Network and security services provider Virtela Communications on June 28 launched a new service allowing IT departments to outsource management of WAN optimization and application acceleration.
Virtelas Accelerated WAN Service, offered in 190 countries worldwide, is the first to package and productize the service on a global scale based on next-generation appliances.
“Weve seen a shift in the last 10 months where companies dont want to bring expertise in-house, so theyre looking to managed services providers for a service wrapped around this technology,” said Bill Dodds, vice president of sales and marketing for Virtela, based in Denver.
Although other service providers offer managed WAN optimization services based on older technology, or offer the services on a limited basis for a handful of customers, Virtela is the first to go global on state-of-the-art tech, said Senior Analyst Rob Whiteley at Forrester Research.
“Most major [service] providers offer a managed Riverbed or something, but its more of an offering formed by two or three customers requesting it. In Virtelas case theyve beat it up in the lab, productized it and are ready to roll it out globally. Others dont have [their services] hooked into their OSS system, theyre not on a global price sheet and the services are not sold by the bulk of the sales force,” he said.
Customers can buy the application acceleration appliances themselves, or Virtela will bundle the devices with its existing access services. Another option allows customers to use Virtela Collocation Services to locate an appliance in a geographic area that will benefit multiple sites.
“Whats unique about Virtela is theyre offering premise[s]-based and in-the-cloud versions of the service. So as a customer, I can decide [whether to go with] on-premise[s] at a higher cost with better acceleration, or good-enough acceleration with their virtual [collocation sites],” Whiteley said.
Virtela will work with WAN optimization or application acceleration appliances from leading vendors such as F5 Networks, Juniper Networks, Riverbed Technology and Blue Coat Systems. Silver Peak Systems may also be added to the mix later in 2007. The Virtela Accelerated WAN Service offers a mix of out-tasked functions, including procurement, export, deployment, break/fix, management and reporting.
“Our installed customers asked us to take over [management of] what they have and expand where needed. One asked us to upgrade them. [Another] wants to move to new generation and they want us to make a recommendation,” Dodds said.
Management can include configuration, monitoring, executing adds, moves and changes, and performing maintenance on the appliances. The service includes reporting at specified intervals, ranging from every 15 minutes to daily or monthly summaries. As a part of the new service, Virtela added the vendors appliances to its standard CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) program, under which customers can buy, lease or rent the appliances from Virtela.
Dodds said he believes the service is unique in its global reach, although other, more regionally focused MSPs have begun to offer similar services on a smaller scale.
Forresters Whiteley said he believes Virtela has a 12 to 18 month lead over most MSPs in offering a “productized” service on a global scale.