Verizon is expanding its software-defined networking capabilities through a partnership with Viptela that will offer end users an SD-WAN service hosted on the carrier's own cloud.
The new SD-WAN managed service will give Verizon customers even more choice when deciding what services they want, how much bandwidth their workloads need and how they can access their applications, according to officials with both companies.
The service comes at a time when the global workforce is becoming more mobile and when more applications are housed in the cloud. Enterprises need to find easier and more affordable ways to enable employees to access those applications wherever they are and on whatever device or system they're using.
SD-WAN is being looked at as a way to bring network virtualization capabilities to branch offices, giving users an array of connectivity options, from WiFi to LTE to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS). SD-WAN technology is important to businesses as they look to make the move to software-defined networking (SDN) environments, according to Viraj Parekh, director of product and new business initiatives at Verizon.
"SD-WAN, we truly believe, is fundamental to SDN transition for our customers," Parekh told eWEEK. "The world has mobile, and the network has gone virtual."
Verizon is making a hard push into the SD-WAN field. The carrier in September 2015 announced it was embracing Cisco Systems' iWAN technology for a service that enables customers to run their own SD-WAN environments on-premises, a move that officials called the carrier's first real step into the overall SDN world. Through the Viptela partnership, Verizon is giving enterprises a choice of hosting their own SD-WAN clouds or use technology housed on the carrier's cloud.
It also follows with Verizon's tradition of giving customers a choice of at least two vendor partners to choose from, Parekh said.
The SD-WAN is an increasingly crowded market, populated not only by established players like Cisco but also a range of smaller companies, such as Silver Peak, Aryaka, Talari Networks, VeloCloud and Glue Networks. Riverbed Technology, whose history is in WAN optimization, also is increase spending on SD-WAN over the next two years. Another survey by Riverbed found that 29 percent are looking into SD-WAN for their remote offices, and 5 percent have fully implemented such technologies already.
Ramesh Prabagaran, vice president of product management at Viptela, said enterprises are finding that the combination of branch offices and the growing number of user endpoints is putting pressure on them to find easier and more affordable ways for employees to access their applications. SD-WAN gives them those options, Prabagaran told eWEEK.
Key features of Viptela's offerings include centralized management and zero-touch capabilities that enable users to make changes in service policies in minutes, greater visibility into the performance of applications and infrastructure, strong security and service chaining, which enables Layer 4-7 services like WAN optimization, firewalls and data leak prevention to be delivered from the Verizon cloud to the enterprise network, officials said.
Verizon's Parekh said the carrier looked at other SD-WAN vendors, but the fact that Viptela offered the centralized management, zero-touch features and the ability to access the L4-7 services was key to deciding on Viptela.
For Viptela, hooking up with a major carrier such as Verizon helps to greatly extend the reach of its products. As part of the agreement, Viptela entered into an exclusive managed services agreement with Verizon in the United States.