5 Things You Need To Know About How The SD-WAN Market Is Changing

SD-WAN Growth Shows No Sign Of Slowing

Drew Lydecker, president and co-founder of AVANT – a distributor and channel sales enablement company -- said he has doubled the size of his Chicago workforce in anticipation of the coming SD-WAN boom that is heralded, in part, by Oracle’s acquisition of Talari.

“SD-WAN is just one of the massive disruption technologies that are taking place in IT today,” he told CRN. “I think that’s why we often go and tell people, this is the golden era of the trusted adviser. What I mean by that is, if you’re in IT right now, if you’re on an IT staff, if you’re in a large company, you’re looking to make changes, to do things better, and disruption is all around you. Everywhere you turn is disruption.”

Avant partnered with the San Jose, Calif.-based Talari in January 2017 to drive SD-WAN adoption and sales in the channel, using its own network of channel agents. AVANT is the first and only master agent distributing Talari services. In less than two years, AVANT’s channel of hundreds of Trusted Advisors has grown to be among the largest Talari channel partner network in the world, the company said.

“These are technologies that can fundamentally change how a company is perceived both internally and externally,” he said. “As we become more and more of an API economy, technologies that are going to make applications dance, they’re going to accelerate faster than anybody can possibly imagine. The only constant right now, is the rate of change. It’s getting faster and faster.”

Here’s an edited version of CRN’s interview with Lydecker about the SD-WAN market’s future.

What does it mean to the SD-WAN market now that Oracle has now stepped in?

It just validates what we’re out there preaching, day in and day out. Talari was a disruptor. That’s a fact. Oracle saw that, but also saw the potential to it.

What I saw and what I believe is going to take place is, we’re going to have a company like Talari, with an industry stalwart that is going to help fund and expand the growth of this technology and we’re going to be a part of it. We’re out there educating the trusted advisor community, the VAR community, the MSP community on the power of this technology. For Oracle to now be the backer of Talari, just is going to set it on fire. I believe they’ll give them the resources they need, the people they need, and just help expand this rocket ship we were already on.

Why do you think SD-WAN is still such a hot technology? What is driving that?

Fifty percent of Wide Area Networking technology today is going to the cloud. That means it’s not going to any of your locations. It’s going to somebody else’s location who is in charge of that particular workload or application. SD-WAN gives you the ability to control that, to prioritize that, to do things you’d never be able to do with just standard routers. And so to me, if you look at Cisco’s acquisition of Viptela, if you look at VMware getting into this, and now Oracle, the cloud is really pushing all of this. I think Oracle was smart to pick off somebody who can enable their cloud services even more. They have a tremendous customer base. It’s very well known. Very successful company. Anything they can do to give their cloud experience an edge is smart. Talari is going to do just that.

What has been your experience with how quickly the market has embraced SD-WAN, and how are you responding to the demand?

Our SD-WAN business is one of the fastest growing sections of our business, hands down. It is accelerating almost as fast as anything we have. We represent all the industry leaders in this space. We’ve built an entire practice around it. We’ve got an entire engineering staff around it. We’ve built technology to figure out what is the right fit, because not all of them are the same. This isn’t a commodity-based technology at all. They’re all very different. So we’ve developed a whole practice around it. We have virtually doubled the size of the company in the last 12 months, just to get ready for the demand of this technology. So we’re ready for it. We predicted it. This just validates it.

Who is going to be the next big player, after Oracle, to jump into SD-WAN?

I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft does. To me, Microsoft is continuing to move to the cloud and they’re one of the companies pushing the applications and the workload to leave traditional data centers and move into their cloud. If there are tools out there, that are going to accelerate that experience, I think they’re going to get involved. I think anybody that is building as-a-service applications, as-a-service products.

I definitely see another big cloud company, Microsoft, or Google, definitely thinking about getting into this. You can never count out Amazon. You can’t count out Google, and you can count in Microsoft. Those are all companies building applications that need performance enhancements and the SD-WAN movement is doing just that.

If the big names are going after this technology, who do you think they are going to target? Which company will be the next Talari?

I think you’ve got a lot of different types of companies. You have the providers that are doing layer two, where they have their own backbone. Different than a device business. You have the Cato (Networks)’s out of Israel, who are growing very fast. You’ve got the Aryakas of the world, who are very much market leaders in that layer 2. You’ve got companies like Masergy, which are coming at it from a different approach as well. You’ve got companies like CloudGenix, which is a standalone company as well. It’s tough to say. The market is still in its infancy. There are a lot of little players out there, so I think it’s a wide-open space.