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SD-WAN Roundup: InSpeed Takes Different Path, Teneo Talks Talari

And we hear from Riverbed's channel chief about 2019.

James Anderson

December 14, 2018

7 Min Read
SDN

Ed Basart hasn’t worked for a company he didn’t found in a long time.

The ShoreTel co-founder and now InSpeed Networks co-founder chuckles as he describes the entrepreneurial pattern that led him into the SD-WAN industry after multiple decades of work.

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InSpeed Networks’ Ed Basart

“Lucky for me, I haven’t had to apply for a job for a very long time,” Basart told Channel Partners. “I don’t think anybody would ever want to hire me.”

That’s because Basart throughout his career has repeatedly founded companies in order to address trends he noticed while at his previous employer. The latest goal — this time for InSpeed — began as making commodity broadband work for voice customers, and that was just the start.

Basart now serves as chief strategist for the Mountain View, California-based InSpeed, which prides itself on having efficient, flexible and easily implemented SD-WAN capabilities. Basart relates those characteristics to InSpeed’s belief that quality, not quantity, is the solution to customer’s problems.

“We violate the primary dogma of networking, which is, ‘If you have a problem, buy more bandwidth,'” he said. “And that’s what every single vendor does, and SD-WAN is really a disguised version of that. They tell you to buy a second connection, which is more bandwidth.”

SD-WAN vendors often tout the ability to aggregate multiple WAN links as their best characteristic. But Basart says this usually results in over-provisioning bandwidth and incurring more costs.

And adding a second link isn’t the most joyous option for customers in the first place.

We recently compiled a list of 20 top SD-WAN providers offering products and services via channel partners.

“The last thing the channel would do is say, ‘I think you should change ISPs’ or ‘You should add a second connection,'” Basart said. “It was like saying, ‘I think you have an appointment for a root canal.'”

He had initially bought into the second-connection strategy when he started InSpeed. But Basart realized as the company developed that the strategy might not be necessary if it optimized the connectivity. InSpeed filed a patent for Dynamic Bandwidth Control, the real-time measurement of throughput and adjustment of the connection’s rate limit.

This approach, Basart says, is a big differentiator.

“The idea of ‘if it doesn’t fit, buy more bandwidth’ is so ingrained in the mind of every single person who’s ever worked at Cisco or Juniper, that to say, ‘No, no, no. You actually have enough bandwidth. We just make it work right by getting rid of buffer bloat and adapting the load to the network conditions, and voila, we can delivery quality,’ is so weird,” he said.

The willingness to work with a single connection is one of the reasons Basart and InSpeed don’t shy away from the topic of MPLS replacement. Basart says some resellers present inSpeed as an alternative to …

… MPLS.

“Bring it on. Whatever you’ve got we should run on until proven otherwise,” he said.

Basart participated in an SD-WAN panel at our latest conference that contrasted InSpeed with four other “pure-play” SD-WAN vendors. One of the overarching differences is the “plug-n-play” flexibility of InSpeed, where the company boasts of being enough able to insert its platform into most systems with only minor adjustments.

Basart says other platforms may technically be more flexible, but cost an exorbitant amount of human labor.

“In a way, if you’re really smart you could configure Versa — for example — to do anything you want,” he said. “If you’ve got somebody that knows it, it’s probably more flexible, but it’s a different kind of flexibility. It’s painstakingly set up by a human, and we try to avoid that step.”

Basart says InSpeed carries on ShoreTel’s goal of an easily deployed platform.

“What I believe is that we should change the entire model of how people get internet services. It should be largely something you just buy and you’re done with,” he said.

The idea for InSpeed came during the middle years of ShoreTel, which Basart co-founded in 1996. His support team informed him of a rash of customer complaints. The platform wasn’t running everywhere as ShoreTel had promised.

“It turns out the problem was networking,” said Basart.

Network management didn’t fix the issue, nor could popular SD-WAN products of the time ensure quality of service for voice and video. So Basart set out to tackle the obstacle the UCaaS industry had uncovered.

“I went, ‘Oh that’s an idea!’ and off I went,” he said.

Teneo Chimes In on Talari

Oracle’s purchase of Talari Networks may be the biggest SD-WAN news this year. The transaction will place Talari within Oracle’s global communications unit. Talari Vice President of Sales George Just told us last month that his company will not be subsumed by its purchaser.

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Teneo’s Marc Sollars

Teneo, a “specialist integrator” that began partnering with Talari in 2011, commented on the acquisition. Teneo Chief Technology Officer Marc Sollars called the deal a great fit for Oracle’s efforts in cloud infrastructure and its communications unit.

“They need easy connectivity to the cloud, and they need to provide reliability and resilience to their customers,” Sollars said.

Sollars echoed George Just’s comments that Oracle does not plan on changing Talari’s business model.

Sollars says Teneo has witnessed the SD-WAN industry transform over the course of its seven-year partnership with Talari. The terminology has changed from names like hybrid networking and WAN virtualization to now SD-WAN and WAN edge.

Teneo also partners with Riverbed, Silver Peak, VeloCloud, Cisco-Viptela. Sollars says there’s no clear-cut leader, as each vendor takes a different approach to the technology.

Routing, voice and video quality, and cloud are just a few of …

… the specializations.

“You’re not comparing apples to oranges or apples to bananas,” Sollars said. “They’re all apples. They’re just different types of apples, one sweet, one sour, one a bit soft.”

The Big Benefit

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HTG 360’s Chris Ichelson

HTG 360 CEO Chris Ichelson shared his observations of SD-WAN sales. He says that his company, which doubles as a managed security vendor and an MSP, has given customers much needed up-time.

“They’re just not seeing outages,” Ichelson said. “They’re not being impacted by service interruption, and I think that’s the beautiful magic of SD-WAN.”

Ichelson’s other observation is that SD-WAN has not eliminated MPLS, and that is a different perspective that InSpeed’s aforementioned approach of not needing to aggregate multiple WAN links.

“I’m seeing most customers are leveraging a hybrid MPLS and an SD-WAN box coupled with some sort of other internet connection,” he said.

Riverbed

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Riverbed’s Bridget Bisnette

Bridget Bisnette, Riverbed‘s senior vice president of global partners and commercial sales, offered three predictions for 2019.

First, she says that customers undergoing digital transformation will place a high value on platforms that monitor customer experience. Second, highly demanded yet scare talent will create fierce competition between channel partners “to acquire valuable human capital.”

Lastly, Bisnette predicted that the talent shortage will contribute to further consolidation in the channel.

“Larger channel businesses will begin to acquire smaller practices where top talent may reside. While poaching is common practice among the channel, it will include vendors competing for the same shrinking talent pool and ultimately lead to major consolidation,” she said. “In the long run, and beginning in 2019, we will see fewer larger partner organizations with a greater number of customers.”

Quick Hits

  • Security provider WatchGuard Technologies joined some of its rivals in offering SD-WAN capabilities within its platform. The new operating system of its platform has dynamic path selection. Check out the company’s full announcement.

  • Infovista teamed up with the distributor Westcon-Comstor. Infovista said the agreement completes the roll-out of its 2 Tier channel strategy. Read the press release about the partnership.

  • Cato Networks added intelligent last mile management to its SD-WAN platform. Go to Cato’s website for details.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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