Versa Networks scored another software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) deal. The SD-WAN company will be powering Boulder, Colorado-based competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) Zayo Group’s newly announced SD-WAN service.
However, Zayo executives say the deal is not exclusive. “At the launch we are using Versa,” said Michael Strople, president of Zayo Enterprise Networks. “But it won’t necessarily be the only one.”
Customers can buy Zayo’s SD-WAN as a managed offering or unmanaged. Strople said the company offers regular WAN as either a managed or unmanaged service, so it’s using that same model for SD-WAN. If an enterprise decides to purchase the managed service, then Zayo will handle all the network monitoring and will work directly with the enterprise if it sees any performance issues.
The company decided to expand into SD-WAN because it felt like the service was a natural complement to its WAN offering. “Compared to traditional WAN, SD-WAN offers disparate access and more control for the enterprise,” Strople said.
But the company doesn’t expect every WAN customer to switch to SD-WAN. “We don’t think SD-WAN is for every enterprise,” Stople said. “WAN is suitable for many.”
Nevertheless, many of Zayo’s customers were asking the company to include SD-WAN on its technology roadmap even if the solution isn’t a perfect fit.
According to Stephen Fisher, CTO of Zayo Enterprise Services, the “sweet spot” for SD-WAN is for companies that need bandwidth in the range of 100 megabytes or less. “We offer a lot of high-bandwidth services for data center connectivity,” he said, noting that SD-WAN isn’t the easiest technology for that type of service.
Not Ditching MPLS
Is Zayo concerned about SD-WAN taking a bite out of its MPLS business? According to Strople, the company has already seen a shift in customers moving away from MPLS to Ethernet. He said that Zayo recommends that customers have a variety of access types.
And that’s one of the benefits of giving customers a managed SD-WAN service: Zayo can then provide performance analytics to show how enterprises are using their bandwidth and how their applications are performing.
One big benefit of SD-WAN, according to Fisher, is that the company can offer a security layer that will let customers steer some traffic over a private network and some over a public network. This type of hybrid offering is appealing to a lot of enterprises.