SD-WAN Roundup: Verizon Launches SD-WLAN, Ecessa Pushes Back on MPLS


**Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of articles on the state of SD-WAN, featuring perspectives from vendors, analysts and partners. Check out our previous SD-WAN roundup featuring C3 Technology Advisors and Cato Networks.**

We clearly got your attention.

Our previous SD-WAN column struck a nerve with the Channel Partners audience. Matthew Toth of C3 Technology Advisors and Shlomo Kramer of Cato Networks both argued that MPLS does not have a long-term future. The consultancy and vendor vie SD-WAN as a replacement.

“For my customers, the death of MPLS started yesterday,” Toth said. He added that carriers are eager to supplement and preserve the legacy architecture to make capitalize on years of investment.

Be sure to attend the SDN conference track, sponsored by Verizon, at the upcoming Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, April 17-20. It features experts from Verizon, C3 and Ovum. Register now!

Kramer told Channel Partners that very few businesses hold a soft spot in their heart for the transport method.

“Quite frankly, when you talk to everybody, long-term they want to replace MPLS, because this is not the fabric that is right for the cloud and mobile area for the future. It’s very rigid, very geography-bound – very. It’s low-capacity and high-priced,” Kramer said.

The article was our most viewed SD-WAN column over the course of our roundup’s short existence. Upstart vendors such as Aryaka seized on the content, but not everyone was impressed.

There’s clearly a diversity of opinions on this subject among analysts and vendors. A Frost & Sullivan analyst told me he sees continued MPLS growth. Ecessa CEO Mike Siegler “totally disagrees” with the notion that customers see MPLS as the root of their problems.

Ecessa's Mike Siegler

Ecessa’s Mike Siegler

“I think customers find themselves frustrated that they’re spending money on IT – regardless of what that is – and they still have issues. They either still have voice issues, they still have security issues, they still have connectivity issues, and I think they say (even if it’s metro Ethernet or an MPLS or even T1s), ‘I need something better. I need someone to help me improve this,'” Siegler said. “They’re not saying, ‘I hate my MPLS. I want to get rid of it.’ They’re just saying, ‘I need to solve these network problems.'”

Siegler is not averse to replacement, but his company and other SD-WAN vendors are popular options for customers who want to augment their networks.

For Siegler, there should not be pressure to abandon MPLS.

“We can make any network better,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of customers who have an MPLS. The MPLS lets them down once in a while or isn’t performing where they want it to. We can help them integrate in other low cost bandwidth – be it broadband, cable, whatever – and we can those two circuits better than individually.”

Ecessa has campaigned on the premise of flexibility being its differentiator.

“We’re advocates for: Choose the best connectivity that works for your business, and we can help make that connectivity better,” Siegler said.

The Minnesota-based company labels its portfolio as diverse in offerings and tiered in price, from edge failover and load balancing to data-center appliances. Ecessa calls itself carrier-agnostic — that rivals like VeloCloud Networks, Bigleaf Networks and Talari Networks also claim.

“What we like to say is, we’ll integrate into …

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