GTT is taking aim at the emerging SD-WAN market with an approach that will combine application visibility and a diverse set of network access facilities to accommodate multiple customer locations.
While GTT has a lot of experience in managing and monitoring network circuits for large business customers, the advent of SD-WAN is going to focus on application layer performance.
The service provider is achieving these goals by implementing VeloCloud’s SD-WAN solution.
Rick Calder, CEO of GTT, told FierceTelecom that while it has plenty of experience overseeing circuits, managing applications is a new area for the service provider.
“The health of the actual access circuit itself is something we have managed for customers for years,” Calder said. “The concept is to move up stack and say the actual application and how the actual application is performing over one or multiple circuits is the orchestration layer we’re adding with VeloCloud.”
By working with VeloCloud, GTT can provide its customers greater visibility into how their applications are performing.
“Some clients are fine without having that visibility and having a hard lined and coded on how their application will perform,” Calder said. “More clients are saying if we can have visibility into it and be able to dynamically control my application traffic across my enterprise that’s of interest, and we want to provide that level of application visibility.”
VeloCloud may be GTT’s initial SD-WAN software vendor, but it won’t be their last. Similarly to how it delivers Ethernet and other managed services, GTT will consider other options to best fit the needs of its business customers
“The analogy I like to use is there’s lots of hardware vendors out there,” Calder said. “We have historically been agile in working with our clients to implement various CPE options and we will continue to be agile in looking at software options.”
Multiple access options
Besides network visibility, another potential differentiator for GTT—particularly in the larger business space—is that it can offer multiple network access options.
GTT can bring to the SD-WAN game its large array of network service options. The service provider has more than 50,000 locations equipped with some form of broadband access service that it integrates into its global network backbone on behalf of its business customers.
“We have been in the cloud access business for many years, and we think we bring some of the best assets to the wide area network business,” Calder said. “Now with the addition to add software orchestration on top of the deep assets we have already.”
Complementing its IP backbone network—one that includes its newly acquired assets from Hibernia—the service provider has deep experience in procuring wireline-based copper circuits, cable and wireless-based LTE services.
“There are effectively four ways to get to an enterprise location: copper access via T-1 and DSL, cable broadband services, fiber and wireless backup,” Calder said.
Besides managing and purchasing circuits for its customers, GTT is also skilled at finding the best CPE equipment.
“We have been managing equipment on behalf of clients for over a decade and probably have 100,000 managed devices in our network,” Calder said. “We have deep experience in sourcing, procuring, deploying and managing equipment and the announcement we made last week is the last piece part of putting together a software-defined WAN with application layer visibility.”
Retailers, other verticals take notice
GTT has not seen any one vertical cite interest in SD-WAN as the service is applicable to various business customer segments.
Samir Desai, director of product management for GTT, said that SD-WAN could be relevant to any large distributed business customer.
“We’re seeing interest across the board,” Desai said. “There’s not any one single vertical that is generating a lot of demand and it is typically across any distributed enterprise that want a more cost effective internet connectivity solution.”
Desai added that SD-WAN “brings in the broadband capability along with pulling the MPLS connectivity piece to the most critical locations and applications.”
Although GTT is already seeing strong customer interest, the service provider foresees the retail vertical as a strong contender.
“If I could hazard a guess, I would expect to see stronger interest in the longer-term in our retail segment,” Desai said. “Those companies have lots and lots of smaller locations and are looking for a better unified network experience.”