Masergy also believes that managed SD-WAN will be a particularly strong opportunity for their channel partners.
Dallas-based managed networking and cloud services provider Masergy has added a managed software-defined WAN solution to their hybrid networking offerings. The new addition to the Masergy Managed Network f(n) family of fully managed network functions comes through a partnership with SD-WAN specialist Silver Peak. It will support premise, cloud and virtualized deployments, and can utilize any combination of broadband and high-performance private WAN connections.
While SD-WAN is a relatively new technology, it is being aggressively marketed by many vendors. Its newness is not the reason many service providers hesitate to offer it. SD-WAN has been broadly perceived in the industry as a threat to the MPLS services that are their bread and butter.
“We were already selling a network-as-a service-solution, which combined a primary MPLS and a backup internet,” said Paul Ruelas, Masergy’s VP of Product Management. “We had heard that SD-WAN was an MPLS killer. However, we looked at it closely with our engineering team, and we concluded that it would fit in nicely with MPLS and an internet backup solution.”
Ruelas said that the SD-WAN technology will improve both application performance and security.
“The dynamic path control allows you to auto switch to defined business policies in real time,” Ruelas said. “Silver Peak is also very good at doing forward error correction, to prevent potential problems.” The solution also has automatic IP-VPN tunnels with AES 256 encryption.
Another differentiator with Masergy’s offering is their ability to utilize any combination of broadband and high-performance private WAN connections.
“We believe we are the only provider who can offer a fully managed and customizable WAN solution with all the connectivity options,” said Sunita Mani, Masergy’s Director of Marketing. “We layer SD-WAN on top of our connectivity functions as a managed function, which we haven’t seen any of our competitors do yet.”
“We will be wrapping it all around an ISC [Intelligent Service Control] portal, where customers can change bandwidth and order services,” Ruelas indicated. “The plan is to fully integrate with the portal. Right now, we are in beta with customers. The full GA launch is scheduled for the end of Q4, and it will be fully integrated at that point.”
Ruelas said that managed SD-WAN isn’t a silver bullet for service providers, and that they expect customers will want it for fairly specific use cases.
“Broadband is still broadband, so there is always an upload component,” he said. “This will be for sites that are more transactional based, where there is bursty traffic, or sites where you can’t get on MPLS.”
Masergy believes that managed SD-WAN will be a valuable addition to their channel partners’ inventories. They have worked with partners since their inception in 2000, but only since 2008 has there been a focus on growing them, They have about 250 partners worldwide, and about 70 per cent of their business is through partners.
“Our channel is very excited about this,” Mani said. “We believe that this will open up new opportunities which will be especially strong for partners. Our core market is medium to large enterprises, but we think this will appeal to the lower end of our market, especially when they won’t want a full-blown MPLS, and particularly where remote sites are involved.”
Mani acknowledged that there had been demand from both customers and partners for this kind of offering.
“There are customers who did not consider us because we didn’t have an SD-WAN offering,” she said. “Our partners also like the fact that it’s not them versus SD-WAN providers any more. Instead, this is one more tool they can offer. Our Net Promoter score is 70, and that’s where we differentiate. Our partners are pleased we are now bringing the same customer experience to a new opportunity they can sell.”