Versa Networks Aims To Boost Value Prop With Key Enhancement To SD-WAN Offering

Versa Networks says partners can take advantage of a more powerful value proposition now that it has solved a key SD-WAN bugbear and set itself up to compete in that red-hot market against Cisco Systems and VMware's soon-to-be-acquired VeloCloud unit.

"[Partners] can go in with a message saying we can make sure your workforce productivity and communications are not being impacted as a result of network connectivity problems," said Robert McBride, Versa product marketing chief.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Versa Tuesday rolled out an addition to its Versa Cloud IP platform that allows for the real-time assessment of voice and video sessions based on the quality and behavior of actual SD-WAN circuits through Mean Opinion Score-based traffic engineering and reporting for unified communications services.

[Related: Partners: VMware's VeloCloud Acquisition Could Put Cisco In 'Panic Mode']

The addition allows Versa Secure SD-WAN to be bundled with unified communications offerings with the embedded ability to set policies, gather performance data, and analyze the quality of voice and video.

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Partners, McBride said, "can provide a secure, software-defined WAN solution to their customers that also has the ability to optimize unified communications services across it, allowing for them to provide extra value beyond just connectivity, but into application and user-experience-oriented connectivity with security."

"As things are changing across the WAN in general, there is a need to change how the WAN is being architected and delivered," McBride said. "You start looking at application-level use cases and this ends up putting a very prominent service right there embedded inside the SD-WAN solution to make sure it's getting the service and quality that's needed."

Versa launched its new unified communications services as IT industry titans move into the rapidly growing SD-WAN space.

Earlier this month, virtualization powerhouse VMware said it would acquire SD-WAN provider VeloCloud Networks and integrate that company's offerings into its NSX software-defined networking offering. VMware's move followed Cisco's acquisition earlier this year of SD-WAN start-up Viptela.

The acquisitions are an indication of the heat being generated by the SD-WAN market, which seeks to connect large enterprise networks using software rather than proprietary hardware.

Chris Chirico, COO of West Conshohocken, Pa.-based Versa partner VergX, said partners now have a bigger opportunity to take Versa deep into customer accounts and are on solid footing to compete with Cisco and VMware.

"Now [partners will] be able to sell into the enterprise and say, 'Look, if you're getting high-quality voice from us, what if I went into the network layer, or even your application layer, and said let me give you higher-quality unified communications?'" Chirico said. "Oh, by the way, I have a product portfolio that can simplify the network and includes next-gen firewall and unified threat management services.' Not only is it a value-add from the service provider level, but you're able to get stickier with the customer, simplify the WAN, add more value and hopefully get a whole lot more mindshare."