Masergy SD-WAN Service Uses Routers


By: Michael Vizard

There are multiple ways of going about building a software-defined wide area network that don't always involve a dedicated appliance -- in fact, why not use all those routers you have lying around? Masergy this week announced SD-WAN Go, a service that makes use of a management software it developed to provide SD-WAN functionality on top of routers and built-in firewall software from Fortinet.

Paul Ruelas, director of product management for Masergy, says the Masergy-managed SD-WAN service manages application routing and path control across both MPLS and public Internet connections in a way that allows IT organizations to optimally transfer different classes of network traffic. That approach provides visibility into, for example, where voice and video traffic is being sent, says Ruelas.

The backend of the networking services provided by Masergy are delivered via a relationship the company has with Nokia. Masergy also provides a higher-end SD-WAN managed service, dubbed SD-WAN Pro, based on SD-WAN appliances from Silver Peak that support more simultaneous connections. But Ruelas says there are a lot of customers that want to be able to layer SD-WAN functionality on top of existing routers because that approach doesn't require an additional piece of hardware.

"They don't want to have dual boxes," says Ruelas.

As a managed service Ruelas says the Masergy approach eliminates the need to allocate capital budget to acquire networking equipment. That approach is especially attractive to organizations that don't have a lot of internal IT expertise, says Ruelas.

Ruelas says Masergy hasn't ruled out providing similar capabilities around other routers and firewalls. But Ruelas say the Fortinet approach is more cost effective because it doesn’t absolutely require existing customers to upgrade their routers and firewalls. Networking vendors such as Cisco and Juniper Networks clearly have ambitions to embed more SD-WAN capabilities in next-generation routers. But Ruelas says they typically require customers to replace existing routers.

Providers of SD-WAN appliances have been making the case to replace routers with hybrid SD-WAN appliances that can be employed to reduce WAN costs by enabling more efficient use of MPLS and public Internet connections to transfer traffic between remote offices, datacenters, and the public cloud. It's not clear to what degree next-generation routers might subsume SD-WAN appliances. In fact, the battle is at much of the heart of a wave of consolidation in the networking space. But the one thing that is clear is that the SD-WAN concept in one form or another is now a standard element of any networking strategy in the enterprise.

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