A new Verizon managed services offering, powered by Viptela’s SD-WAN, is intended to allow enterprises to use the network connections of their choice, including MPLS, wireless LTE, broadband, and Ethernet.
The managed services are being offered in the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. For the U.S., Viptela has won an exclusive managed services arrangement with Verizon.
“Exclusivity enables a very specific commercial relationship where we provide more new commercial options for our customers,” says Viraj Parekh, managing director of product innovation at Verizon. He says Verizon is looking at a new consumption-based model, for example, rather than the traditional pricing per device at a particular location.
The carrier recognized more than a year ago that its enterprise customers needed help connecting their users to their applications, and Verizon began searching for SD-WAN partners.
Its collaboration with Viptela became public in the spring of 2015. In September, SDxCentral reported that Verizon Ventures had invested in another SD-WAN vendor — Versa Networks. Although Versa has not announced Verizon as a customer, it is typical for a carrier’s business arm to validate a vendor’s technology before its venture arm invests.
Versa Chief Marketing Officer Mark Weiner will only say that Verizon is an investor in Versa. But he does say that carriers often have more than one vendor for a similar technology, partly as a fail-over plan and partly to play vendors against each other.
Parekh says, as part of Verizon’s evaluation process, “We looked at many technologies in the market. A lot of the technologies were in the alpha or beta mode. We recognized that Viptela was way ahead.”
The carrier has integrated Viptela’s management platform in the Verizon cloud as well as integrating it with Verizon’s OSS and BSS.
MPLS Is Lucrative
Verizon says Viptela is helping it respond to its customers’ needs, and it’s giving them the freedom to choose different transport options. But could this backfire on the carrier if lots of customers decide to jettison their expensive MPLS lines and rely on cheaper broadband and LTE connections for their SD-WANs?
“Customers are choosing for their primary network either Ethernet or MPLS,” says Parekh, noting that customers that used to have two MPLS connections are now moving toward broadband for their second connection and using LTE as a tertiary backup. “It’s finding their optimal balance with these network connectivity options.”
Balance may be the key point. MPLS is reliable and secure, but expensive, while broadband is affordable, but not as reliable and secure.
“Viptela enables customers to implement a hybrid WAN that combines these different types of links, while adding the ability to choose, on-the-fly, the best connection type for individual applications,” says Lloyd Noronha, director of marketing with Viptela.
Viptela’s technology expands Verizon’s managed SD-WAN based on Cisco’s iWAN technology. Viptela’s technology creates a separate control and data plan; it can manage policies centrally; it provides zero-touch provisioning; and it supports network segmentation. In addition, every device is authenticated and every packet encrypted in the network.