Managed SD-WAN services: A high-performance business opportunity

By Nav Chander, Senior Director of Service Provider Marketing, Silver Peak Systems

In 2017, service providers face a rapidly changing landscape in market trends, affecting managed services for wide area networks (WANs). Consequently, new software defined WAN (SD-WAN) alternatives are negatively impacting MPLS revenues. SD-WANs are also exhibiting a great deal of early adoption and growth potential. IDC predicts that by 2020, the SD-WAN market size will reach $6 billion, with a CAGR of 93% from 2016 to 2020, of which $2.3 billion is expected to be via managed SD-WAN services delivered by service providers.

Increasingly, enterprises are turning towards a managed SD-WAN service provider to deliver a turnkey SD-WAN solution and this blog provides some helpful guidelines for enterprises. This rapid shift in the market presents service providers with new revenue opportunities. To compete, service providers need to deliver flexible hybrid WAN managed services at lower total cost of ownership which a SD-WAN service platform can provide. SD-WAN services help service providers to increase profitability while accommodating evolving enterprise requirements for more agile and flexible WAN services, that include increased use of broadband, and increase use of hosted cloud services.

By deploying SD-WAN as a next-generation managed services platform, service providers can implement more intelligence and logic through software vs. hardware. This greatly increases flexibility and automation, as it is faster to reprogram network appliance software centrally than it is to procure and install hardware locally. An SD-WAN software abstraction management and control layer enables service providers to dynamically set up and manage all branch office Layer 3 WAN connections for enterprise clients with zero touch provisioning without requiring dedicated on premise teams of expensive CCIE staff.

This capability is very important to service providers, because it triggers considerable deployment and managed service advantages.

  • First, the intelligence can be distributed among the branch device, the service provider edge, and the cloud as it’s appropriate for the deployment and use case.
  • Second, a managed SD-WAN service enhances reliability and security of network traffic over internet broadband links, which allows service providers to route a greater percentage of their network traffic through lower cost WAN services such as public broadband.
  • Third, service providers can rapidly expand their geographic footprint out of region, creating new revenue opportunities without incurring significant CAPEX for CPE router infrastructure expansion.

Choosing the right SD-WAN vendor platform can greatly impact the breadth and profitability of the managed service offering that service providers can deliver.

The Silver Peak EdgeConnectSP SD-WAN solution, consists of Unity EdgeConnect zero-touch physical and virtual appliances and a multi-tenant orchestrator, Unity OrchestratorSP that streamlines service management for thousands of customers.

The Silver Peak solution includes advanced performance, analytics, visibility, security and control capabilities that enable service providers to rapidly deploy a high performance managed SD-WAN service as an overlay or hybrid solution, regardless of the existing underlay network infrastructure.

With the EdgeConnectSP SD-WAN solution, service providers can shift SLAs from network-based metrics to application-based metrics, which provides their customers a better sense of all hosted and outsourced application performance. This enables service providers to “right size” WAN branch solutions while enabling service providers to bring new, differentiated, managed SD-WAN services to market quickly and cost effectively to drive new revenue streams, expand market reach and deliver SLAs in and out-of-region and to new customer segments.

Silver Peak’s SD-WAN capabilities can help service providers differentiate their SD-WAN service by:

  • Augmenting MPLS services with path-conditioned broadband and 4G LTE options
  • Increasing revenue potential by offering additional value-added SD-WAN software services such as WAN optimization, analytics and optimization of SaaS connectivity
  • Improving customer “stickiness” to actively manage application performance and intelligence (both logic and analytics) of the WAN, regardless of underlying network infrastructure

In 2017, service providers will navigate and evaluate a ranges of SD-WAN technologies, selecting a solution that tightly aligns with their business objectives and requirements. The Silver Peak SD-WAN solution helps service providers retain existing customers and attract new ones who need SD-WAN benefits, resulting in increasing revenue potential from additional managed services such as on demand WAN Optimization.


(This article first appeared at Silver Peak’s blog)

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