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Verizon, Viptela Join Forces For Channel-Friendly SD-WAN Service

Telecom provider Verizon and SD-WAN startup Viptela have partnered to create a new Verizon SD-WAN platform, powered by Viptela, for partners and enterprise customers.

Telecom giant Verizon is bolstering its hybrid networking capabilities. The carrier has partnered with software-defined-WAN startup Viptela and the two have developed a new SD-WAN platform and managed service for Verizon partners and enterprise customers.

The new SD-WAN Verizon service, powered by Viptela and announced Thursday, will allow enterprise customers and channel partners to use both private and public connections, such as MPLS, wireless LTE, and broadband for their applications.

SD-WAN is becoming more interesting to businesses because it allows different connections to be used based on the bandwidth requirements, geographic location, or even performance and reliability expectations of a latency-sensitive application. SD-WAN can save a business money if an application can be dynamically rerouted to a cheaper connection.

[Related: Here's Who Made Gartner's 2016 Global Network Services Magic Quadrant ]

Kingcom, a Portland, Ore.-based national Verizon platinum partner who exclusively sells Verizon products and services, just began selling SD-WAN solutions a few months ago. The provider is already seeing high interest from its own partners in selling these solutions, said Michael Wolfington, vice president of West partner sales for Kingcom.

"SD-WAN is a key strategic focus for us in 2016 and beyond. It's the next evolution of MPLS," Wolfington said. Kingcom is in the process of training its own channel partners to build awareness around these offerings.

According to Wolfington, the partnership between Verizon and Viptela shows that Verizon is focusing on heavily building out its hybrid WAN portfolio.

"Verizon is betting on [SD-WAN] and believes it will really be a game-changer for the next year," he said.

The SD-WAN service will give partners a centralized platform they can use to provision and customize specific services for their end customers. Partners can also choose to let Verizon manage these customers on the same platform, said Viraj Parekh, managing director of product innovation and managed services for Verizon.

"In addition to cost, what SD-WAN really offers is agility … over the traditional networking model with very fixed assets where you have to plan for changes or new applications for months, which becomes [time-consuming] and expensive," Parekh said.

Verizon is already seeing a great deal of interest from its channel partners for SD-WAN capabilities. The partnership will also give Viptela access to Verizon's large channel of partners, he said.


Via the terms of the agreement, Viptela also entered into an exclusive managed services arrangement with Verizon in the U.S. Through this agreement, both Verizon and Viptela will continually work on joint-development activities related to the SD-WAN platform, Parekh said.

Viptela, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that emerged from stealth mode in 2014, is arguably one of the most well-known SD-WAN players on the market today, according to industry analysts.

Prior to the partnership, Verizon had the opportunity to work with Viptela on a few customer use cases and was impressed with the maturity of its SD-WAN capabilities, Parekh said.

One use case involved a large healthcare customer going through a divestiture. The company needed to separate a piece of its network and associated applications.

"Typically, this would have involved many months of planning and then building a whole separate network out. But with Viptela, without planning anything out, we were able to deliver this segmentation in isolation for the customer within a matter of weekends," he said.

For carriers like Verizon, hybrid WAN capabilities should be table stakes at this point, but Verizon is ahead of the pack, Kingcom's Wolfington said.

"Verizon feels like they have at least a year before the competition catches up to the products and services that [Verizon] has implemented," he said.

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