Versa Networks partners with AWS on SD-WAN service

Versa Networks has met its match in the clouds by partnering with Amazon Web Services to offer SD-WAN to AWS partners.

Versa, which is a cloud-based SD-WAN vendor, is working with service provider and integration partners that have achieved AWS Networking Competency status and are AWS Partner Network (APN) members that are supporting AWS Direct Connect. The service is called Secure Software-Defined WAN.

Versa's APN operator alliances include Verizon, Comcast, CenturyLink and Zayo. Zayo is first out of the starter blocks with an SD-WAN service that is tailored for AWS.

"So from an SD-WAN perspective, connecting users and user experiences with Amazon is one of the most critical aspects because AWS is so popular," said Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Enabling companies to move workloads back and forth is critically important. Versa is partnering with service providers to try to make that the best user experience as possible for their customers."

Scott Raynovich, founder and chief analyst, Futurium, said in an email to FierceTelecom this morning that adding integration and extensions to public cloud operator services is going to be an important feature of all SD-WAN services going forward, and that the partnership with AWS is an important move by Versa to broaden its alliances.

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Atchison Frazer, worldwide head of marketing for Versa Networks, said AWS will start promoting the new SD-WAN service more heavily in January, and that he expects additional announcements with the APN partners.

"We have the opportunity to become a SD-WAN fabric for enterprise customers who are migrating their workloads more prominently to Amazon," Frazer said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "That's really the key point here, is that we have the ability to connect all of those nodes that customers are turning up so that they can use more compute as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, and services from the physical branch. Versa is uniquely capable of stitching together AWS cloud POPs because we have auto-scaling capabilities."

By provisioning the service across AWS using Versa, enterprises get the benefit of a service provider-like SD-WAN solution, which Frazer said could be dropped into any cloud. The AWS service is more of a direct threat to SD-WAN vendors that sell directly to enterprises.

Versa's Secure Cloud IP software platform was designed to enable easier enterprise-branch WAN connectivity. It can reach into customers' cloud environments to provide the advantages of Secure SD-WAN, including fully encrypted traffic via direct cloud access (DCA), and direct internet conduits and high-availability routing by using Amazon Transit Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). 

The cloud and branch network topology is based on an architecture that is scalable across thousands of applications. It also includes thousands of on-premises nodes that can automatically spin up SD-WAN tunnels for customers' SD-WAN virtual appliances that are deployed in their Amazon VPCs.

“SD-WAN is another way we’re leveraging our extensive fiber and MPLS backbone to better serve our customers,” said Tyler Coates, senior vice president of the Zayo Enterprise division, in a prepared statement. “As an extension of our WAN business, it makes network management easier and more cost-effective. SD-WAN uses automation and software to manage capacity and integrate different access technologies. Customers also benefit from the ability to connect to the AWS environment much more efficiently.”

Versa's architecture for AWS also includes monitoring, application-aware routing, application-aware traffic optimization and transport across MPLS, internet, LTE and DCA. It has the capability to use cloud-interconnect and gateway solutions for private, direct access to AWS.

"If you're just doing a naked cloud instance, you don't necessarily have visibility into the performance mechanisms that we provide with the SD-WAN fabric," Frazer said. "With Versa, you're getting the cost benefit and you're getting security. We drop in application-level security as well as next-gen firewall into the same piece of software that does the SD-WAN performance monitoring.

"I would call it a total cost of ownership advantage. It becomes much clearer now, because I have security and I have performance. I can reduce the number of devices I have on premise. Maybe I get three down to two or to one. And everything's being reported in a holistic manner through one console."