SD-WAN Roundup: SimpleWAN Surprised VMware, Not Cisco, Bought VeloCloud

We sum up the impact of recent moves by SimpleWAN, VMware, Verizon, Windstream and Spectrum Enterprise.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

November 15, 2017

5 Min Read


James Anderson

When so many companies are promoting this shiny new product called “SD-WAN,” it can be difficult to determine how their offerings actually differ from each other.

Channel Partners interviewed SimpleWAN, a Phoenix-based company that is working to prove its unique position in the software-defined networking market. CEO Erik Knight spoke at the Tech+Connect Conference, hosted by the Alliance Partners last week, warning partners that SD-WAN is a marketing term that can confuse customers. For Knight, SD-WAN is a subcategory of software-defined networking and differs very much between what SimpleWAN and its competitors offer. Knight says his company’s approach does not use the “backhaul model” that is popular with SD-WAN providers.


SimpleWAN’s Erik Knight

“They’re scooping up the traffic on the local network, and they’re shipping it over some kind of tunnel across generally multiple connections, and then they’re getting access to it from a data center. We actually use it as a control module. The intelligence is in our data centers, but it’s telling our boxes how to perform in the world, and the boxes are feeding it back data and things like that,” Knight said.

Knight says his company’s SD-WAN play attempts to resemble MPLS and tries to avoid the added latency that comes with backhauling data to data centers.

“It introduces, we believe, more problems. All of SD-WAN is a good model, but we believe that adds a layer of complexity and a loss of reliability. Because at the end of the day, if the data center goes down … they’re done,” he said.

Brian Perdue, vice president of sales for SimpleWAN, adds that the company has a higher value proposition as a result of not charging for backhauling traffic.

“Customers are doubling their bandwidth requirement every 2-3 years because of IoT,” Perdue said. “At the end of the day, SD-WAN deployments are charging for that throughput. Five years from now, people might not be able to afford it.”

Knight founded SimpleWAN in 2014 after spinning it off from COMVOICE, a hosted VoIP company that Jive Communications acquired. SimpleWAN sells through wholesale and through six master agents. Knight tells Channel Partners that the company is focused on growing its indirect sales after launching its channel program a year ago.

The company’s ideal customer has between one and 50 employees and lacks an onsite IT team. Moreover, these clients rarely come to SimpleWAN asking for SD-WAN.

“They’re not saying, ‘Oh, how do I have SD-WAN?’ There’s another driver. ‘Hey, I need to turn up guest Wi-Fi. I need to get managed Wi-Fi. I need PCI compliance,'” Knight said.


The media frenzy surrounding VMware‘s purchase of SD-WAN provider VeloCloud has quieted since the announcement on Nov. 2.

Knight of rival SimpleWAN says he was surprised by the acquisition, considering that Cisco had invested millions of dollars into VeloCloud.

“So for Cisco to buy Viptela and then for VMware to buy VeloCloud — we were actually really shocked. We expected that Cisco was going to pony up and do that acquisition,” Knight said. “As a whole, I think they’re a great group over there. They’ve had some really good success. This is a new area for [VMware]. Just like any acquisition, I think there’s going to be some stumbling. But I think in the end the vision for it is: VMware needs the technology to connect their clients to their cloud.”

Star2Star, which recently teamed up with VeloCloud for network enhancements on its hosted unified communications platform, said in a blog that Cisco may …

… be taking a hit in the hybrid cloud race with the emergence of a direct competitor in VMware.

“What is clear about this acquisition is that the transition to a cloud-focused business model is still going strong, in light of other acquisitions such as Mitel-ShoreTel and Cisco-BroadSoft,” Casey O’Loughlin wrote for Star2Star. “The changes in the market are hitting fast and strong now in [the fourth quarter] as businesses are gearing up for 2018.”


Versa Networks has embedded voice and video codec support into its cloud IP platform. The move extends the company’s software-defined branch features to allow real-time assessment of user experience with voice and video. Versa says it can now assess and report the quality of voice and video sessions using a mean opinion score (MOS).

“The problem with most SD-WAN solutions is that they can only identify voice or video packets and abide by a policy defined by loss, latency, jitter and delay requirements as well as by circuit priority to move traffic in an optimal fashion,” the company wrote on Tuesday.

The company partnered with the Japan-based KDDI Corporation to bring a new “software-defined network” platform to 37 countries, including Japan, Australia, India, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Versa chief marketing officer Mark Weiner told Channel Partners that the KDDI partnership helps build managed services for SD-WAN and software-defined security.

“KDDI has deployed Versa’s cloud IP platform to enable digital and cloud transformation for its business customers leveraging a cloud-native network and security architecture,” Weiner said.

The deal with KDDI follows Versa’s partnership with China Global Telecom, another service provider launching a global SD-WAN offering.

Quick Hits
  • Windstream said in its third quarter report that SD-WAN accounted for 19 percent of its enterprise sales in the last quarter. Read Edward Gately’s write-up on Windstream’s progress.

  • Verizon Partner Solutions made an SD-WAN solution available to wholesale customers last week. The company launched an SD-WAN-for-government offering at the beginning of this month. Check out Craig Galbraith’s story on the latter.

  • Spectrum Enterprise on Tuesday said it will demonstrate its hybrid SD-WAN offering at the Metro Ethernet Forum and is beginning to start customer trials with the technology. The company’s goal is to “stitch together native Ethernet WANs and Internet-based SD-WAN connections” to give customers flexibility to modify or move away from legacy network services. Read Spectrum’s announcement.

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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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