BARCELONA, Spain — Verizon said that selling software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to the company’s enterprise customers has increased its MPLS business instead of cannibalizing it like many feared might happen.
During an interview on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress 2018, Shawn Hakl, senior vice president of business products at Verizon, said that he’s almost uncomfortable sharing that fact because he doesn’t want his competitors to catch on.
Hakl explained that the reason for the MPLS sales increase is that many enterprises that use MPLS have kept it even though they also deploy SD-WAN. They keep the MPLS for certain applications that may need a high level of security and stability. So instead of eliminating the MPLS line, these customers are actually adding SD-WAN.
“SD-WAN makes it practical to have more than one connection,” he said. In fact, he noted that most SD-WAN deployments are multi-mode with many customers using MPLS plus LTE-Advanced for their connectivity. “What we see is a lot of MPLS plus LTE backup,” he said.
Viptela or Versa?
Hakl said that Verizon is happy with the vendors it has selected for its SD-WAN deployments. The company typically uses Viptela for large enterprise deployments, and it is happy with how Cisco has integrated Viptela with its IWAN solution. Cisco purchased Viptela for $610 million and the deal closed last August. As part of that acquisition, Cisco kept about 95 percent of Viptela’s employees and merged the product with IWAN to create Cisco SD-WAN. “We are happy with how Cisco integrated Viptela. The brain trust was left intact,” Hakl said.
Verizon also uses Versa Networks’ technology for its software-defined secure branch (SD-Branch) managed service. Hakl said that the Versa solution is great for the retail and small and medium business market.
And Verizon may pick additional SD-WAN vendors if it finds other solutions that are appealing. “There is nothing to stop us from picking more,” Hakl said. However, he said he doesn’t see other players that he believes can offer a scalable technology. “We would adopt more of the technologies if we saw that,” he noted. “But many fail on scalability.”