SD-WAN is appealing because it is a replacement for traditional WAN routers and supports transport technologies like MPLS, Internet, and LTE. SD-WAN also allows load sharing of traffic across multiple WAN connections making it more efficient.
For service providers, SD-WAN as a Service is viewed as a new revenue opportunity because they can manage WAN services for enterprise businesses. Likewise, SD-WAN as a Service can be appealing to end users and enterprises that don’t want to manage the WAN network or applications and would prefer to outsource these services to a service provider.
Service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, Windstream, Singtel, and others are offering SD-WAN as a Service. In January 2017 Windstream said it had selected VeloCloud as the vendor for its SD-WAN technology. The company said that its service converges voice, data, and video applications on the same IP backbone.
Some major SD-WAN vendors include Cisco, Velocloud, and Versa. Service providers that use Cisco include Verizon, CenturyLink, and Vodafone. Velocloud’s customers include Dell EMC and Deutsche Telekom. Comcast, CenturyLink, China Telecom Global, Verizon, and Singtel all use Versa.
Meanwhile AT&T, using VeloCloud, offers an SD-WAN as a Service product. Verizon uses Viptela and Versa for their own SD-WAN services for large enterprises and the “secure branch” product respectively. Versa has many other customers for SD-WAN services, including Singtel and Comcast.
SD-WAN as a Service vs. Managed SD-WAN
SD-WAN as a Service is also often referred to as “managed SD-WAN,” because a customer typically pays a service provider a fee to install and deliver connectivity, as well as any applications, monitoring, and maintenance services.
For service providers, managed SD-WAN is a chance for them to offer value-added services such as security and applications performance enhancement. These value-added services often come with service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee minimum service levels.
Benefits of SD-WAN as a Service
One of the main benefits of SD-WAN is that it can reduce their WAN costs because it supplements or replaces dedicated private WAN networks, which usually are MPLS, with regular broadband connectivity.
That same cost-benefit can be applied to SD-WAN as a Service. By using this, enterprises can get the flexibility and cost savings of SD-WAN and at the same time minimize the headache of managing the infrastructure and connectivity.
SD-WAN Service Components. Source: MEF
Updated April 2019