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Master Agent WTG Declares SD-WAN The Next Big Opportunity For Partners

Master agent WTG says that SD-WAN will drive convergence between telecom and IT, and is the next hot sell for the channel community.

SD-WAN is going to be the ultimate driver in the convergence between the telecom and IT markets, and solution providers should have this important technology on their radars, according to master agent WTG.

Many businesses today are relying on the cloud and have distributed IT environments. As SD-WAN offerings grow in popularity, so does the opportunity for WTG channel partners, Julie Dzubay, the company's vice president of sales operations, told CRN during the XChange Solution Provider conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

"SD-WAN is really starting to meet the needs of more business, instead of just the elite, large companies, so the opportunity for the channel is huge," Dzubay said.

[Related: Connectivity Kickstarts Recurring Revenue For VARs ]

The Comtel Group, a VAR turned telecommunications and IT consulting firm that partners with WTG, already is deploying SD-WAN solutions, leveraging technology from SD-WAN startups, as well as through its partnerships with carriers that are also touting SD-WAN offerings for its customer base. The provider works with its customers to evaluate whether the business needs a traditional WAN, or point-to-point network, a hybrid WAN, or a SD-WAN-only architecture.

While SD-WAN deployments aren't yet widespread among business, The Comtel Group believes that SD-WAN should be a part of every conversation with customers today, said Samuel Singer, senior analyst and department manager for the Irvine, Calif.-based provider.

"Frankly, after evaluating customers, we are more often moving away from traditional [WANs] and moving more toward hybrid and pure SD-WAN deployments," Singer said.

SD-WAN can help customers connect to cloud environments or to multiple locations while saving money on private connections, such as MPLS, and give them more bandwidth, reliability, and a consistent network across disparate locations, he said.

As SD-WAN gains traction, partners -- especially VARs and MSPs -- are going to embrace this technology because instead of having the burden of maintaining hardware, they'll be managing the network, Dzubay said.

"SD-WAN is the gateway. The work that VARs are doing with hardware and on customer premise today, they are going to be able to start doing that work within the network instead of within boxes," she said. "It's going to turn their attitude to, 'This is the way we do business.'"

Singer agrees that SD-WAN solutions will free MSPs from some of network management burdens. An SD-WAN solution will also give partners recurring monthly revenue, rather than a one-time payout for a hardware sell, he said.


"Over the long run, it's less work for more money," Singer said.

For partners that aren't selling SD-WAN today, or for those that don't understand the technology yet, WTG wants to give them a "first glimpse" at how the technology can be a great complement to their existing portfolio, while adding a new recurring revenue stream to their businesses, Dzubay said.

In the past nine months, interest in SD-WAN has taken off. As a result, WTG's Learning Campus, its training and partner development program, now includes SD-WAN topics, as well as provider-specific SD-WAN information so that partners can distinguish between each provider's "flavor" of SD-WAN, Dzubay said. Partners can either consume information at their own pace through Learning Campus, or tune into live, weekly webinars on different topics.

Many carriers are offering SD-WAN today, usually through partnerships with SD-WAN startups such as VeloCloud or Versa Networks. WTG partners with several SD-WAN providers, as well as providers that are currently developing SD-WAN offerings, she said.

"Our portfolio is already packed, and will be even more chock-full of SD-WAN offerings by the end of this year," Dzubay added.

Partners that aren't looking into offering SD-WAN today could be missing out on opportunities now, as well as future business with their customers, said Aaron Brown, The Comptel Group's vice president.

"If you're not the one introducing your customer to SD-WAN today, someone else will very soon."

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