In an effort to separate itself from the SD-WAN pack, which includes more than 50 vendors, Nuage Networks has proclaimed its offering as "SD-WAN 2.0."
Nuage is billing SD-WAN 2.0 as the industry's only automated and secure infrastructure for enterprises that are delivering their services across various networks. Nokia-owned Nuage has had its SD-WAN service out in field for several years now, but today's SD-WAN 2.0 announcement calls out several features and functionalities that its Virtualized Network Services (VNS) platform has, but the competition doesn't.
"The SD-WAN space is extremely crowded and there's a mix of startups that are focused on automation of the WAN and making it agnostic of transport of MPLS," said Hussein Khazaal, vice president of marketing and partnerships, Nuage Networks, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Then you have a lot of legacy and incumbents vendors that have either retrofitted their existing installed base to do some sort of SD-WAN or they've acquired companies to fill in the gaps that they had there. And if you look at all of those vendors, the main focus there is on just automating connectivity, improving application performance and adding a little bit of visibility. It's a siloed look at what enterprises need."
"They're just looking at the WAN and when they talk about connectivity at the data center to the cloud, they're really just transporting traffic to the data center and that's the extent of what they do in the data center. We want to label that as the first generation of SD-WAN because today enterprises have unmet needs."
Khazaal said that enterprises and service providers have more global locations, which means they relay on multi-cloud environments to serve their customers and help their employees do their jobs. Enterprises want more than connectivity; they also want simplicity and value added services such as Wi-Fi access points, cloud-based security, better automation features and end-to-end security, he said.
On the security front, Nuage works with well-known names in the industry, such as Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and Check Point. It has also partnered with x86 server companies that allow it to host third-party virtual network functions (VNFs) on its universal customer premises equipment.
"When you have that footprint in public cloud and in private cloud inside of data centers, in SaaS and in branches, you have to look at security end-to-end," Khazaall said. "It has to include visibility, it has to include embedded functionality and it has to include working with leading security solutions.
"It also has to include artificial intelligence or some way to automate the response. It's not just enough to protect; it's also important to monitor and analyze and respond dynamically to any threat that is identified. The first generation of SD-WAN solutions, which is pretty much everything on the market today, is not really addressing all of these issues."
Nuage said its VNS platform is the only one in the industry to offer connectivity, visibility and control at scale with a "single pane of glass" view across the entire network including data centers, public clouds and branch offices.
Nuage also says it’s the first SD-WAN vendor to offer true end-to-end, network-wide security from within a branch to workloads inside of data centers, public clouds and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
"It is a single managing plane, a single, scalable control plane and a flexible data plane that creates that ability to work inside of the data centers," Khazaal said. "So if your business application has been containerized or it's still on bare metal servers, or it's a hybrid, or if parts of it are in public cloud, those users and employees—regardless of whether they're using a broadband connection, or MPLS, or LTE—can access those business applications and SaaS services using a single virtual networking solution from the edge to inside of the data center.
"That's important for two reasons. The first one is the network automation is not in silos. It's automated end-to-end. It's not two or three solutions that have to be integrated or you as an enterprise have to integrate those, or hire somebody else to integrate them. It's already part of the same solution. The second reason is security. If you have multiple management planes, multiple control planes, and then you have to customize and orchestrate all of those then you still have separate security products and solutions."
Nuage Networks SD-WAN deployments to date include BT, Cogeco Peer1, Credit Andorra, Etisalat, Equal, Globe Telecom, NTT Com India and Telefonica. The company said that more than 50 service providers have picked VNS as their managed SD-WAN offering.
How the competition stacks up
According to IHS Markit, sales of SD-WAN technologies are expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2022. In IHS Markit's most recent Data Center Network Equipment market tracker, Nuage was in fifth-place for second quarter revenues behind, in order, VMware/VeloCloud, Aryaka Networks, Cisco and Silver Peak.
VMware recorded second-quarter revenue of $40.1 million, which accounted for 18% of the overall SD-WAN revenue in that time frame. Aryaka came in second place with $32.6 billion and 15% revenue share.
Cisco broke into the top three of IHS Markit's rankings for the first time by posting $25.4 million in revenue with 12% market share. Silver Peak racked up $24.4 million in Q2 revenue, while Nuage checked in at $13.4 million.
Cisco announced last month it was continuing the integration of its Viptela acquisition by adding Viptela's SD-WAN technology to its enterprise routing platforms. Cisco plans to add more security features to its Viptela SD-WAN solution. Cisco bought SD-WAN vendor Meraki in 2012 for $1.2 billion after paying $610 million for Viptela last year.
Also last month, VMware made a point of talking up how it has integrated VeloCloud's technologies into its product lines during the VMworld conference in Las Vegas.
Earlier this year, Silver Peak announced a $90 million round of investment while Aryaka recent named Matt Carter as its new CEO.
Despite Nuage's SD-WAN 2.0 claims, it's a big gap to close on the top-five SD-WAN vendors as it attempts to land more enterprise customers.
"Nuage's SDN controller is popular element that enables communication service provider to modernize their managed network services offerings, including SD-WAN." said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "It faces stiff competition to penetrate the enterprise market—either in the branch or the data center."