Masergy launches SD-WAN service, enhances hybrid network concept

Masergy has joined the growing group of service providers offering SD-WAN services, targeting business customers that want a hybrid network option for their network sites. 

SD-WAN is an approach to designing and deploying an enterprise WAN that uses SDN to determine the most effective way to route traffic to remote locations such as a company branch office.

Set to be available in the fourth quarter, Masergy is offering its managed SD-WAN to business customers as part of the service providers managed network functions. The service provider said that it has four customers conducting a beta test of the service.

The service will support a mix of on-premises, cloud and virtualized deployments, and can utilize any combination of broadband and high-performance private WAN connections.

To ensure application performance and security while enhancing price-performance optimization, Masergy’s SD-WAN service includes a number of performance and data resiliency features:

  • Dynamic path control and adaptive Forward Error Correction (FEC)
  • Automatic IP-VPN tunnels with AES 256 encryption
  • Dynamic Policy-based Application Routing
  • Centralized policy and configuration management

While it plans to name other network vendor partners, Masergy will initially leverage Silver Peak’s solutions. Silver Peak’s Unity EdgeConnect can create an SD-WAN that enables customers to move to a broadband WAN at their own pace. This could be on either a site-by-site or a hybrid WAN approach that leverages both MPLS and broadband internet connectivity.

Paul Ruelas, director product management for Masergy, told FierceTelecom that Silver Peak’s ability to able to mesh with its QoS mechanism will give its customers better visibility and consistency.

“Most of the SD-WAN solutions will have the central orchestration that they talk back to, but we also like the business intent policy overlay that Silver Peak has which allows us to map into our QoS,” Ruelas said. “From our customer experience, customers are used to seeing our levels of QoS and we’re extending them through the SD-WAN so on the Ethernet side they’re going to see the same QoS queues but they’ll have some more granularity on what they can do with those queues.”

Ruelas added that the Silver Peak solution can also add in “separate connectivity options from our traditional and intelligent connectivity, our Network as a Service (NaaS) and managed broadband services and tie it all back with WAN optimization.”

Business customers that opt for Masergy’s SD-WAN offering can use three different methods to connect: Intelligent connectivity, NaaS via a customer’s broadband connection or one Masergy procures, and managed broadband connections. Additionally, customers can choose an unlimited amount of virtual environments via MPLS, VPLS and internet plus

John Dumbleton, SVP of business development for Masergy, said one of its large customers is deploying 17 virtual environments across their global platform.

“We don’t charge anything else for the virtual environments,” Dumbleton said. “Customers can have a production MPLS and a test bed and their internet service can be one for internal and one for guests and we call it internet plus because we sustain class of service when it’s on net to us.”

By layering on SD-WAN to its product porfolio, Masergy is giving customers one more connectivity option. The service provider has integrated 10 overlays into its six classes of service on the MPLS side so there’s a mapping from a design and architecture perspective. That enables a consistent look and feel across all the different environments.

While two of its beta customer opted to go the do it yourself (DIY) route for SD-WAN by purchasing their own equipment, they quickly found out difficult enough to deploy that they are turning to Masergy. Interestingly, these two beta clients came from its vendor partner Silver Peak.

“Two of our beta clients went and bought equipment, started to figure out how to get it deployed and figured out as convenient it was from a marketing hype perspective they realized it is pretty complex,” Dumbleton said. “That was the impetus for two or our beta clients who said we want somebody to handle this turnkey on our behalf and that’s what we’re deploying here.”

Another key attraction of the SD-WAN concept is the ability to leverage existing lower-cost broadband circuits, whether those are cable modem or DSL. Depending on the nature of the location, Masergy said that large businesses will use a myriad of connection types.

“When you look at this stuff from the broader hybrid approach, our point of view is that for a large offices and data centers where your bandwidth requirements exceed 15-20 Mbps, intelligent connectivity is going to be the most cost effective and it’s an ultra-high performance product,” Dumbleton said. “For small offices and remote locations, NaaS or SD-WAN or the combination of SD-WAN over NaaS is a viable option that cost effectively gets you there.”

Dumbleton said that if a business client decides to go completely over the top with a broadband connection, uptime could be compromised.

“If you go purely over the top with a broadband connection, the forward error correction and dynamic path selection helps with application performance, but at the end of the day it’s a broadband correction and the mean time to repair will be 24-48 hours,” Dumbleton said.

However, most businesses will likely deploy SD-WAN in a hybrid architecture that leverages a mix of MPLS and broadband circuits.

This architecture will be dictated by the size of a location and what applications are being used at each location in a business’ broader network.

“From a use case perspective, we’re already seeing some that are going over the top, but the vast majority will be deployed in a hybrid environment where you’re not wasting your money in your large offices and data centers because you can use SD-WAN for highly resilient designs and architecture,” Dumbleton said. “We believe hybrid network is the end game where you’ll have some locations where you want a level of performance guarantee and sophistication over the broadband connection.”

What’s driving Masergy and other service providers to provide SD-WAN services is the desire from businesses to get access to hybrid networks that combine low-cost broadband connections with high performance private networking capabilities.

Arguably still a nascent market segment, IDC forecast that “SD-WAN revenues are expected to exceed $6 billion in 2020, with a compounded growth rate of more than 90 percent between 2015 and 2020.”

For more:
- see the release

Special report: CenturyLink, Verizon and competitors tout value in SD-WAN, but enterprises should verify QoS claims

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