Mushroom, Masergy Make Moves in SD-WAN Space

Mushroom is unveiling tools for customers to build custom network functions, while Masergy is adding SD-WAN to its lineup of managed network services.


Mushroom Networks and Masergy Communications are looking to grow their presence in a software-defined WAN market that is crowded, competitive and expected to grow rapidly over the next several years.

Mushroom on Sept. 13 unveiled VNF Design Studio, a platform that gives service providers and large enterprises the tools to more easily build virtual network functions (VNFs) that best fit their particular needs. For its part, Masery is adding managed software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) to its lineup of hybrid networking solutions.

Both moves come as the SD-WAN market continues to grow, driven by the embrace of public cloud applications and software-as-a-service (SaaS) and the growth of such trends as an increasingly mobile workforce, the proliferation of mobile devices and data analytics. Traffic from branch offices traditional traveled to the data center via such transport modes as Multiprocotocol Label Switching (MPLS), which can be expensive and time-consuming to deploy, and is not designed for a cloud-centric world.

Businesses and service providers are looking for technologies that can make their networks more agile, scalable and dynamic, and that can make it easier and more secure to connect branch and remote office directly to the internet or cloud. Through SD-WAN, there are multiple transport modes in play, and the network can decide the best path for a particular workload or application, which could be anything from MPLS to cellular.

Through their VNF Design Studio—which is available immediately—Mushroom officials are looking to give network administrators an easier way to design and deploy customized WAN overlays that address their particular needs. Rather than rely on what a networking technology vendor offers, Mushroom's platform offers a curated library of modular, drag-and-drop components that the administrators can use to build software components that are optimized for their networks.

They can use an intuitive user interface to leverage specific network functions—such as load balancing, firewalls, routing, and intrusion detection—in a la carte fashion to craft an SD-WAN environment to support their particular cloud services, officials said. Needs are different from customer to customer, and the VNF Design Studio enables each company to create a custom SD-WAN system, according to Mushroom founder and CEO Cahit Akin.

"Normally you can't get this level of control and customization with a standard UI," Akin told eWEEK. "This enables software-defined WAN solutions that fit perfectly with the requirements of the customer."

For its part, Masergy is expanding its portfolio of managed hybrid network services to include SD-WAN among its Masergy Managed Network lineup. Scheduled for general availability in the fourth quarter, the SD-WAN managed service can enable businesses to use any combination of broadband and private WAN connections and include such capabilities as dynamic path control, adaptive forward error correction, policy-based application routing and centralized policy and configuration management.

"Today's dynamic information technology environment requires enterprises to be more agile as they expand operations, introduce new applications and migrate to public clouds—all while continuously optimizing costs," Masergy CTO Tim Naramore said in a statement. "These factors are driving the need for more intelligent use of broadband Internet connectivity in global hybrid network architectures."

Industry analysts expect the SD-WAN market to grow rapidly over the next several years. Analysts with IHS predict that SD-WAN revenue will reach $1.3 billion by 2020, while IDC analysts are forecasting SD-WAN revenue to hit $6 billion by then. Gartner is predicting that while about 1 percent of enterprises currently are using SD-WAN technology now, the number will increase to 30 percent by the end of 2019.