Service provider EarthLink later this year will launch a software-defined WAN service that will be based on technologies from vendor VeloCloud.
Officials with the network services provider said the new service is part of a larger effort to offer businesses tools to help reduce their costs and increase revenues through improved application performance, greater bandwidth control and always-on services for customers. Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is designed to enable businesses to address such growing trends as cloud computing, the interne of things (IoT), data analytics and greater workforce mobility through more branch and remote office networks that are more automated, scalable, agile and affordable.
"Companies wanting to enhance the experience for their customers need to maximize application performance and meet increasing bandwidth demands with a viable cost-effective solution," Earthlink President and CEO Joe Eazor said in a statement. "Implementing SD-WAN alongside other managed network services will give our customers more visibility and control over the applications, websites and devices that utilize their network."
EarthLink becomes the latest service provider to offer SD-WAN services through partnerships with vendors in an increasingly crowded and competitive market. For example, Verizon is using technologies from Cisco Systems and Viptela to extend SD-WAN services to its customers, while BT Group is partnering with Cisco as well. In addition, other service providers, including CenturyLink and MetTel, are offering their own SD-WAN products.
The emerging trends in the business space, such as the cloud and IoT, are putting pressure on organizations to manage the growing and changing pressures on their networks. Enterprises traditionally have used transport models like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) to move data traffic between campus environments and central data centers. However, now applications are coming from a variety of sources, including the cloud, and more connectivity options are needed. Businesses want to incorporate and unify multiple transport models—not only MPLS but also other options like broadband, DSL, 3G, 4G and the internet.
Demand for SD-WAN technologies is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. Gartner analysts are predicting that the percentage of enterprises using SD-WAN technologies will jump from about 1 percent now to 30 percent by 2019, while IDC analysts expect the SD-WAN market to grow from less than $225 million last year to $6 billion by 2020.
Such demand also is helping drive competition in the market. Established companies like Cisco Systems and Riverbed Technology are building out their capabilities in the space, while pure-play startups like Talari Networks, CloudGenix, Aryaka and Viptela are looking to grab shares of the market and are seeing gains in their customer bases.
VeloCloud was founded in 2012 and launched its first products two years later. In three rounds of funding, the company has raised $49 million, including $27 million in the latest round in January, which included support from Cisco. VeloCloud's software runs on standard x86 systems in a customer's branch offices or remote sites. It also can run in the cloud by connecting to VeloCoud Gateways housed in cloud facilities run by Amazon Web Services, Equinix and others. Centralized management is provided by VeloCloud Orchestrator.
"SD-WAN provides the visibility and control that customers need to capitalize on technology evolution to migrate services to the cloud, and implement new IP services like voice, digital signage, video conferencing and other applications," VeloCloud co-founder and CEO Sanjay Uppal said in a statement.