With the aid of more than $360 million in venture capital, a bulge of next-generation technologies for the wide area network (WAN) is arriving on the markets, and it’s going to change the way enterprises connect for the next decade.
WAN connectivity is moving to the cloud, and that means that IT and business managers want to ditch hardware, especially branch-office devices for the WAN. The new model will be a cloud service that the customer can provision and order on the Web with software, or at the minimum use only a small box managed by the service provider.
What will you order up for the WAN Cloud? Just about everything you get today on your privately provisioned WAN network. Offerings will range from a full network-as-a-service (NaaS) offering, with built-in security, caching, and application acceleration from POPs around the world, to a more simple WAN acceleration and application prioritization service targeted at branch offices.
I’ve been researching the startups and the technology for about six months and found there is a wide range of solutions targeting different parts of the market. My new report, the Future of Cloud WAN report, indicates that the market for Cloud WAN connectivity services has the potential to hit $7.5 billion by 2020.
Leading startups emerging in this area include Aryaka, CloudGenix, Pertino, and VeloCloud, though CloudGenix is still stealthy and hasn’t really detailed its plans. There are several others, including Silver Peak and Talari, which are also playing in this market, with varying degrees of features.
Aryaka has pumped more than $80 million in VC funding into building a global network of POPs for a NaaS service. Think of it as Akamai for enterprise networks. The local POPs can prioritize mission-critical SaaS apps to accelerate performance. But Aryaka’s network delivers a wide range of services including compression, quality of service (QoS), IPsec security, and link redundancy.
Pertino and VeloCloud are focused more on the middle market and the branch-office connectivity problem, also known as “ditch the router.” By supplying virtual orchestration and routing software, both Pertino and VeloCloud want to connect your WAN in the cloud.
VeloCloud is very focused on multi-link aggregation – combining multiple Internet broadband links in an intelligent way to speed up your network –as well as application prioritization, in which you can designate which applications receive priority in connecting to the cloud.
Pertino has built a network of POPs that connect to a software stack downloaded by the client. The stock can be loaded on wired hardware or mobile devices, and it tracks connectivity in the cloud using BGP connectivity of the network provider, seamlessly switching to better connections in the case of failure.
The overriding trend in the evolution of the WAN Cloud is the “consumerization” of networking technology: the ability to select, manage, and provision your WAN services just like you are buying a plane ticket on Expedia. You can expect nearly all enterprise networking services to migrate here: Security such as intrusion detection systems (IDS) and anti-virus, IP virtual private network (VPN), WAN optimization, application delivery control (ADC), and many others.
Despite this rising tide of startups, don’t expect the incumbents to give up. Cisco is trying to migrate its WAN functionality to the cloud (albeit slowly), and WAN optimization leader Riverbed Technologies is partnering with Akamai to put enterprise SaaS acceleration in the cloud. And as I wrote recently, you can expect security companies to offer more services in the cloud as demonstrated by the recent partnership between Fortinet (Nasdaq: FTNT) and NTT Communications.
The key for the customers will be the ROI: Less management headaches, less time spent configuring hardware devices, no hardware costs, and increased business productivity are among the attractions to moving to the WAN Cloud.
In other words: Let the cable guy handle it!
The Rayno Report has just released a premium report, The Future of Cloud WAN, which details the emergence of a $7.5B software-defined WAN market that puts enterprise connectivity services in the cloud. The 20-page report is available on the Rayno Report website at http://raynoreport.com/