SD-WAN products focus

03 August 2021

The SD-WAN market continues to grow unabated. So, for those looking to take the plunge, or find a new provider, here’s what’s out there

There’s been a lot of buzz around SD-WAN for some time now and the market is exploding alongside digital transformation.

What’s more, there are different reasons for this. One is the fact it forms key transition for enterprises, particularly as they expand their capacity for enabling work across additional distributed location.

The UK has undergone a massive transition in the way people go about their everyday lives. Organisations that have embraced the nine-to-five working culture of the past several decades have found themselves rushing to adopt new ways of working in order to keep their heads above water in what has been a turbulent 16 or so months, courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic. In other words, things have been catalysed by the influx of remote working that the vast majority of us had no choice but to embrace at the beginning of 2020.

To that end, SD-WAN is capable of forming the backbone of your organisation’s digital transformation strategy. The increasing adoption of cloud-based applications will soon necessitate a more advanced, intelligent networking fabric than MPLS. SDWAN’s features provide the intelligent functionality that optimises an enterprise’s network and resolves remote working challenges.

Time then to take a close look at what products are out there and the companies behind them

First up is Aryaka. To date, the company has been known for its global managed SD-WAN offering, according to Shashi Kiran, the company’s chief marketing officer. “This integrates connectivity across our private SLAdriven core, DIA, and MPLS, as well as regional multi cloud access, security, optimisation, and visibility,” adds Kiran. “Our end-to-end SLAs, application performance, and customer care are considered to be unequalled in the industry.”

Kiran is effusive about the recent acquisition of Secucloud, a Germanybased SASE company “that will accelerate our security roadmap with a goal of offering choice to our customers, either via our organic SASE capabilities delivered in conjunction with our SDWAN offer, or those of our security partners” that include Check Point Networks and Palo Alto Networks.

As Kiran opines, SD-WAN, extended to include SASE and offered as a managed service, meets the transformation requirements of enterprises by delivering flexibility, scalability, simplicity of operation and TCO advantages. “It enables them to better compete in a highly competitive and dynamic environment,” he adds.

Aryaka’s customer base, thus far, has been multinationals that have application performance and security requirements across multiple regions. “Our fully managed service including an SLA-driven core delivers the user experience they require to ensure productivity for their global employees. We are now building on this offer with services aimed at regional deployments,” says Kiran.

The eponymous SDWAN Solutions is run by chief executive officer Anthony Senter. The company spent 18 months working with one of the world’s largest hardware manufacturers to develop its own range of universal CPE. Its desktop Vena (Virtual edge network appliance) and rack mounted Vecta (virtual edge core termination appliance) devices service requirements from 20Mbps up to 5Gbps throughput and allow it to run most SDWAN software and security software (via VNF capability) on a single device. “This also means that our solutions are not restrictive as we can replace the SD-WAN vendor and /or the security vendor without having to replace hardware, giving customers best of breed tailored solutions, increased performance and capability,” says Senter. “Our solution OPEX pricing model guarantees no huge upfront costs for customers which makes post pandemic network and router replacement projects budget friendly. We can also deliver and install our hardware in 190 countries with four hour or NDB RMA.”

Senter says the company has a few different pricing models when selling via the Channel and direct, and these also vary depending on quantity ordered as well as the installation method – i.e. fully managed, zero touch deployment or DIY. “What we can say is that our entry level Vena-I device is comparable to many provider’s medium sized devices,but are priced to compete against those providers entry level device,” he says.

Aruba has been in the SD-WAN game for some time now. It offers the latest version of the Aruba EdgeConnect SDSD-WAN products focus The SD-WAN market continues to grow unabated. So, for those looking to take the plunge, or find a new provider, here’s what’s out there in depth: SD-WAN 12 WAN edge platform software, acquired with Silver Peak, is 8.3. Derek Granath, senior director of product marketing at the company, says Aruba EdgeConnect helps geographically distributed organisations of all sizes and in all verticals connect users to applications with the highest quality of experience wherever they reside. Its current customers range from legal firms to retailers, construction companies to financial services firms – with recent examples including Lush and Barrett Steel. “At the highest level, enterprises with geographically distributed locations and that are using applications hosted in the cloud (SaaS, IaaS and PaaS) benefit most from the efficiencies, business agility (i.e. ability to accelerate deployment of new sites and applications) and application performance and availability improvements that the Aruba EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform delivers (i.e. the ability to always connect to applications with the highest quality of experience),” he says. “We also have a number of CSPs that offer the Aruba EdgeConnect platform as a managed SDWAN service to their market segments.

In terms of user groups, “Aruba participates in the MEF and ONUG to continue to advance the innovation and adoption of SD-WAN technologies. SASE and security are big themes/topic for both, and it is really useful for us to get multiple perspectives from different user groups”, says Granath. Hot off the press, Vapour has launched a Fortinet-backed SD-WAN solution for hybrid workers.

Deployed as a software licence – with three levels of support available on a ‘price per user per month’ basis – the solution facilitates endpoint visibility and management, secure remote access for employees irrespective of location, and automated threat intelligence and response.

Mindful that IT leaders are seeking zero-touch provisioning, this technology is even simpler to roll out, as no hardware installation is required. The service has been 12 months in the planning.

“We all know that the traditional 9-5 is long gone, with employees seeking increasing flexibility from their working day –especially when it comes to location.,” says Vapour’s chief executive officer, Tim Mercer. “Many people are keen to remain at home, some are hungry to return to the workplace, and others want the fluidity to decide from one day to the next.”

“Hybrid working is definitely the future, but this isn’t the easiest to manage from a network security perspective. This is exactly why we’ve launched this solution – it’s powerful technology designed to liberate businesses, as they move forward in a post-Covid world.”

Juniper needs no introduction. As Karen Falcone, senior director of SDWAN/session smart routing product marketing explains, traditional SD-WAN offers a number of key benefits enabling workforces to adapt to the remote and hybrid working model that was thrust upon us. However, she argues that Juniper’s SD-WAN solution takes this to the next level by combining its “unique session based SD-WAN” with the power of automation and AI with its Mist AI.

“The Juniper AI-driven SD-WAN combines our Session Smart SD-WAN solution with insights from Mist AI to meet the agile needs of today’s enterprises, and to ensure the user experience comes first,” she says. “Whilst traditional SD-WAN solutions might report an ‘up’ link as operational, it can lack the additive intelligence to infer adequate network performance and overall user experience. Our sessionbased approach provides unprecedented granular visibility, insights and control, transcending the network layer to a user and application level.”

Falcone adds that unlike traditional tunnel-based SD-WANs, Session Smart is inherently built on zero trust and validates all sessions with a global user and application policy. “When combined with Mist AI, we leverage session insights to understand the issues that are affecting network clients in real-time,” she adds. “Customisable service-level expectations (SLEs), proactively detect and intercept anomalies and issues as they occur and offer intelligent and considered network recommendations through our Marvis virtual assistant in natural language.”