Cloud-Managed, Software-Defined Infrastructure key to scaling SD-WAN and SD-Security


According to the Avant Communications 2019 Cloud Channel Survey, conducted by Edge Strategies, having next generation cloud services in the solution providers’ portfolio seem to enable them to sell more data and voice services. The top four services that Avant’s Channel Partners expect to sell in two years are Data Networks (39%), UCaaS (67%), SD-WAN (61%) and Security-as-a-Service (45%) – with 5G and Managed IOT emerging as areas to watch for in the future.

The intersection of cloud, SD-WAN and SD-Security among high growth solution providers, gives great context to the release of Versa Titan by Versa Networks. Versa Titan is a cloud-managed SD-WAN branch and security service designed for market-maker VARs, managed service providers and mid-market end-client enterprises.

The entire legacy architecture of what solution providers have to implement in the branch today needs to evolve to a simpler methodology, which is the main problem that Versa Titan solves for the channel. Versa Titan automates the tools and abilities channel partners need to simplify the network, scale WAN deployments and ease customer operations, and do so at a much lower cost and faster time to market.

Since its founding, Versa obviously placed two big strategic bets: One was that security was going to be needed for the WAN site-to-site and site-to-cloud construct as organizations connect that site directly to the Internet; and two that creating a multi-tenant, NFV platform for a go-to-market strategy with service providers would pay off in the long run.

Versa Titan leverages off of both these bets by providing SD-WAN and software-defined management tools for visibility into security flaws and vulnerabilities, application behavior, network performance and bandwidth utilization in an automated fashion so solution providers control the intelligence, data and analytics required to be positioned as the trusted advisor for IT solutions.

Versa technology has traditionally been distinguished by offering better visibility and contextual awareness to remote and branch conditions for enterprise customers, given that deeper visibility and control is what they say they need. In order to access that caliber of visibility and control today requires an even larger stack of appliances, service chains, software licenses, monitoring consoles and maintenance support contracts. Versa’s intelligence is contextual, which most SD-WAN vendors can’t do, in the sense that Versa is policy-based, it’s full end-to-end visibility, and Versa takes into account a range of factors including WAN users, application behavior, user experience, devices, traffic types, and many others.

With our new Versa Titan cloud service, Versa is still providing the full Secure Cloud IP software stack, but packaging it as a managed and cloud-based offering that’s more accessible to channel partners, which means that Versa Titan meets the needs of mid-market enterprises without sufficient internal IT resources and removes the barriers of integration by decreasing the complexity, cost and footprint of legacy networking services.

A key driver for SD-WAN is to enable application-level visibility and a fast ramp to multiple clouds via a direct internet breakout at the branch. With security being a top-of-mind issue for any deployment, SD WAN solutions should have security functions embedded in the core architecture rather than bolted on. In a newly published IDC Technology Spotlight research brief , IDC has found that enterprises are looking to consolidate other elements in their branch infrastructure that are centrally managed. Examples of these virtual network functions (VNFs) include: routing; SD-WAN; security; application-specific optimization for voice, video or other business-critical applications; and integrated Wi-Fi and LTE.

IDC believes that trend is clear: Organizations are looking for platforms that simplify the deployment and ongoing management of all functions in remote and branch offices.

An IDC survey conducted in 2018 found that 40% of enterprises around the world have deployed initial SD-WAN offerings, and 95% of enterprise WAN decision makers plan to invest in SD-WAN within the next two years. Meanwhile, as network challenges persist, particularly for securing distributed applications and executing cloud migration strategies, enterprises are already looking beyond initial SD-WAN offerings to the next wave of technology that reduces the complexity and cost of deployment and management.

The deployment models for enterprises vary vastly depending upon how critical the network is to the business as well as the current and future state of available talent for architecting, designing, deploying and operating the WAN:
• Large global enterprises that view networks as a core part of their digital strategy and have sophisticated internal IT organizations with deep engineering and operations capabilities typically opt to select a DIY model using multiple best-of-breed components for their larger corporate offices.
• Many enterprises with smaller IT organizations that do not have an abundance of talent and expertise opt for an outsourced approach through a fully managed service provided by systems integrators (SIs), communication service providers (SPs) or managed SPs.
• A large percentage of mid-market enterprises have little or no IT staff in-house. While their businesses are dependent on the network and securing their infrastructure, they lack the resources and skills to execute in-house.

Versa Titan is a new cloud-managed SD-Branch platform that empowers managed SPs, VARs, and SIs to centrally manage mass-market enterprise WANs and branch offices. The platform allows midmarket enterprises to access the full functionality of Versa’s Secure Cloud IP suite of services such as routing, SD-WAN, security, and analytics, along with an intuitive user portal, an integrated support portal, and a mobile application for management.