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12 Sizzling SD-WAN Vendors

  • In the networking industry, there may be fatigue around the use of "software-defined," but not when it comes to the WAN. While the hype around software-defined networking has worn off, software-defined WAN continues to generate plenty of buzz.

    Networking experts say SD-WAN is succeeding because it offers enterprises a tangible solution for a specific pain point: the complex and costly WAN. SD-WAN technologies, which use many of the same concepts as SDN, allow companies to mix and match broadband, MPLS and other WAN links, and have a centralized controller prioritize traffic according to policy. The products streamline WAN configuration and management and can reduce costs by reducing the amount of traffic carried over expensive MPLS links.

    "SD-WAN is going to change one of the most irritating aspects of networking technology for us… IPSec VPNs, traffic analytics, and application identification are so easy it’s scary. That’s the power of SD-WAN to me," Tom Hollingsworth, organizer of Tech Field Day and an Interop ITX Review Board member, wrote in a recent blog post.

    According to market research analysts, the SD-WAN market is red hot. IDC has forecast that rapid enterprise adoption will drive market revenue to $6 billion in 2020.

    Enterprises trying to choose an SD-WAN provider face a daunting array of choices. The market is crowded with pure-play startups that pioneered the space such as VeloCloud, Viptela, and Cloud Genix along with established infrastructure vendors like Cisco and WAN optimization specialists such as Riverbed. In recent months, a number of service providers, including Verizon and AT&T, have jumped into the market by partnering with SD-WAN vendors to offer managed SD-WAN.

    Experts expect the SD-WAN market will begin consolidating this year. But in the meantime, how does an enterprise make a choice? Ethan Banks, co-founder of Packet Pushers and Interop ITX Review Board member, offers this advice: "Don't assume these SD-WAN products are all the same. They have different features and functions, therefore you have to do your homework on what these SD-WAN platforms can do. Once you identity what you're trying to achieve and what products match what you're trying to achieve, have a bakeoff."

    SD-WAN products have different ways of integrating into your network and different pricing models, he added. "You have to spend time to research the solutions out there armed with a strong knowledge of how this will work for your business and go from there."

    To help you get familiar with the SD-WAN landscape, we've highlighted some of the more prominent SD-WAN vendors in the market. Our list is not a ranking; vendors are in alphabetical order. This sample does not include service provider offerings, but notes vendors that have teamed with service providers for managed SD-WAN.

    (Image: hywards/Shutterstock)

    Learn more about SD-WAN at Interop ITX May 15-19 in Las Vegas. The technology will be discussed at several sessions, including the "Packet Pushers Future of Networking Summit" with Packet Pushers Co-Founders Ethan Banks and Greg Ferro. Register now for Interop ITX.

  • Aryaka


    Founded in 2009, Aryaka has evolved from a focus on application acceleration and WAN optimization to SD-WAN. Aryaka touts a global private network built on connectivity the company acquired from Tier 1 and Tier 2 service providers as a key differentiator for its cloud-based SD-WAN services. Aryaka's customers include Skullcandy, Air China, and Freescale Semiconductor. In January, the company raised $45 million in additional funding.

  • Cisco


    Cisco's Intelligent WAN (IWAN) is comprised of several Cisco technologies and runs on  IWAN-enabled ISR and ASR routers. According to Cisco, IWAN is built on four pillars: transport-independent design; intelligent path control; application optimization; and secure connectivity.

    Cisco naturally carries brand recognition in SD-WAN. But in his blog post, Tom Hollingsworth argued that Cisco hasn't captured the SD-WAN market because IWAN isn't really SD-WAN. "It’s a series of existing technologies that were brought together to try and make an SD-WAN competitor. IWAN has all the technical credibility of a laboratory full of parts of amazing machines. What it lacks is any kind of ability to tie all that together easily."

    (Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

  • Citrix


    Citrix's NetScaler SD-WAN may not be as well-known as others in the market, but it's catching the attention of networking pros. In a Packet Pushers blog post last fall, Ethan Banks wrote that the product's major features include treating multiple WAN circuits as a unified pool of bandwidth, centralized reporting, and integrated WAN optimization. The product "appears to be the real deal," he said, adding that he would include it in a bakeoff.

  • CloudGenix


    Founded in 2013 by former executives from Cisco and Juniper, CloudGenix is among a group of SD-WAN trailblazers that launched out of stealth in 2014. The company last month touted 10x year-over-year growth in 2016 of its Instant-On Networks (ION) software platform, which runs on x86 hardware.

  • FatPipe Networks


    Based in Salt Lake City, FatPipe Networks holds multiple patents related to WAN optimization, reliability, security and acceleration. The company touts several thousand customers and more than 700 resellers worldwide. FatPipe Co-Founder and CTO Sanchaita Datta was recently honored by the Women Tech Council and The Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City.

  • Riverbed


    WAN optimization leader Riverbed boosted its Project Tiger SD-WAN initiative with its acquisition of Ocedo in January 2016 and released its first SD-WAN product (SteelConnect) last spring. Though a bit of a late-comer to the market, experts say SD-WAN is a natural add-on for Riverbed. This week, the company introduced a new SteelHead product line that integrates WAN optimization and SD-WAN functions in a single appliance.

  • SilverPeak


    Like Riverbed, SilverPeak branched out beyond WAN optimization into SD-WAN. SilverPeak introduced its Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN product in June 2015. In September, it announced a partnership with Masergy to sell managed SD-WAN services.

    "Riverbed and Silver Peak have a definite advantage because they have a lot of existing customers that rely on WAN optimization," Hollingsworth wrote. "That market alone is going to net them a significant number of customers over the next few years. They can easily sell SD-WAN as the perfect addition to make WAN optimization even easier."


  • Talari Networks



    Talari Networks is an SD-WAN innovator, but it's not a startup. Founded in 2007, the San Jose-based company launched its initial beta product in 2008, well before all the SD-WAN hype. Talari has more than 200 customers worldwide, including Benevis, a dental practice services company. The company says its SD-WAN supports physical, virtual and cloud locations and is available in a range of pricing options.

  • TELoIP


    Based in Toronto, Canada, TELoIP relies on its channel partners to sell its Virtual Intelligent Network Overlay (VINO) SD-WAN. The company says its cloud-managed networks are used in more than 800 cities in North America. In November, TELoIP said it won a patent for cloud-based management of overlay-based SDN systems, expanding its patent portfolio to 18.