SD-WAN: The Great Network Enabler Is 'Just An Ingredient' In The Overall Solution

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QOS Consulting is an El Segundo, Calif.-based solution provider that has been selling SD-WAN integrated with its SIP and network security solutions for the past two years. SD-WAN is a great way to add recurring revenue for channel partners, but the technology is only part of the part of the overall IT solution, according to Frank Cittadino, CEO of QOS Consulting. 

It's an increasingly important part, too, as a network bolstered by SD-WAN technology is powering a slew of new use cases for customers that weren't possible before, Cittadino said.

"SD-WAN isn't an option for us as a partner; it's more of a requirement," he said.

[The Software-Defined Wave: CRN's 2017 SD-WAN Roundtable]

SD-WAN providers are OK with sticking to the sidelines. A panel of SD-WAN startups and established networking vendors agreed that the next-generation networking technology should be just a piece of the total solution that partners are bringing to the table for their end customers, the companies said during an SD-WAN roundtable held by CRN's parent company, The Channel Company.

Talari Networks, a 10-year old networking vendor that specializes in WAN management, is helping its channel partners build reliable, resilient and agile networks through software-defined technology. SD-WAN is only a piece of the technology that solution providers need in the background to solve networking dilemmas for their customers, said John Dickey, president, CTO and co-founder of San Jose, Calif.-based Talari Networks.

"I want to be an ingredient in [the overall solution]. I don't want to be dominant. I want to be the side of the dish, not the main course," he said.

This concept isn't foreign to many channel partners, especially MSPs who are used to "taking ingredients, packaging them together, and selling it as a service," said Kelly Ahuja, CEO of Versa Networks, a SD-WAN and SD-Security startup based in San Jose, California. 

According to Ahuja, the WAN is only the entry point for solution providers. The real opportunity for partners, he said, lies in powering branch office operations, such as connecting to public and private clouds and SaaS-based services.

"It's really about software-defining the branch, and software-defining that branch with network, security, and with all of the other services that might be happening at that site, including in the future IoT," Ahuja said. 

By providing SD-WAN, a networking "enabler" that can boost the entire IT partners are already providing, solution providers will shine because they'll be fulfilling their promise of adding value to their end customers, Talari's Dickey said. 

"We're trying to help [partners] be successful because we're trying to help their clients be successful," Dickey said. "I want to make the partner the hero. That's really the goal."

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