Vendors have crowded the software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) market to the point where differentiating them takes a herculean effort.
A diverse mix of startups, established carriers and legacy vendors have claimed SD-WAN supremacy. Dell’Oro estimated in our previous column that approximately 40 companies are overtly marketing their platform. Launching an SD-WAN offering represents, for many companies, a necessary step to match their competitors, thus confusing which vendors are truly serious about the technology.
So today we endeavor to faithfully show you, the partner and the customer, the differences among five “pure-play” SD-WAN vendors.
The use case, as we have noted before, becomes a gigantic factor in deciding the best platform for a company, because the differences in most cases do not represent superiority or inferiority, but how particular customers will benefit from specific platforms.
“There’s a lot of noise around SD-WAN,” said Jeff Burchett, co-founder of Bigleaf Networks. “We all have different opinions, and frankly it’s not about one of us being dramatically better than the others, but [about] you guys figuring out who’s the best fit in the right situations.”
Bigleaf joined four other vendors on stage that Channel Partners Evolution Thunderdome last week. A committee of master agents grilled Bigleaf, CloudGenix, InSpeed Networks, Versa Neworks and Talari Networks about how their products are different.
The discussion illustrated that the market is maturing and moving past marketing-induced misconceptions. And mercifully so.
— Channel Partners (@Channel_Expo) October 11, 2018
For example, Versa’s director of marketing, Robert McBride, said companies now know that SD-WAN isn’t about cost savings. The transport itself does not necessarily save money up front, but there is a clear time-saving component on the operational side. But price formerly drove the SD-WAN conversation.
“It was centered around the concept that you were going to flip this switch, and all of a sudden everything would be broadband,” McBride said. “And a lot of customers learned that the hard way.”
It was interesting to note that the discussion hardly touched on the internet’s replacement of MPLS. Although companies like InSpeed said they are “not afraid” of replacement, the vendors all acknowledged that most customers will run their workloads over a combination of private networks and internet.
“We all thought maybe someone was going to flip a switch, and everything’s going all-internet,” said George Just, Talari’s vice president of sales. “That didn’t happen, and it’s probably not going to happen in our technology lifetime.”
The major benefit of the panel was that it forced all five vendors to answer the same questions in brief fashion, making it easy for the partner audience to spot their nuances. We have in the same spirit of brevity supplied three lists that compare each vendor.
The first observation was that each vendor uniquely described its value proposition. Although InSpeed CEO Ed Basart noted that his company and Bigleaf both see themselves as plug ‘n’ play, both offer several differences in terms of …