As part of its overall effort to bring network virtualization to its infrastructure, Verizon today took the wraps off its new SD-WAN service that uses Cisco’s Intelligent WAN (IWAN) technology. The news marks the first announcement of a service provider deploying IWAN.
The hybrid Cisco SD-WAN service allows enterprises to automatically scale and manage their business applications based on the best connections available at a given time. The SD-WAN service can shift between public Internet and private MPLS resources based on whether there’s a need to access corporate documents, for example, on a private network versus streaming video content over the public Internet.
Based on a user’s needs, SD-WAN can also decide whether a wireless, broadband or private network is necessary for each connection.
“With SD-WAN, you’re getting that point-to-point network across the different connections that are available, which is a very valuable first step in controlling performance, security and cost,” says Verizon’s Shawn Hakl, vice president of enterprise networking and innovation. “It sets the stage to start looping in a layer of virtual services on top that traditionally would have been done through physical hardware.”
Based on the demand from enterprises, the SD-WAN service is the first brick in the SDN strategy Verizon outlined earlier this year. As part of the April announcement, Verizon said its SDN ecosystem would include working with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Juniper, and Nokia Networks.
“Now that we have SD-WAN in place, we can start looking at additional capabilities,” Hakl says. “We are looking at adding more security capabilities on top of SD-WAN and opportunities to improve the user experience with WAN acceleration technologies. We’re also looking at an array of virtual appliances that various folks have in the hopper, so we’re evaluating their ability to scale and deploy at enterprise grade.”
Verizon and Cisco will both market and sell the managed service to their respective enterprise customers in the United States. The two companies will broaden the rollout to the EMEA region by the end of this year. The managed SD-WAN service is backed by Verizon’s IT consulting group, which helps enterprises on the migration path to SDN.