While there are plenty of providers of SD-WAN solutions out there today, some suppliers have positioned themselves to provide complementary or alternative solutions.
For example, Glue Networks launched in 2011 to provide orchestration and automation for complex networking, with a focus on Cisco Systems (News - Alert) Inc.’s iWAN architecture. Mike Haugh, director of technical marketing at Glue Networks, says that while Cisco is strong in routing, the configuration and management part can be really difficult (see related story “Customers & Suppliers: SD-WAN Solutions and Considerations” in this supplement). So Glue Networks built an orchestration engine, for which its partner Cisco sometimes brings it in to supply for complex and/or multivendor customer implementations.
Through the end of 2016 Glue Networks focused on orchestrating the Cisco solution, but at the end of 2015 it launched Gluware 2.0, which addresses the fact that every enterprise is unique. Available as a cloud- or on-premises-based solution, Gluware Control can be used with multiple vendors’ SD-WAN solutions (although as of November Glue Networks had yet to onboard a second vendor), and can orchestrate fireballs and load balancers. The company also has something called Gluware Lab, through which developers and engineers can do feature customization and onboarding.
Controller are also part of many providers’ SD-WAN solutions, including Cisco’s according to Haugh, but SD-WAN is an overlay network and thus requires a new management layer. So now enterprises have to manage both existing and overlay networks, he says, and they have to manage more transport potentially from an array of communications services providers. Glue Networks wants to be the controller for different vendors’ endpoints, providing a single pane of glass that can expose as many features of each vendors’ solution as the customer wants.
“We’re the Switzerland,” says Haugh of Glue Networks, an ONUG member. “We want to remain agnostic.”
Meanwhile, Edgewater Networks (News - Alert) Inc. says that SD-WAN isn’t necessarily the best way to address customers’ pain points in the wide area network. The company says its solutions can do a lot of similar things like measure bandwidth availability, latency, packet loss, and do WAN bonding. SD-WAN does offer benefits in terms of network redundancy and security, says Chris Kolstad, senior director of product management, “but it’s going to cost a lot of money for them to do that” because of the cost of endpoints.
Because SD-WAN today requires some pretty hefty hardware, Kolstad says, Edgewater Networks is looking at what it can offer to help its customers avoid that additional expense. At the same time, he says, the company is working with SD-WAN suppliers to make sure its products can run additional virtual network functions on them and apply VNF management to the intelligent edge as a whole.
In the article that follows, Sorrell Slaymaker, product evangelist at 128 Technology, explains why he believes overlays like SD-WAN are not the answer.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi