A few years ago Versa Networks got funding from Verizon Ventures, but it wasn’t clear whether Verizon was also using Versa’s software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) technology. Today, Versa announced that the service provider is using Versa for its new software-defined secure branch (SD-Branch) managed service.
“This is very big for us,” said Kelly Ahuja, CEO of Versa Networks. “We’ve announced CenturyLink, Comcast, and now Verizon, three out of the top four large service providers in the U.S. We’ve got multiple service providers we still haven’t announced globally.”
The Verizon managed service offering includes software-defined networking (SDN), cloud-based management, and virtualized security for branch networks. It’s part of Verizon’s Virtual Network Services (VNS) offering.
Ahuja said Verizon works with a number of vendors’ virtual network functions (VNFs). In fact, Verizon announced in February 2016 that it was using Viptela’s SD-WAN technology for a new managed services offering. At that time, Verizon was using Viptela’s SD-WAN in combination with Cisco’s iWAN technology. Since then, of course, Cisco has purchased Viptela.
The new collaboration between Versa and Verizon is broader than the arrangement between Viptela and Verizon, according to Ahuja. “I would refer to it generally as SDN,” he said. “SD-WAN is part of SDN. With us, they’ve created a new offering, the software-define branch or secure branch.”
Versa combines its SD-WAN technology with security. The software can run on an x86 server in the branch office or as a virtual network function in a data center.
“What they’ve been doing with multiple vendors, if a customer wants SD-WAN or security today, they’d have to get different hardware appliances and VNFs whether on-prem or in the data center,” said Ahuja. “With our cloud IP platform, we’ve combined all capabilities into single software.”
Asked for his perspective on Cisco’s purchase of Viptela, Ahuja said, “We’ve seen increased traction from the customer base because those events make it interesting. There’s one less player in the enterprise place.”