… actually adding SD-WAN.”
Armstrong agrees with that sentiment. Some of his customers use internet as primary failover for their MPLS.
“I’m seeing more customers right now ready to re-architect and select a new vendor for their network based on SD-WAN in the last year than I’ve seen probably in the last four to five years,” he said.
The MPLS-enhancing SD-WAN that puts the carrier in charge of everything is one of four to five broad categories of the technology, Armstrong says.
Another category is what might be dubbed the “China-Asia Solution” for global companies that need to securely connect to the continent. Aryaka and Cato have established themselves as leaders in this tier.
Armstrong calls a third category “appliance-based” or “quasi-router replacement,” where the vendor works through the “edge” of the network. VeloCloud is the closest thing to a household name in this category.
Recognizing these categories and their subsegments would be a start for a market that confuses customers and partners alike.
“Getting people to actually use it in a framed vernacular within standards I think is maybe our biggest hurdle in the industry right now. Nobody knows exactly what it is until you spend enough [work] hours like I did to understand what flavors of ice cream you have,” Armstrong said.
He says a partner’s success will come not from figuring out the best SD-WAN solution as if it’s a silver bullet, but rather having “15 arrows in the quiver” and figuring out which one works for the specific client.
“And then you can start saying, ‘Hey Mr. Client; you keep this one because you’ve had problems in China, or you keep this one because you’re trying to do this,’” Armstrong said.
The world of SD-WAN is full of unique vendors, and this is a good example.
While some companies popped up in the last six years, and others – such as Cisco and VMware – acquired their way into the space, Mushroom Networks is 14 years old, and its technology has been evolving.
CEO Jay Cahit Akin helped found the company after graduating from Michigan with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science.
He tells Channel Partners that the company’s broadband bonding technology is well known. Mushroom Networks helps businesses manage multiple WAN connections, but also has been popularizing the idea of “cognitive networks.”
“You really bake the intelligence into the solution so that they can run on autopilot,” Akin said.
Mushroom uses overlay bonding tunnels to make the network “self-cognitive.” Akin says his company envisions an autopilot future.
“Are we there fully? No. We’re basically hitting milestones and slowly getting there. We believe we have the most zero-touch, self-computing, self-healing system out there, but we still have aspirations to make SD-WAN much much better in terms of having inteligent network elements,” he said.
Akin says more than 500 partners in more than 40 countries are a key part of Mushroom’s strategy. They are primarily VARs, but MSPs and independent software vendors (ISVs) are growing subsets.
He says Mushroom occasionally works with a client directly but otherwise prefers indirect.
“We have a very mature and established channel-partnership model. It really ties into the solution being really easy to install and operate, but we also have a lot of experience in on-boarding North American as well as international partners,” he said. “Having said that, in SD-WAN in general, I think the opportunity is still at …