spend less time earn time earning and maintaining certifications and more time on customer acquisition and utilizing the entirety of Riverbed’s technology portfolio.

We spoke to Bernard Westwood, vice president of technology operations for BlueAlly, about his company’s experiences with SD-WAN. BlueAlly began partnering with Riverbed in 2005 and has spent multiple years in the vendor’s top partner tier.

Westwood says Riverbed’s WAN optimization and network visibility offerings are currently the most popular among customers, but SD-WAN is gaining popularity. He compares the technology to cloud, which brought benefits that were often entangled with …

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