Gartner published its first Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure and placed VMware, Cisco, and SilverPeak in its coveted Leaders quadrant. The report, which profiles 20 vendors, placed VMware in the top position for completeness of vision.
VMware acquired VeloCloud in 2017, and it’s added the newly-branded VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud as part of its broader NSX portfolio. VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger has said NSX is the future of the company. In June he said NSX had 4,500 customers, and it plans to grow this number to hundreds of thousands. Gelsinger also said in June that NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud had 2,000 customers.
Gartner’s second vendor in its Leaders category is Cisco, which purchased Viptela in 2017. Ten months after its $610 million purchase of Viptela, Cisco said it has more than 800 new SD-WAN customers and that number was growing rapidly. “We are quickly approaching 1,000 customers,” said Kiran Ghodgaonkar, senior marketing manager for enterprise networking at Cisco.
Cisco did come under some scrutiny after NSS Labs tested a sample of SD-WAN products and Cisco refused to participate in the testing.
The third Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is Silver Peak. This vendor recently announced a $90 million strategic investment from TCV. “We are proud to be named a Leader in the new Magic Quadrant and believe it’s a direct reflection of the confidence more than 1,000 forward thinking enterprise customers have placed in Silver Peak in the three years since bringing our Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform to market,” said David Hughes, founder and CEO of Silver Peak, in a statement.
Asked why Gartner named its report “Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure” rather than “Magic Quadrant for SD-WAN,” Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa said the changes in the wide area network are much bigger than just SD-WAN. “The last time I saw this type of change was when the U.S. broke up AT&T, and that was over 30 years ago. The edge of the WAN is changing and it’s more than just SD-WAN.”
Skorupa said the new WAN will include services ranging from security, to a variety of WAN optimization types, to secure web gateways, and “things like micro-segmentation all the way from the data center to the end user,” along with hosting of third-party applications in edge computing scenarios. “SD-WAN is just going to be a feature,” he said.
The Magic Quadrant
For its second most significant quadrant — the Challenger’s quadrant — Gartner places vendors that execute well enough to be a serious threat to the vendors in the Leaders quadrant. Gartner placed Fortinet, Aryaka, Citrix, Huawei, and Riverbed in this category. And in the third category — Visionaries — Gartner placed Cato Networks, CloudGenix, and Versa.
“Versa is excited to be named as a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure,” writes Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja, in a statement. “We’re extremely grateful to our 600+ enterprise customers, 70 service provider partners, and 250 employees.”
And Cato issued a press release stating that “more than 200 enterprises with thousands of global locations, hundreds of cloud instances, and thousands of mobile users rely on Cato Cloud.”
A couple of the vendors in the Challengers and Visionaries quadrants — Aryaka and Cato — tout their global networks as a differentiating factor. And other players such as CenturyLink are trumpeting their global network footprint to offer SD-WAN.
“You’ve got to have some sort of backbone network,” said Skorupa. “You can build your own. The big financials run their own networks. Or you could go to a service provider like AT&T and Verizon and get the whole thing from them: access, SD-WAN, and backbone.”
He said stakeholders are attacking the backbone problem in a variety of ways. Some are going to a systems integrator such as Wipro. Others are looking to companies such as Mode, which provides a backbone and has done integration with SD-WAN vendors.
“We’re seeing lots of different ways of solving the problem,” said Skorupa. “It represents a loss of control by the incumbent service providers. It used to be you picked from 10 big names across the globe. Now there are a lot of different choices.”