GTT Communications is branching out its SD-WAN options with the addition of Fortinet Secure SD-WAN. Dating back to 2007, GTT has been a Fortinet customer, but Tuesday's announcement gives it a third-option for offering GTT's network-based, managed SD-WAN services.
Service providers such as GTT, AT&T, Orange Business Services and Verizon are using multiple SD-WAN vendors to be able to offer organizations of all sizes SD-WAN services that fit their specific needs.
"Multi-vendor SD-WAN is a big deal," said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research. "All of these VNFs (virtual network functions) do things differently, but as a service provider you want to maximize your flexibility and have different offers for different customer requirements, price points and security levels. Each of them specializes in a specific use case that works for GTT."
Prior to Fortinet, GTT had SD-WAN offerings in place from VMware/VeloCloud and Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN as part of its managed SD-WAN lineup.
"Fortinet has been a long-standing partner of GTT, delivering network firewall solutions as a core aspect of GTT’s managed security portfolio," said GTT's Todd Kiehn, vice president of product management for managed services. "GTT SD-WAN with Fortinet Secure SD-WAN is provided on Fortinet devices, and the network firewall solution is available as an add-on with our other SD-WAN vendor solutions. Additionally, Fortinet’s firewall solution is available in combination with other SD-WAN technologies on GTT uCPE.
"We are targeting high-end medium and large enterprises with this new SD-WAN offering — a target that remains consistent with GTT’s market strategy. The offering is particularly well-suited for distributed enterprises and branch networking applications."
Providing integrated value-added security services was among the biggest SD-WAN trends—along with partnerships with cloud providers— last year for service providers, which means vendors have been adding to their security quivers. With a history of providing security via next generation firewalls, Fortinet was well positioned to include security into its own SD-WAN solution in 2018.
"SD-WAN is used to cost-effectively run more applications over the public internet and to public clouds, displacing the need for more expensive private connections such as MPLS," Kiehn said. "Subsequently, SD-WAN drives the need for increased security, especially at smaller branch offices that may not have previously been connected directly to the internet.
"SD-WAN has also displaced a number of obsolete security models, especially those dependent on highly centralized, data center-based architectures."
Kiehn said GTT doesn't have any additional SD-WAN vendors on its immediate product roadmap, but he does see an uptake in SD-WAN deployments.
"We expect to see continued and explosive growth in SD-WAN adoption that is consistent with industry projections as a result of SD-WAN’s ability to provide improved application visibility and more efficient bandwidth utilization to better enable today’s cloud-based IT infrastructure," he said. "We expect enterprises will capitalize on the expanded control capabilities of SD-WAN and seek enhanced self-service features from their service provider.
"Additionally, enterprises are going to expect better integration with their cloud service provider (CSP) rather than only a high-quality internet connection. Finally, interconnect standards for SD-WAN will be a key area of enterprise focus and coordinated activity as SD-WAN implementations become more ubiquitous."
In addition to the expanded self-service features, Kiehn said enterprises are also seeking easier and faster installation options.
GTT's fortunes could certainly use a boost. In October, GTT reported a loss of $26.2 million in its third quarter compared to a net loss of $23.4 million in the same quarter a year ago. McLean, Virginia-based GTT posted a loss of 46 cents a share on revenues of $420 million, both of which missed Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research had estimated a loss of 20 cents per share and revenue of $427 in the quarter.
GTT's 2019 second quarter sales were $434 million, which was below Wall Street consensus estimates of $448 million. GTT lost 59 cent per share in the second quarter while analysts were projecting a loss of 5 cents per share.
Dating back three years, GTT has closed and integrated 10 acquisitions, including its $2.3 billion deal to buy Interoute two years ago. Those deals have nearly quadrupled the size of the company, but along the way GTT has built up $3.2 billion of long-term debt.
In November, GTT announced it had hired Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs to act as financial advisors for the possible sale of its infrastructure division.