Which Providers and Vendors offer Managed SD WAN Services?
What began as a rudimentary technology has morphed into a robust platform featuring dynamic architectures and expanded functionality, including advanced routing and security capabilities.
With this software defined expansion has come inherent challenges. Many companies that take a Do-It-Yourself approach to planning, designing, implementing and overseeing all of the components of their SD WAN solution quickly realise that these tasks can be more of a challenge than they initially anticipated which generates a requirement for managed service elements. This is especially true when migrating from traditional WAN edge MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) where managed services are used frequently however, an agile network remains at the forefront of software-defined WAN benefits regardless of whether managed network services are procured vs DIY.
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Third-party vendors have started selling another type of SD WAN solution: managed SD WAN services. The take up is especially high in organisations that lack the technical expertise to keep these solutions efficient in-house, outsourcing the day-to-day management and network operations of an SD WAN solution can prove to be a valuable investment.
We're taking a look at the top 10 providers that have been used within the managed SD WAN space, exploring their offerings and approach. Read on to find the one that fits your unique HQ and branch locations across cloud-based applications, uptime, WAN optimisation & acceleration, security, cost savings and so forth.
The following vendors also offer managed or co-managed elements of their SD WAN network services. In addition to the vendor capability, readers will also need to consider connectivity services.
1. Silver Peak
Silver Peak's SD WAN solution is designed to help companies succeed in today's multi-cloud era. These managed services revolve around three primary service offerings. Let's take a look at each one in greater detail.
Available on physical or virtual appliances, this business-first networking model is a welcome change from basic and router-specific SD WAN models.
The solution's business intent overlays allow users to establish a virtual WAN for every kind of traffic, allowing business policies to dictate application security, routing and overall performance rather than technology restraints taking centre stage. The benefits of this approach include:
- Automated traffic handling
- Real-time adaptation to network changes
- No impact from WAN transport brownouts or blackouts
- Constant compliance
- Consistent, available application performance
- High-quality voice and video services
- Unity Orchestrator
This solution provides centralised SD WAN orchestration. Known as the brains of the Unity EdgeConnect platform, the Orchestrator allows organisations to quickly and centrally define their security policies. With this tool, you can assign business intent policies that keep your WAN applications secure and within your control.
In the event that your organisation needs optimised performance for certain applications, you can subscribe to Unity Boost. This optional service improves the performance of your latency-sensitive applications while also reducing the amount of repetitive data transmitted.
Aryaka's fully-managed SD WAN services are an ideal MPLS alternative. Users can deploy the solution to either augment or replace their existing MPLS for quicker cloud and SaaS connectivity, combined with a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
Deploying in as fast as one hour, the solution enhances productivity and application performance via a private, software-defined, layer-2 network. Once you're up and running, you'll stay that way, with 99.9% uptime, guaranteed throughput and real-time data visibility.
Aryaka's managed services also provide multi-cloud application access, so you can move between IaaS, SaaS and PaaS platforms with ease. You can also achieve connectivity to your other familiar platforms, from AWS and Azure to Office 365 and Salesforce.com.
Masergy's managed SD WAN service offering is the only one that features a pure-play, software-defined network, combining it with consistent SLAs and reliable performance.
Featuring one central portal, the solution is designed to optimise business security and operations. With 100% packet delivery, flexible and customisable access options, and 24/7 monitoring support, you never have to guess about the state of your network. Users can choose from among three security bundles when choosing their Masergy solution. These include:
- Unified threat management
- Threat monitoring and response
- Managed security services
How does this vendor take such a powerful approach to integrated security?
Masergy partners with Fortinet, a leading WAN Edge Device provider, to embed edge devices into their solutions.
Fortinet®, a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Devices, and embedded their edge devices into our comprehensive solutions. Combined with integrated firewalls and their tiered security offerings, the result is an end-to-end management system that delivers.
Acquired by Cisco in 2017, Viptela was already an industry leader thanks to its experience against software-driven, cloud-first WAN architecture. This made it a natural fit for Cisco's Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA). With Viptela, Cisco was able to expand its on-premise routing platform, offering a cloud-centric approach that makes it easy for businesses to deploy and manage WAN solutions.
The single management dashboard allows simple and secure WAN configuration and management that makes it easy to maintain your policy across thousands of sites. In addition, you'll also receive template-based, zero-touch provisioning for all of your enterprise locations.
Service providers access and manage your solution through Cisco's vManage console. When you're ready to connect your disparate data centers, campuses, and branches, you can do so easily by establishing an SD WAN overlay fabric.
Meraki is another facet of Cisco's managed SD WAN platform. Acquired by Cisco in 2012, the company has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of the brand's top-performing lines. While both Viptela and Meraki provide superior SD WAN solutions, there are two key considerations you should keep in mind to determine which one is right for you.
- End-to-End Segmentation
To date, Meraki doesn't provide end-to-end segmentation support. While you can create local segments at each site, they will remain local and cannot be honoured across sites. On the other hand, Viptela's architecture enables strong segmentation, as it was built from the ground up.
If your business prioritises segmentation, Viptela wins out in this category.
- Simple Management
One way that Meraki shines? Its end-to-end solution can be handled by a small team of IT support personnel with easy to deploy and configure customer premises hardware.
From your centralised dashboard, you'll have real-time visibility into all of your network devices. You can even initiate changes via a dedicated GUI. If you've been using Meraki's end-to-end MX Security Appliance platform, you're only a few clicks away from turning it into a dynamic SD WAN solution.
If you want to reel back your solution to its primary features, Meraki is the way to go. Compared to Viptela, there are far fewer configuration customisations and tweaks available. You'll get only what your business needs and no features that it doesn't.
CATO Networks' claim to fame is that it's the world's first SASE platform. Standing for Secure Access Service Edge, this is a new networking engineering category that Gartner first introduced in 2019.
Now, the manufacturer is offering a fully-converged global SD WAN delivered as a cloud-based service.
CATO's secure, global SD WAN managed services platform gives users access to all of the core benefits of SD WAN, along with secure and direct internet access. In addition, they'll also receive SLA-backed connectivity and the ability to extend the WAN to mobile users and data centres in the cloud.
As a result, users don't have to worry about multiple point products or the resources it would drain to maintain them.
Velocloud's SD WAN platform takes the busy professional and makes network setup as quick and seamless as possible. Designed to increase bandwidth, provide direct access to cloud applications and facilitate simple services insertion, it's an industry mainstay with a new name.
Now, Velocloud is part of VMware, rebranded as VMware SD WAN by VeloCloud. It allows users to access wired or wireless internet, with or without a traditional MPLS. The result? Enterprise-grade WAN that includes more bandwidth, investment protection, robust access to the cloud, and impressive network visibility.
There are three different solution packages to choose from, including:
- Internet-only SD WAN (Cloud)
- Hybrid SD WAN (Cloud)
- Hybrid SD WAN (On-premises)
You can also use the solution to seamlessly insert services in both the cloud and at the office. These include security, optimisation, and collaboration.
Citrix allows its service providers to deliver managed SD WAN-as-a-Service offerings to their clients. This program centres on Citrix's NetScaler SD WAN solution, which facilitates real-time and interactive applications with SD WAN functionality. In addition, the customised solution is easily tailored to meet clients' individual needs, allowing them to build a program that suits their requirements.
Depending on the environment, the Citrix NetScaler solution can be delivered on a variety of Citrix hardware appliances. It's also available as a Virtual Network Function, or VNF.
Providers who manage multiple Citrix SD WAN customers can leverage the line's SD WAN Orchestrator to organise and facilitate oversight. Designated as a Citrix Cloud Service, this program allows them visibility into all of their customers from a single vantage point. From there, they can extend flexible, role-based authorisations and access controls at both the tenant and provider level. The program also allows them to integrate new customers in a remote and secure fashion without dealing with common access issues and other concerns.
A managed SD WAN solution from Expereo is custom-fit to meet your unique business scenario. End-to-end services provided include sourcing, design, installation, testing, around-the-clock customer support, and more. As your business grows, the company will allow you to scale up your bandwidth at an affordable rate.
You can also set up broadband or DIA services anywhere in the world to facilitate SD WAN operations. This is a feature that a majority of other SD WAN vendors don't provide. In addition, Expereo also offers an optional network overlay solution, allowing you to overlay your existing networks and hand-select each component of your custom SD WAN solution, including your preferred Internet access connectivity.
Expereo's comprehensive consultation and initial design discussions set the stage for a tailor-made platform. From there, you'll select the specific components you want to be included in your solution, with experts on hand to advise you at every step - experienced vendors will configure the approved setup for each site, integrating it into the overall design. Expereo can help you migrate from legacy MPLS networks, coordinate all required third parties, and other critical steps to get you up and running.
Globalgig provides a vendor-agnostic solution that you can individualise for your enterprise. Unlike most of its competitors, Globalgig's solution isn't tied to a specific technology, platform or provider. That means you're free to select the exact components that best fit your needs.
To make sure the setup is successful, experts will analyse your existing application flows, network architecture, and business policies to better understand your current operating environment. Globalgig managed service options will create a highly-visible SD WAN solution that uses flow-based tools for optimal network management and monitoring. You'll have a full, end-to-end view of your equipment, connectivity layers, application flow and more. The best part? This visibility is provided at a layer that's even higher than the SD WAN Orchestrator. This means you'll have real-time network intelligence and can take proactive management and troubleshooting steps as required. Thanks to the company's extensive global network of carriers and suppliers, clients can choose from a variety of components to find the one that fits their budget. This expansive partnership lowers the overall cost of service delivery, along with associated operating expenses and vendor management services.
Deciding to eschew a DIY approach to your SD WAN solution and allowing a vendor to provide managed services instead is a smart move for many businesses.
This way, you can reap all of the benefits of SD WAN services, including increased bandwidths, lower costs, centralised branch management, and full network visibility, without the hassle and headache of managing the technical details yourself.
Yet, deciding which provider to partner with can be a challenge, especially with so many creating offerings to keep pace in this competitive marketplace.
Still unsure which one is the right fit for your organisation? Let us help.
We're constantly reviewing software vendors across the telecoms buying sphere, including those providing SD WAN, MPLS, UCAAS, Data Centre and Security services. When you sign up for a free account, you'll receive access to our database of pre-vetted providers and vendors. We've done the legwork so you don't have to, so go ahead and start exploring today.
About Robert Sturt
Robert is the Managing Director of Netify, a Network Union brand. With experience working across WAN services since 1998, Robert brings a wealth of experience based on hard won knowledge. A writer for Techtarget.com and an experienced business strategist, Robert can bring a tonne of value to your project.