How Netify can identify the top 10 SD WAN companies?

With Netify free research, your company is positioned to create your own specific top 10 list of SD WAN companies against high level requirements.

The Netfiy platform is designed specifically to align the right customers to the right SD WAN companies. With a free Netify account, your business is positioned to submit high level requirements via an interactive form which triggers Netify to produce a comparison report within 24-48 hours against your specific requirements.

In phase 2 of Netify (currently under development), we will be offering direct access to perform your own SD WAN provider comparison searches via username and password login.

Selecting SD WAN Companies

Which elements does Netify consider when comparing SD WAN companies?

SD WAN architecture

There is an initial decision within every organisation regarding which Software-Defined WAN solution architecture is a best fit vs requirements. The typical SD WAN deployment is delivered across three solution areas:

  • Vendor only

An example of a pure vendor play is Meraki where the connectivity is not bundled with the capability. When deploying this kind of architecture, the customer must understand the need to manage multiple billing and service elements. There is extreme flexibility in this approach since your WAN is not tied to the technology leaving your business to procure network connectivity as required. In the UK, especially, we have tendency to procure managed services from the large telecoms companies making migration to new providers a difficult experience.

  • Vendor and network connectivity

The architecture where vendor services are procured via the service provider aligns to how MPLS VPN services are typically procured. In this design, via service providers or Value Added Resellers, the provider backbone is paired with whichever vendors are within portfolio.

  • Vendor with their own network backbone

There are certain vendor companies that are building their own private backbone connectivity with PoPs in the majority of Global metro areas. The theory is that your traffic is sent via a local ISP connection using IPSec SD WAN VPN to the local vendor PoP meaning traffic transiting International locations is kept on a private MPLS network with a QoS enabled backbone.

What are key SD WAN benefits?

The transition to SD WAN is normally made from technologies such as MPLS where end to end QoS (Quality of Service) is a known quantity. When migrating services to an SD WAN company, there is a need to understand how the properties of latency and jitter will be impacted using the Internet. In some instances, vendors offer support for hybrid connectivity meaning MPLS or VPLS could be the circuit of choice for selected HQ/branch sites.

Understanding how any prospective SD WAN company deals with traffic is necessary during the selection process. The features of Software networking solutions are typically:

Application path selection - the ability to sense when a preferable link is available is one of key tenants of SD WAN value. If the network becomes congested or encounters issues, software-WAN technology reacts by selecting an alternative path based on configured policies. An example use case is where traffic for cloud-based applications which are not deemed as important (.e.g Youtube) increases - SD WAN is able to make use of a less critical link for this traffic destination. Various metrics are in play such as packet loss, latency, jitter, MOS, PESQ and hard-down. Cloud path selection operates in a similar way to mission-critical applications and path selection, cloud applications are often routed via different paths by steering the cloud service of interest to the path/circuit which offers the best properties.

Granular QoS - one of the concerns for IT teams migrating away from MPLS VPN services is the loss of end to end application prioritisation via Quality of Service. Using the Internet does mean traffic cannot be privatised end to end but the positive aspect is improved granular control of how applications are treated overall in respect of technologies such as the afore mentioned path selection. SD WAN moves QoS forward by being able to sense issues such as congestion, excess latency and packet loss.

WAN Optimisation - optimising traffic is not a new networking concept, the ability to select where to optimise per application or source/destination IP traffic at the click of a button is one of the core tenants of Software-WAN solutions. Select from TCP optimisation, de-duplication of packets and caching.

Bandwidth session based load balancing - making use of extra bandwidth across multiple circuits with intelligent path selection. An example could be a small branch site with Broadband and 4G/5G connectivity. With SD WAN load balancing, the small branch could balance their application traffic vs preferred connection type, perhaps priority cloud-based services.

Statistics - with no insights into network performance, IT teams face a huge challenge to make decisions on bandwidth infrastructure upgrades and QoS settings. The reporting functionality of any Software-WAN capability is granular in-line with the ability to understand application traffic across security and QoS.

Management - the typical management capability revolves around GUI (Graphical User Interface) style portal access. The complexity of managing your SD WAN service varies between each offering with some solutions requiring more expertise than others.

Security - Next-Generation Firewall Security is now one of the major solution selling points across SD WAN solutions. When conducting comparison of SD WAN companies, IT teams are often faced with vendors offering built-in Next Generation Security or using a recommended 3rd party to compliment the Software WAN solution.

Orchestration - Service Orchestrator manages overall project lifecycle including fulfilment of services, traffic monitoring, reporting analytics, security, and policy delivery/management. Good orchestration results in an agile network delivery to meet the demands of all HQ and branch offices.

Zero-Touch Deployment - where businesses require fast, uncomplicated delivery of network connectivity. In general terms, ZTP is the enabler to simplified delivery as no prior interaction with hardware is required.

WAN Edge, On Premises, Cloud and NFV - SD WAN edge is either based on physical hardware or Virtual CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) which is often Cloud based. The edge forms the basis of your connection in respect of the VPN, security policy enforcement and WAN optimisation.

Cloud applications access - Cloud services such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon (AWS).

Who are the top 10 SD WAN companies for your Enterprise?

For the purpose of this article, we’ve selected a list of 10 SD WAN companies from the Netify database in table format.

 Technology  Product name Aryaka  Versa Meraki  Viptela  Silver Peak
Year launched Year of launch 2009 2019 2015 2012 2014
SD WAN architecture Edge, Gateway, NFV 25 Global PoP locations Edge based Edge based Edge based Edge based
Gartner Magic Quadrant Status Visionaries Visionaries Challengers Challengers Leaders
Form factor Hardware, Virtual or White Box Physical Physical Physical / Cloud Physical / Cloud / Virtual Physical / Cloud / Virtual
Controller location Hosted or On-Prem Cloud Cloud Cloud Cloud or On Prem Cloud or On Prem
Site disconnection from controller Edge becomes disconnected Routed via alternative site or 2nd PoP Continues to run but will not learn No policy updates or new sites Operations continue. No changes can be made.
Firewall Basic, Stateful, Next Generation with IDS, IPS Basic, advanced via partners Advanced Basic, Advanced Basic on Viptela, advanced using other hardware Basic, advanced via partners
WAN optimisation App acceleration, TCP optimisation, caching, deduplication, compression Yes No Limited Yes (add-on to Cisco hardware; not available on vEdge Yes; add on
Traffic handling Session based, link based, packet based Packet based Session based, packet based is possible Session based Session based Packet based
Cloud path selection Measure application performance making SaaS / Hosted app decisions Partneredwith AWS & Azure with manual route routing for others Limited, uses loss & delay to determine the best path No Limited using BFD to equal their vQoE score SaaS optimisation to select optimal WAN egress point
Fail to wire Device still passes traffic Yes No No Yes (Cisco hardware) Yes
3G/4G / 5G Wireless Cellular No Yes (SIM card on all devices) MX67C or MX68CW only SIM card slot on certain models No
WAN circuits Max# of circuits 2 2 wired+1 3G/4G 2 wired+1 wireless backup Yes, selected devices 4 to 8
Max capacity Max amount of traffic for largest device 300Mbps 2Gbps 1Gbps >1Gbps 10Gbps
Licensing model How the provider licences SD WAN Duplex Duplex Aggregate Duplex Duplex
Differentiators Unique features Global core network Simple site activation and management with mobile app, Next Gen Firewall Single pane of glass, Wi-Fi, Switching & Security cameras Viptela can be installed on Cisco routers, supports bespoke requirements Legacy WAN optimisation, Adaptive FEC

 

Technology Product name CATO CloudGenix Oracle / Talari Citrix Velocloud
Year launched Year of launch 2016 2013 2007 2013 2012
SD WAN architecture Edge, Gateway, NFV 40+ Global POPs Edge based Edge based Edge based 100+ Global gateways
Gartner Magic Quadrant Status Not ranked Visionaries Niche players Challengers Leaders
Form factor Hardware, Virtual or White Box Physical / Cloud / Virtual Physical / Cloud / Virtual Physical / Cloud / Virtual Physical / Cloud / Virtual Physical / Cloud / Virtual
Controller location Hosted or On-Prem Cloud, Distributed across PoPs Cloud On Premise On Premise Cloud
Site disconnection from controller Edge becomes disconnected Edge connect to backup PoP No policy updates or new sites after 72 hours No central policy updates or new sites Established tunnels will continue to run No policy updates or new sites
Firewall Basic, Stateful, Next Generation with IDS, IPS Advanced Basic, advanced via Partners Basic, advanced via Partners Basic, advanced via Partners Basic, advanced via Partners
WAN optimisation App acceleration, TCP optimisation, caching, deduplication, compression Limited TCP optimisation No Add on Selected devices No
Traffic handling Session based, link based, packet based Packet based Session based Packet based Packet based Packet based
Cloud path selection Measure application performance making SaaS / Hosted app decisions Cato backbone with egress at optimal point Measures application performance None Citrix offers path selection at 7 PoP locations 100+ shared gateways
Fail to wire Device still passes traffic No Yes Yes Yes No
3G/4G Wireless Cellular No No No Yes, 210SE has integrated cellular Limited via USB
WAN circuits Max# of circuits 3 Internet, 1 Private 4 to 6 4 to 8 8 Various capabilities
Max capacity Max amount of traffic for largest device 1Gbps 5Gbps 5Gbps Up to 12Gbps 5Gbps
Licensing model Aggregate throughput Duplex Duplex  Duplex  Aggregate throughput Aggregate throughput
Differentiators Unique features Global core network, next Gen Firewall Layer 7 to track apps WAN optimisation at no extra cost, per packet measurements  One device for WAN optimisation, SD WAN & Citrix SaaS Gateway optimisation for Cloud & SaaS apps, some devices act as a WAP

FURTHER READING

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