The acronym for software-defined networking, “SD-WAN” was displayed in many parts at “Channel Partners Conference and Expo”. It is obvious to vendors that partners are demanding SD-WAN, and no wonder they are responding. Many companies compete in SD-WAN, as per a Comcast® exec, and each one is now in a race to distinguish its product from that of its competitor.
At the expo, many vendors shared details concerning what makes them unique, in addition to where they feel the channel and market are trending.
Comcast® is Eying New Partners
The channel leaders at Comcast Business® indicate that a fresh demographic of partners might just adopt their solution as soon as managed service providers and agents converge. Comcast Business’s VP of Indirect Channels, Craig Schlagbaum said IT Partners such as those of VMware and Cisco might select Comcast® for SD-WAN.
According to Schlagbaum, the key difference is Comcast® has its own network. The research organization, Heavy Reading’s recent study of the channel has found that 52% of partners sell a telecom carrier-based SD-WAN. VMware and Cisco’s respective VeloCloud and Viptela services fall into the OTT category, which Craig Schlagbaum said will not cut it for a few partners.
He said, “Sooner or later they’re going to have to decide if this offering would be equally attractive to their clients, because sooner or later they’re going to be involved with the network somehow, some way. Their customer has to have network for them to manage it.”
Comcast® also offers it outside of its own network. The senior director of the SD-WAN product management, Jody Hagemann said several customers are using a combination of Comcast’s SD-WAN with LTE backup from the wireless provider, Verizon®.
Comcast® has recruited new personnel, devoted solely to SD-WAN. Jody Hagemann stated the ability to have solution architects available onsite to explore the WAN architecture of a customer is huge. Hagemann said a chance exists for the carrier which gives customers data they have sorely lacked regarding their network.
She said, “customers have not touched their WAN infrastructure in 10-15 years. So now SD-WAN comes in, and the big pain point is not so much selling it and selling the value of it; it is now implementation.”
The executives of Comcast Business® have set off on an education and marketing road show in several key cities, where they will speak about the solution to local partners. Most significantly, Comcast® has raised compensations for partners which sell SD-WAN.