Global Capacity may be the latest service provider to offer SD-WAN, with plans to start offering service in the first quarter, but it already is seeing great demand for the service from large and small business customers.
Although SD-WAN is still an embryonic concept, it’s hard not to notice the rapid activity in the space, with a number of incumbent telcos like CenturyLink, Sprint, and Verizon as well as competitive carriers like Tele Pacific coming out with solutions.
Chris Alberding, SVP of product at Global Capacity, told FierceTelecom that customer demand for an SD-WAN solution is very strong.
“A year ago there was a lot of people talking about it was early adopter stage for SD-WAN and that by the end of 2016 there would be three major carriers would pick an SD-WAN partner and by August there was like five that declared it in one week,” Alberding said. “It moved a lot faster than anyone expected and I am seeing that on the customer side.”
Diverse customer interest
Given its broad customer base, Global Capacity is seeing customer interest from large and small to medium businesses (SMBs). For an SMB, SD-WAN can enable a business to leverage lower-cost broadband connections and management for their sites. Likewise, larger businesses see value in using SD-WAN to bring commonality to their diverse set of business sites.
“I am getting four site business customers that are looking to get enterprise level functionality, but do it over their broadband connections,” Alberding said. “Multi-thousand site enterprise see value in SD-WAN as a way to integrate multiple MPLS networks because they acquired other companies that are on separate networks.”
Alberding added that while hybrid networking is one trend Global Capacity can serve, it is only the tip of iceberg of how the service provider can address the SD-WAN opportunity. “It’s interesting that it would be all about that enterprise hybrid path, which is certainly a sweet spot, but that is not the limit of where the demand is,” Alberding said.
Managed service focus
SD-WAN may be the latest flavor of networking service, but Global Capacity sees it as part of a broader managed services approach. Being able to provide more managed services makes sense for Global Capacity as it furthers the company’s evolution from being just a wholesale service provider.
Alberding said that being able to provide managed services will help it further its bond with business customers.
“A year ago, Global Capacity was primarily a wholesale provider,” Alberding said. “Moving into the retail market, we have had to rebuild the product strategy to be able to address the needs of a retail business customer, and managed services play a huge role in that.”
Alberding added that SD-WAN will “give us a lot of flexibility in how we address managed services” because the things like routers that businesses and service providers had to pay for now become part of a broader package.