CenturyLink Bundles Network, Management, SD-WAN Platform In New Hybrid SD-WAN Service

CenturyLink Tuesday unveiled its Managed Hybrid SD-WAN, a set of packaged WAN offerings that consolidates disparate network services with CenturyLink's SD-WAN platform and managed services.

CenturyLink's Managed Hybrid SD-WAN lets businesses take advantage of their existing investments, such as MPLS, while injecting these network connections with next-generation network capabilities, according to Troy Trenchard, vice president of product management for CenturyLink. The offering is available through CenturyLink Alliance program partners.

Bundling SD-WAN instead of offering it as a stand-alone overlay service is a good idea for end customers and, by extension, partners, said Shane Stark, director of vendor and channel relations for Clive, Iowa-based Carrier Access, a CenturyLink Premier partner.

[Related: Level 3 Launches SD-WAN Service For Partners, Business Customers]

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Carrier Access has many end customers using MPLS networks today, so offering SD-WAN that works with their existing network architecture means they won't have to make any drastic changes, he said.

"This is just another way to sell SD-WAN to current CenturyLink clients that might have MPLS. They can keep their MPLS and add in another broadband or fiber connection, and they won't have to change their whole network or have any potential interruption," Stark said. "I think it’s a good idea."

CenturyLink Managed Hybrid SD-WAN gives customers and partners a complete "as-a-service" hybrid SD-WAN offering because it includes CenturyLink's SD-WAN platform, powered by Versa Networks, with transport -- MPLS or broadband Internet -- and management for a bundled price, Trenchard told CRN.

"This is a great option for customers that are interested in a hybrid WAN approach and want the entire WAN to be supported by a single service provider," he said.

CenturyLink's Managed Hybrid SD-WAN joins the Monroe, La.-based provider's existing SD-WAN portfolio of services, which includes a stand-alone managed SD-WAN service -- CenturyLink SD-WAN -- that was rolled out in 2016. That SD-WAN service only includes the SD-WAN platform and management, Trenchard said.

"The [CenturyLink SD-WAN] is a good option for customers that want to bring and manage their own transport or plan to deploy SD-WAN in a configuration other than hybrid," he explained.

CenturyLink's full portfolio of managed security services, which includes security log monitoring and response services, can be integrated with the hybrid SD-WAN services, CenturyLink said.