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

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… your existing network, little-to-no change necessary. If you’ve got an MPLS and you like it, you can keep it. If you want to get rid of that MPLS, we can help you do that too,” he said.

Despite that shared claim, Ecessa features a different architecture from other vendors. The offering is premises-based, which is a stark contrast to the companies that use cloud components.

“We kind of come at it old-school,” Siegler said. “We come at it from a perspective of, we have a data plane and a control plane [that] are on-prem, which gives us that maximum flexibility. That architecture drives ease of deployment, because we’re able to integrate into an existing environment. No need to change your IP addressing schemes. No need to change your architecture at the edge.”

SD-WAN and the Channel

Ecessa has been selling through the channel since 2014, operating its own partner program and maintaining master-agent relationships with companies such as Telarus and Sandler Partners. It most recently partnered with BCM One.The company previously sold 100 percent direct before seeing the natural incentives SD-WAN technology offers to partners. The flexibility of SD-WAN lets agents, resellers and managed service providers offer their customers a diverse list of connectivity types from multiple providers.

“It gives back power to the channel. It essentially gives people control back over their networks, and it breaks that connection with the carrier. Whereas before, your WAN was kind of tied to your single provider, and they kind of drove these expensive contracts, and they drove what you chose for technology. SD-WAN gives that power to agents, where they can essentially get creative,” Siegler said.

That doesn’t mean selling SD-WAN will be smooth sailing. Siegler says a cloud of confusion still hovers over the technology. Customers are hearing a cacophony of buzzwords and pitches from vendors, and they don’t know how to decipher which option is best.

Siegler echoes the opinion of previous column interviewee Bill Kleyman, who argued that the use case is king. Every SD-WAN offering has different pros and cons, and the partner must understand how those attributes fit its customer’s networking needs.

Ecessa, for example, has enjoyed success in the categories of banking, finance and health care.

“Each customer’s different, so you really have to go in with that consultative mindset of, ‘Tell me more about your business. What are your needs? What issues are you having?’ And then position SD-WAN in the most appropriate way,” Siegler said.

He says the hype and confusion will continue on for a while longer, as customers mull over what they want. This should be expected as a large of number of vendors – and many of them new to the market – claim the SD-WAN label while offering diverse architecture and feature sets.

So we can extend patience to everyone involved.

“I think it’s going to take time for customers and agents and resellers to find out what wins where,” Siegler said. “We’re going to continue to see that slowly find its own path through the trees, if you will.”

Verizon

The carrier launched what seems to be an SD-WAN solution — if you don’t read the acronym closely. Verizon Enterprise Solutions announced a solution for software-defined wireless local area networking, SD-WLAN for short. The offering is part of Verizon’s virtual network services (VNS) lineup.

The managed solution uses artificial intelligence from …

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