NEC partners with Infovista on SD-WAN for unified communications services

NEC Corporation of America has forged a partnership with Infovista that includes combining Infovista's SD-WAN with NEC's unified communications services.

The partnership, which includes an OEM agreement, pairs NEC's software-defined network based unified communications (UC-SDN) solution, which is part of its Smart Enterprise Suite, with Infovista's Ipanema SD-WAN platform.

"SD-WAN revolutionizes the way enterprise voice and UC applications are delivered over hybrid networks, as opposed to reliance on expensive private WAN links in the past," said Frost & Sullivan's Roopa Honnachari, industry director, information and communications technologies, in an email to FierceTelecom. "Infovista's Ipanema SD-WAN offers superior SD-WAN functionality along with deep application visibility and application quality of service that ensures superior performance of voice and UC applications to complement NEC's UC-SDN offering."

NEC's Liviu Pinchas, senior product manager, said that NEC has offered an software-defined networking solution for LAN, but didn't have a WAN solution, which is particularly important for its unified communications customers.

"We decided to add to our portfolio an SD WAN solution," said Pinchas. "We looked at developing it internally but since there are so many companies that have SD-WAN solutions we concluded it was better to partner with somebody that already has a mature solution."

RELATED: Infovista upgrades its Ipanema SD-WAN platform

One factor in picking Infovista's Ipanema SD-WAN solution was its Application Intelligence+ feature that was part of an upgrade in March. Application Intelligence+ can guarantee application performance regardless of whether the app is housed in the data center or in the cloud.

Application Intelligence+ allows Infovista to run deep packet inspection of the first packet sent by the app. Such factors as its domain name, transfer protocol, port number, destination domain name and others are compiled. They are sent to a cloud-based database that identifies the app and tells the platform precisely what resources are needed to meet QoE requirements set by the NEC and its customers.

"In general, a company with an SD-WAN solution treats all voice traffic like one big packet," Pinchas said. "So with this the level of granularity that is used to direct traffic, we actually can go lower to per session or the per call level so you can have different degrees of importance on different calls.

"This is done in conjunction with our UC systems. With our joint solution, we can tune the performance of the communications for each call based on the importance of that call."

Ricardo Belmar, senior director, global enterprise marketing at Infovista, said that unlike other SD-WAN vendors that move all of the applications sessions to find the best link, Ipanema can determine which link will be the best at a given time for a given user.

NEC is selling the physical and the virtual appliances that are manufactured by Infovista. Pinchas said NEC can offer a range of bandwidth options across the devices from 20 Mbps to 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps on the high-end in data centers.

"Beside the appliances there's orchestration software," Pinchas said. "There are two generations of orchestration software. One is from Infovista, which is hosted on premise, and there's a new version that is offered by subscription running in the cloud. Its managed by Infovista and the customer can subscribe to this cloud based solution. "

Pinchas said NEC has a lot of SMB customers that use its UC services. Those customers can use an "SD-WAN Orchestration Starter Pack" that Infovista developed for NEC.

"Its of course priced much lower as startup software," Pinchas said.  This way we can be very attractive for small businesses. We can make a good business justification for SD-WAN even for very small deployments, such as four sites."

NEC's SD-WAN solution is generally available in the US, Canada and South America with the EMEA region to follow.

Pinchas and Belmar said they both expect further collaboration between the two companies. Pinchas said that NEC was particularly interested in developing edge-computing solutions after announcing its hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) box earlier this year.