The software-defined WAN space continues to be among the most active areas in enterprise networking with Cisco Systems’ Meraki unit, Talari Networks, Versa Networks and Colt Network Services all making moves to expand their capabilities.
The efforts by the vendors comes as the SD-WAN market grows rapidly, fueled by such modern trends as the cloud, distributed computing environments, mobility and the internet of things (IoT). IDC report released early in August month predicted that the market will grow 40.4 percent a year between 2017 and 2022 when it will be worth $4.5 billion.
"The emergence of SD-WAN technology has been one of the fastest industry transformations we have seen in years,” Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC, said in a statement. “Organizations of all sizes are modernizing their Wide Area Networks to provide improved user experience for a range of cloud-enabled applications. Incumbent networking vendors have quickly realigned their routing and WAN optimization portfolios to take on the growing cadre of startups in this market.”
IDC’s research found that Cisco held the largest share of the SD-WAN infrastructure market, due in large part to the broad portfolio of routers that are used in deployments, the offerings from its Meraki unit and the $610 million acquisition last year of pure-play Viptela. This week, Meraki unveiled new appliances within its MX security appliances for branch offices. The company also introduced a new Z-Series appliance aimed at teleworkers and IoT devices.
The six new MX appliances come with a range of new features, including some that offer greater support for SD-WAN as well WiFi and security capabilities in single systems. Each of the new models—the MX67, MX67W, MX68, MX68W and the MX67C and MX68CW (both of which offer integrated LTE modems and SIM ports on the back)—come with greater capabilities than their predecessors.
The firewall throughput is 450Mb/s compared with 250Mb/s and VPN throughput is 200MB/s, twice as much as the current appliances. They also come with 802.11ac Wave 2.
The new appliances address a number of trends, including the growing use of cloud-hosted applications, broader LTE availability, the proliferation of mobile devices, the increase of video traffic and the rising number of security threats.
“These trends challenge modern organizations to adapt to a complex landscape with higher bandwidth requirements, multiple uplinks, and threats that can take down networks,” David van Schravendijk, product marketing manager at Cisco Meraki, wrote in a post on the company blog. “Despite these complexities, IT admins can use new technologies to position their branch networks for a successful future.”
SD-WAN enables enterprise branch offices to use a range of transport methods—not only multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) but also Ethernet, LTE networks and the internet—to move data and applications. It also offers consistent performance, improved security, easier provisioning and management of systems, and lower costs.
Cisco is rapidly building out its SD-WAN capabilities. Earlier this the company announce it was leveraging the technologies acquired from Viptela to bring SD-WAN capabilities to more than 1 million ISR and ASR edge routers through the company’s IOS XE software.
For its part, SD-WAN vendor Talari Networks is partnering with startup Meta Networks to give Talari customers the option of using Meta’s network-as-a-service platform for remote access to corporate applications from outside the enterprise, whether those applications are in on-premises data centers or in the cloud. Through the partnership, the capabilities of SD-WAN will extend beyond the perimeter of the enterprise, officials with both companies said.
“Meta Networks’ offering gives our customers a zero-trust, secure choice for mobile workers to access corporate applications and the internet,” Talari co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Andy Gottlieb said in a statement.
Officials with Versa Networks said California Telecom is using Versa’ technology to offer customers managed SD-WAN service that will include options ranging from monitoring to complete oursourcing via the telco’s managed edge router service. California Telecom is integrating Versa’s Secure Cloud IP platform into its infrastructure to create multi-tiered services offerings from basic failover to a hybrid MPLS and cloud SD-WAN integrated with unified threat management.
London-based Colt Technology Services is looking to grow the reach of its technologies, extending its SD-WAN systems into the North America and Asia Pacific markets while at the same time expanding its on-demand offering in Singapore. Officials said both offerings will use the capabilities found in the company’s Colt IQ Network, which connects to more than 850 data centers around the world.
The features—which include application-based traffic steering, real-time service changes through an interactive customer portal, virtual routing and firewall services though network-functions virtualization (NFV)—are delivered through universal customer premises equipment (CPEs). Delivery options range from Colt’s fiber network, third-party internet and 3G and 4G radio access at remote sites.