Verizon partners with Hitachi to serve up WAN optimization for enterprises

After more than a year of development, Verizon Business Group announced on Tuesday the availability of a new WAN optimization solution for enterprises.

Verizon Business Group worked with Hitachi High Technologies America to launch its ONEx WAN optimization solution. While Verizon has deployed SD-WAN technologies from Cisco's Viptela and Versa Networks, ONEx WAN currently works on the Viptela solution. But, Verizon’s Viraj Parekh, executive director for global products and solutions, said based on customer demand, certification could be forthcoming on Versa or other vendor partner technologies.

While Verizon uses other WAN optimization technologies, Parekh said bandwidth utilization and management have become a challenge over the past few year, especially with all of the applications and multi-cloud environments that are in use today.  Large files, increasing costs and high packet loss are also factors, and Verizon didn't want to continually add circuits for more bandwidth.

The ONEx WAN solution, which is part of Verizon's Virtual Network Services (VNS) portfolio, boosts global enterprise data transmission without the need for endpoint software installation or dedicated hardware.

"So this definitely, in our opinion, significantly different from what we've launched previously," Parekh said. "The key highlights of this solution include that it's one sided and not a bookended solution. It's a solution that can be deployed closer to where the applications are in the server environments, the cloud or data center environments. It does not require client-side software and it doesn't require deployment at each branch office location. So really it significantly decreases the footprint and allows for a more cost effective optimization solution."

The ONEx WAN solution also supports encryption on encrypted traffic, which Parekh said was especially significant for Verizon as part of its VNS portfolio. He said it also doesn't require any changes in configuration, either on the application itself or on the client.

"When we started building out these different service chains and combinations to cater to our customers' needs, we started realizing that the way the traditional WAN optimization solutions work with encrypted traffic is they would have to actually decrypt the traffic, process the traffic, and then it has to get re-encrypted to ensure that end to end encryption is maintained," Parekh said. "Some of the solutions actually failed when it came to service chaining with technologies like SD-WAN. We had to work with these vendors to develop a very specific customized solution that would actually allow us to service shape, and it was a lot of overhead.

"This solution actually works very well with encrypted traffic, giving us more flexibility to be able to service chain with other network functions. So, as part of the launch, how we are making this available is essentially it is going to be a service chain capability available with SD-WAN."

The ONEx WAN optimization service chain from Hitachi is provisioned on the universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) from Dell. Parekh said Hitachi's virtual network function (VNF) for WAN optimization runs on the Dell box in tandem with the Viptela software. The Hitachi VNF includes the company's proprietary algorithms while the uCPE platform is OpenStack-based.

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Parekh said the roadmap also includes network functions in multi-cloud environments and Verizon's own cloud environment, but there's no timeline on when those would be available.

Verizon has an exclusive contract for offering Hitachi's ONEx WAN optimization. Frost & Sullivan's Roopa Honnachari, industry director, information and communications technologies, said from a service provider perspective Verizon's new WAN optimization solution was unique, but Silver Peak also offers WAN optimization as a service through its Unity Boost platform.

"People talk about using SD-WAN to do away with WAN optimization or acceleration because you have so much bandwidth, but we haven't seen that," Honnachari said. "Most customers want to keep some kind of WAN optimization in their WAN, and I think this really addresses that need."