Barracuda becomes first to market with secure SD-WAN service built natively on Microsoft Azure

Barracuda is touting the unique nature of its solution stemming from an exclusive partnership with Microsoft, which should last at least six months before Microsoft opens it up to other vendors.

Today, Barracuda is announcing its Barracuda CloudGen WAN service a new secure SD-WAN service built natively on Microsoft Azure. The product of extensive co-development work with Microsoft, Barracuda CloudGen WAN becomes the first SD-WAN solution that runs inside Azure Virtual WAN Hubs.

Barracuda already has its Cloud Gen Firewall offering, with SD-WAN as a part of it, but the company is stressing that the CloudGen WAN service is a very different product, which has been built through deep collaboration with Microsoft.

“We have been building this for over 12 months, and there has been intense co-operation between the Barracuda and Microsoft teams, which has been breaking new ground for both,” said Klaus Gheri, VP & General Manager, Network Security at Barracuda. “This is a new kind of service that has not been seen before, which is natively built into the Azure fabric, and deeply nested in the routing fabric. This is something that It needs to be done end-to-end, not just having a cloud rendezvous point, which has been what companies have done so far. That does not address concerns about network integration.”

Gheri stressed that the design principle behind Barracuda CloudGen WAN is also fundamentally different from the firewall product.

“We have made this as seamless and smooth as possible,” he said. “It just works magically out of the box. Traditional Barracuda products have a more elaborate configuration. MSPs can move in and change behavior if they want, but there’s no lengthy setting-up process. We had to turn our own technology inside out for that, but the result is that it takes the solution from IT pros and puts it in the hand of a different clientele. It’s really more of a SaaSy offering, with the complexity toned down.”

Barracuda CloudGen WAN also offers customers the prospect of significant cost savings compared to MPLS, by being able to deploy the Microsoft Global Network as their secure enterprise WAN backbone.

“MPLS lines make up to 65% of the cost of communications architectures, Gheri said. “We provide the same low latency high performance, but hop on the Microsoft backbone to provide it for much less.”

Gheri noted that while Barracuda could have done this on our own without Microsoft, they then wouldn’t have the deep integration with the routing fabric.

“Right now, we are the first and only one who can provide that capability,” he said. “We expect that will stay for 6-7 months and then they will start onboarding other vendors. That will still give us a significant first mover advantage.”

CloudGen WAN is aimed at the mid-sized and larger Barracuda customers.

“It’s not for small customers as much in my option,” Gheri said. “There are some hub related costs, which means that there are cheaper ways for small businesses to get cloud access. Once you are midsized, it looks very different, and the larger your footprint is geographically, the more you will benefit cost-wise. Public sector and large enterprises have shown a lot of interest so far.”

Gheri emphasized that CloudGen WAN isn’t a rip and replace for existing deployments.

“This is not a firewall SD-WAN replacement,” he said. “You don’t have to kick them out to move us in. That’s a lengthy procedure in an enterprise, easily a year long discussion. We are as minimally invasive as possible.”

CloudGen WAN will be sold through the Azure Marketplace, and while that will likely be the major channel for the Go-to-Market, it won’t be the only one.

“Some respondents who had already moved to cloud have an appetite for buying their solution from their cloud platform provider, and the fact that this is deeply baked into the cloud  is appealing to many customers,” Gheri said. “There’s also the hub element built into the Microsoft fabric and that will always need to be consumed through the Marketplace. However, many Barracuda partners don’t use the Azure marketplace, so they would be shut out if this was the only route to market. That’s why we made sure we have a dual licensing offering. It can all be purchased through the Marketplace, but you can also use the traditional licensing model. Even if the transaction is done through the Marketplace, a traditional Barracuda partner has to ship the appliance. The Marketplace won’t do that and we won’t do it direct. The total cost for the marketplace and licensing options is exactly the same.

“We will add more features to make this even more partner friendly,” Gheri continued. “This philosophy is something that we share with Microsoft as well.”

CloudGen WAN will be featured at the Microsoft Inspire partner event next week, and is part of the migration topic line there, but Gheri noted that Microsoft suggested they have their launch this week.