The Wave of Reality

After a successful exit with one of the top SD-WAN companies some have asked why I joined Versa Networks.

History has shown us that industry disruptions often occur in waves.  The first SD-WAN wave of infancy was made up of a number of pure-play startups (including Versa) who entered and helped form the market.

The second wave could be referred to as the wave of insanity. The market exploded to nearly 80 vendors many of which were jumping in to “pivot” some or all of their business to SD-WAN. There were quite a few others who simply put an SD-WAN “sticker” on their product, website, or collateral so they could claim that they hadn’t missed the SD-WAN wave.

We’re now in the midst of the third wave of SD-WAN.  This is the wave of reality where Enterprises, Service Providers, and even vendors are recognizing that SD-WAN cannot just be a feature, a sticker, or a bolt-on capability.  Many vendors have gone back to the drawing board, attempted technology acquisitions, been acquired, or simply given up. There are even Enterprises and Service Providers who have been burned by scalability, security, and integration challenges which have stalled or completely halted implementations.

Three Enterprise SD-WAN deployment models have developed over these three waves.  One approach is the do-it-yourself (DIY) implementation with or without a partner, a second is to leverage the strength and expertise of a Service Provider or Managed Service Provider to deploy a solution, and a third is via the cloud.

These implementations manifest themselves in several ways including on-premises, hosted, cloud-delivered, or a combination of these.  Versa supports all of these deployment models and implementation methods today.

When SD-WAN originally came on the scene many businesses were drawn to SD-WAN because of the cost savings associated with leveraging both MPLS and Broadband Internet.  Some pure-play SD-WAN vendors also brought benefits of increased application reliability with technology like link congestion avoidance via packet steering (sub-second is essential), packet replication, and forward error correction (FEC).  These solutions also gave customers the option to extend their Enterprise WAN footprint to the front door step of cloud and SaaS solutions.

These and many more technologies and capabilities are considered to be table stakes when it comes to full-featured SD-WAN.

As customers began to move more sites onto production SD-WAN, they began to realize that these capabilities were important, but they almost always still required a separate security instantiation in addition to their SD-WAN implementation.  The security solution would often appear in the form of a second software stack, a VNF, or worse, a separate appliance altogether.  This also necessitated a separate management interface for configuration, monitoring, and changes. Many also found that they were unable to part with their router as they still relied on advanced routing capabilities.

These Enterprises were, in fact, now saddled with three devices (SD-WAN, security, and router) instead of the two they had prior to SD-WAN.

If a vendor read the tea leaves when they began architecting an SD-WAN solution, they would have taken a unique approach to their architecture, design, and implementation.  Instead of chasing solely after a shiny object called SD-WAN, they would take a long term visionary architectural approach which would begin with the integration of comprehensive security, scalable advanced routing, full-featured SD-WAN, genuine multi-tenancy, and sophisticated analytics as the foundation.  This architectural approach would be based on the same principles that were used to build the Internet which is made up of millions of networks and trillions of end-points.

As the leader in Secure SD-WAN, Versa is the company who did just that by starting, architecting, and building its solution using this architectural approach. Enterprises and Service Providers are standardizing on Versa Secure SD-WAN to deliver a comprehensive software-integrated WAN edge with complete integrated security, full-featured SD-WAN, advanced scalable routing, genuine multi-tenancy, and sophisticated analytics.  Versa is in the unique position to continue the growth, execution, and visionary leadership for the Software-Defined Enterprise.

I joined Versa because the founders, leaders, architects, and engineers at Versa had the vision to develop the most comprehensive architecture that addresses the future network transformation demands of the world’s largest Enterprises and Service Providers.

Last year Versa announced several proof-points of this incredible momentum including 200,000+ software licenses sold, 1,000+ new customers globally, 100+ Service Provider partners, and the introduction of the cloud-delivered Versa Titan service.

Last year was exceptional and I am even more excited about what lies ahead for Versa Networks.