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SD-WAN Roundup: Market Saturation Opens the Door for Partner Opportunity

SDN
James Anderson

James Anderson

**Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of articles about the state of SD-WAN, featuring perspectives from vendors and analysts. Check out our previous SD-WAN roundup featuring FatPipe Networks.**

If the software-defined wide area networking industry isn’t saturated yet, it’s perilously close.

More and more vendors are jumping into the fray with new products – like Aerohive‘s last month and Zayo‘s this month – presenting endless choices for customers that want to determine the next step for their networks.

Bill Kleyman, chief technology officer of MTM Technologies, spoke to Channel Partners about the plethora of vendors in SD-WAN. He speaks highly about offerings from Cisco and Citrix, both of which MTM has chosen as partners. But he says other competitors like Silver Peak, Aryaka, FatPipe Networks, Talari, Riverbed, Cradlepoint and Ecessa also have strong features. Up-and-comers like Nuage Networks, Mushroom Networks and Elfiq Networks deserve consideration, Kleyman says.

MTM's Bill Kleyman

MTM’s Bill Kleyman

And that’s not an exhaustive list of the promising SD-WAN vendors.

“I really do believe it’s saturated,” Kleyman said. “There [are] a lot of different kinds of vendors out there. Some of them are good; some of them are bad; some of them are only cloud-based.”

Talk of the crowded SD-WAN marketplace generally leads to M&A chatter in quick fashion. Although Kleyman doesn’t deny that some vendors will consolidate, he says market saturation has other interesting outcomes.

Vendors, customers and partners need to consider use cases more carefully. An SD-WAN company may claim that its technology is superior in all categories, but it will only succeed if it can identify and meet the specific needs of the customer. The customer has to realize that these solutions have pros and cons that may be amplified depending on the environment where they are deployed. And with so many vendors crowding the lane, partners may play an important role helping customers navigate their many options. The partner’s technological expertise and familiarity with vendors could help buyers make sense of the many sales pitches they receive. There is no shortage of choice for a customer that wants to upgrade to SD-WAN.

“[The saturation] is concerning for the vendors, because it will prolong the sales cycle and maybe convolute how products are being offered. Customers are going to potentially spend some more cycles of time and energy doing demos and PoCs (proofs of concept), for example,” Kleyman said. “The saturation of the market really is a challenge for both the consumer as well as the vendor. Because you have to try a lot harder to sell your product, and the enterprise customer has to take a lot of extra time to …

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