Verizon taps VMware for SD-WAN boost

Verizon teamed with VMware to expand its portfolio of managed SD-WAN offerings, as adoption of the technology continues to grow.

VMware’s SD-WAN offering is part of its broader secure access service edge (SASE) portfolio and includes three key components: VMware Orchestrator, VMware Gateways and VMware Edge. The Orchestrator offers centralized policy, monitoring, reporting and analytics, while the gateways are points of presence (PoPs) which enable edge devices to connect for optimized latency. VMware Edge are devices Verizon can deploy and program at a customer site to facilitate SD-WAN application routing.

The partnership with VMware comes as Verizon works to build up its managed security capabilities as more enterprises seek to meet the needs of remote workers. Dell’Oro Group recently noted the SD-WAN market grew 45% in Q3 2021 and tipped the overall SASE-related technology market to grow more than 30% to nearly $4 billion for the full year 2021. It named Cisco as the top vendor for the quarter, followed by Fortinet and VMware.

In February 2021, Verizon teamed with Cisco to add a trio of new SD-WAN offerings to its portfolio. In the middle of last year, it also tapped Versa Networks and Zscaler to launch a SASE product.

“These last two years, we’ve seen massive adoption of managed SD-WAN transformation of the WAN edge” Massimo Peselli, SVP of Global Enterprise at Verizon Business, said in a statement. “This new VMware managed service solution increases optionality for customers seeking centralized intelligence and efficiencies at the WAN edge.”

RELATED: Verizon jumps into SASE with multi-vendor play

VMware launched its SASE portfolio in late 2020, combining its SD-WAN capabilities with additional cloud-based security functions and zero trust network access.

During a media briefing ahead of the Verizon announcement, VMware SVP and GM for service provider and edge Sanjay Uppal said SASE is “one of the fastest growing areas in enterprise networking.” He added “CSPs have a critical role to play here” noting they tend to be “for us the biggest channel to sell into the enterprise.”

VMware VP of Product Abe Ankumah noted the company has been working to build out the platform’s features over the past six months. Specifically, he said it has added a secure web gateway and data loss prevention functions in its cloud hosted PoPs. It has also expanded its footprint of global PoPs “to make the service increasingly more globally accessible,” he said, and continues to invest in secure access and zero trust network access for work from anywhere applications.

The fact that VMware now has its foot in the door at Verizon with SD-WAN could open avenues for the operator to eventually adopt its entire SASE solution. U.K. operator BT made a similar move, launching VMware’s SD-WAN solution in late 2020 before upgrading to offer its entire SASE portfolio as a global managed service last month.