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Buyer's Guide
Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions
June 2022
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Presales Solutions Consultant/Engineer at a comms service provider with 51-200 employees
Consultant
Top 20
Very user-friendly and nimble software platform solution
Pros and Cons
  • "Their dashboard is also a good point for us and the customer. The solution is very clean and easy."
  • "Another thing that should be improved in Versa are their firewall features."

What is our primary use case?

We are using this product and also implementing it for our clients. We manage everything for the customer. We use it here on our platform and also manage the solution for our customers for whom we install it.

Let's say a customer is on premises and he wants to move to the internet but wants to keep the interconnection between their sites. He doesn't want to remain embedded. We would propose Versa in this case.

Also, if a client asks us for more reporting, more analytics and more monitoring and our embedded solution can't do this as a single solution because it would be very heavy and expensive, we would propose Versa. The client finds the analytics and monitoring in Versa very easy and very clear.

What is most valuable?

In terms of the most valuable features of Versa, I should know because I have also used Cisco, Fortinet and VeloCloud at a previous company where I worked. I explain that between Versa and VeloCloud I find that Versa has more features over VeloCloud. I do think that you have less regarding the firewall features compared to other solutions, though.

Their dashboard is also a good point for us and the customer. The solution is very clean and easy, but it depends what the customer has and how we can integrate it with their current network.

Another thing is regarding the analytics. We have about 15 sites in Europe, the US and Asia. I do some administration for the analytic portal, and this side is very interesting for the customer because today Versa has an embedded solution and we don't have the visibility for all the sites they're using.

What needs improvement?

In terms of what could be improved, I would say that since we're using more and more 4G today, the product should have two slots for 4G and also have the equipment for giga ready. It should not have different equipment to have a giga bandwidth. For example, it should have 110 and 200, 810 and 800. It would be good if they had only one product that goes directly to the bandwidth for one gigabyte and not necessarily to have different products to do it. Of course if I compare it to only one gigabyte, the price also needs to be reduced.

Another thing that should be improved in Versa are their firewall features. You have their firewall license secure solution but if they could include more features regarding their firewall protection and data protection it would be good. This is because when we go to a customer who also wants a firewall they compare it to other products on the market that are doing more with the firewall. As you know, Fortinet is very strong in this point. If they could put more features on this side, they can be, maybe not equal, but improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

Our company has been using Versa FlexVNF for around five years with our customers. Our network is on the ISP here in France and our AVN solution is only based on this product. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. We haven't had any issues, and neither have the customers that already have it running for two or three years. They have stability on their end. The only stability issues are on the circuit and not on Versa's end. Sometimes the line is cut, so the customer will have an issue. But we don't have any issues with Versa.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, it doesn't matter if the company is large, medium, or small. We can use it for small and big companies - there is no limitation there. It is not always the company size that matters. When we go to a market segment and a big company, they may not know Versa at all. They may know VeloCloud better.

How are customer service and technical support?

I can say that I am satisfied with customer support but I'm not quite sure because it is my colleagues who manage this part of support. We have our technical support that manages Versa, the circuit, and all the vendors who are also on our platform.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the initial setup, I can't answer that because I am just from the sales side, I don't do the installations, my colleagues do it. What I see from the customers that have installed Versa is that the initial step on the starting configuration is very easy. A half hour or hour. My colleagues who use it here in the company manage it and they have a full version for the configuration.

The issue that is difficult for us is when a customer needs firewall features included and he already has a firewall in place that he asks us to replace and to install the features from Versa. It is very complicated for us because it means more time to install since we need to export all the other features that already have rules in the firewall and to put them in Versa. That takes time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Regarding the price, we can make do with its price today, but I am seeing from our competitors that this market is becoming very aggressive. We lost some projects because we didn't have any strategy to deal with the price. We think that when we discuss the quality of the product the price won't be an issue, so we do not propose it as "low-cost" for this reason.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Currently I propose Versa. That's the platform for my strategy. However, the market is not ready to propose a solution to a customer that's managed by an ISP. So, in the beginning they investigate VeloCloud, Cisco and Fortinet. But in the end they select Versa because it is small and easy for customers, and it has many features that are very interesting to the customers.

Today, when we look back, it was the right decision to choose Versa and our customers are very happy that we only propose this solution.

What other advice do I have?

We always propose only Versa solutions in our quotes for our customers when we have a new project. I only recommend Versa. VeloCloud was the first one to market and for customers that is very important. Customers ask me for a comparison between VeloCloud and Versa since VeloCloud was the first one on the market and he wants to be sure that if he goes with Versa it will not be a mistake.

For me it's not enough just to be first on the market. I know Versa, but I know it's not enough. VeloCloud solutions are more public for companies and buyers than Versa is.

These are the only two products that we validate that are in the regular network - Advantec and them.

On a scale of 1-10, where one is the worst and 10 is the best, I would rate Versa Flex an 8.

It is not a ten because it has a lot of features on the equipment and it is really heavy on the portal. It's not really friendly. Maybe they could do something different for users or administrators to have a friendlier portal.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
Malith Chandrasekara - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Enterprise Business at VSIS
Real User
Top 10
Quick to innovate with new features, but requires more security out of the box
Pros and Cons
  • "From my observations, Cisco has been rolling out new features every other day, so I would say their speed of innovation is one of the most valuable aspects for me."
  • "One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market."

What is our primary use case?

As a company, we are a Cisco Premier Partner and we work as a system integrator and reseller. As for myself, I currently work simultaneously with Cisco and Fortinet for SD-WAN solutions.

Because we're only an integrator and not an ISP-level company, we haven't engaged with that many SD-WAN projects, and our typical line of work involves using Cisco products in bank solutions, such as for branch connectivity.

What is most valuable?

From my observations, Cisco has been rolling out new features every other day, so I would say their speed of innovation is one of the most valuable aspects for me.

I would also point to their superior features when it comes to general connectivity, configuration, and reporting.

What needs improvement?

One of the major areas that Cisco can improve on with their SD-WAN offering is their security features. When compared with Fortinet, who have what they call their 'security pillars' (e.g. firewall and security features built-in to their SD-WAN solutions), Cisco generally comes up short. With Cisco, if you need a security component, you have to pay more to get it done. So if they could add more security features that come part and parcel with their existing solutions, then I think Cisco could be very aggressive in the market.

Essentially, they have to incorporate different security features on top of their SD-WAN box. At the end of the day, I should be able to give one single box to the customer which includes SD-WAN and all the necessary features such as security.

When it comes to IoT edges, they could possibly incorporate their SD-WAN features into the LAN side together with Cisco's DNA networking, just as Aruba is doing with their ESP solution. If Cisco could come up with a similar solution to that, then I think they will have the upper hand in the market compared to their competitors' brands. They have to come to a point where they can better integrate WAN and LAN into one single platform.

Regarding the data center sites, when we're talking about software-defined networking, Cisco has the SD-WAN segment, software-defined access for the LAN segment, and application-centric infrastructure for their data center segment, and they have to combine all three segments into one platform. Just like how the other guys are doing it. Again, if they can accomplish this, then technically they have a fair share in the market.

Otherwise, Cisco could also integrate more features on the cloud side of things, like with SD-WAN in the cloud, or SD-WAN in AWS, some of which I believe they have implemented already.

Beyond that, I can't say too much about what I'd like to see when it comes to new features because almost every day I've seen Cisco add more features to their SD-WAN and SD-LAN portfolios. At the rate they're going, it could be only a few months before they add the security features I've mentioned. So from my perspective, I think they're doing okay.

Finally, in terms of stability, there could be some improvement. In my experience with our current project, there have been some instances where stability has been an issue. But I can't speak for everyone here; other partners who have completed more projects may disagree and this is only my own observations so far.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Cisco SD-WAN for two to three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I can't say that Cisco SD-WAN is incredibly stable, especially since Cisco has acquired Viptela and they are now busy with trying to improve Viptela's features and tools. So in some situations, it has been my experience that Cisco's SD-WAN is solid but it does succumb to stability issues at times.

So far we have completed only one project with Cisco, while other one is still ongoing. With that experience, I can say some stability improvements are needed, but I don't know about the other partners who have completed ten or more projects, for example.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's good, because when the customer's application load or data traffic increases, I can easily scale out the same product to match the increase.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is good. When it comes to Cisco's TAC (Technical Assistance Center) and solutions support as a country in the Asian market, they are doing good. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Alongside Cisco, we also use Fortinet. If we have a firewall or edge/perimeter security or other security measures in place already, we can simply go with Cisco. This is because the interconnectivity, branch connectivity, configuration level, solidness, and other features of Cisco are already adequate and, in some cases, superior. So when it comes to the networking components alone, I prefer Cisco.

But if the customer is asking for networking plus the perimeter level security, then I have to look into products like Fortinet, because with their lower pricing and so on, Fortinet comes out on top. Fortinet is much cheaper than Cisco. And for configuration, Fortinet's interfaces are also very comfortable to use when it comes to complex configurations.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Cisco's pricing is not entirely satisfactory when you compare the SD-WAN solutions in Asian markets — like the South Asian market in Sri Lanka — because there are several competing brands including Fortinet and Citrix, who provide much the same product for a generally lower price. And when it comes to firewall vendors like Palo Alto and SonicWall, they're also selling here. It's the same with VMware, too; they have much the same features.

So when you do a comparative showdown among these giants, you can see that Cisco and their customers could benefit from adjustments in terms of pricing. Fortinet, for one, is much cheaper than Cisco currently.

What other advice do I have?

My overall advice is that if you already have your network security established, then Cisco SD-WAN is a good, solid solution for the rest of the networking components. However, if you require more of an all-in-one SD-WAN solution that incorporates security from the beginning, you might want to look elsewhere.

I would rate Cisco SD-WAN a seven out of ten. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: reseller
Sascha Bülow - PeerSpot reviewer
Technical Architect at Plusnet
Real User
Top 20
Tunnel-free and secure vector routing technology is its major USP, and as a partner, we get good support from them
Pros and Cons
  • "As compared to the other major vendors in the SD-WAN market, such as VeloCloud, Cisco, and others, the tunnel-free and secure vector routing technology is its major USP, which gives plenty of room to discuss with the customer why IPSec from 1998 is a bit outdated."
  • "The UI of the SSR conductor is the main part where improvements can be done. Today, for every configuration step, you have to do a series of clicks. What we are missing there are wizards. For example, I have two applications, and I want one application to be prioritized against the other. In such a case, a wizard for assigning policies to a service without configuring each step by hand would be very helpful. There should be an overhaul of the GUI of the conductor. The functionality they have got in the Mist portal should be baked into the conductor itself. It would be really great, but as we all know, that won't happen."

What is our primary use case?

We are a direct partner of formerly 128T, which is now Juniper. For Juniper, we are currently working on the correct partner status, which is missing due to the purchase of 128T.

As a German ISP, we use SSRs to produce SD-WAN deployments for our customers for plenty of different use cases, such as inter-location connectivity, over bandwidth bundling, and application SLA requirements where some applications get threaded differently against each other. So, it depends on the customer, but we are currently using it for all of the use cases for which you can use SSR.

What is most valuable?

As compared to the other major vendors in the SD-WAN market, such as VeloCloud, Cisco, and others, the tunnel-free and secure vector routing technology is its major USP, which gives plenty of room to discuss with the customer why IPSec from 1998 is a bit outdated.

What needs improvement?

The UI of the SSR conductor is the main part where improvements can be done. Today, for every configuration step, you have to do a series of clicks. What we are missing there are wizards. For example, I have two applications, and I want one application to be prioritized against the other. In such a case, a wizard for assigning policies to a service without configuring each step by hand would be very helpful. There should be an overhaul of the GUI of the conductor. The functionality they have got in the Mist portal should be baked into the conductor itself. It would be really great, but as we all know, that won't happen. 

Besides that, there are so many things we are discussing with the engineers and the product management of 128T or Juniper. I'm pretty sure that every feature that will come in the next half-year or three-quarters of a year would be influenced directly by us.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the Session Smart Router solution for about five years, which is way before it was bought by Juniper. So, we directly started with 128T.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is quite good for the General Available (GA) releases. We didn't have any problems. We also have some customers running the Limited Available (LA) versions because some features are still missing in the GA releases. The LA releases are obviously not as much tested as the GA releases. So, stability is sometimes an issue, but we are working on that currently.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We count our customers based on locations or sites. Our biggest customer has about 1,800 sites, and the next one has about 1,500 sites. Each site might have 200 to 500 users. Generally, performance-wise, a conductor can handle about 1,000 sites. Beyond that, it gets a bit hard.

How are customer service and support?

Because we are talking directly to engineers in the US, the support is usually the best you can possibly get. As a direct 128T partner, we don't count as a normal customer. So, for us, the support is perfect and fine, and we can talk to the engineers directly in Boston. Support is not a problem. I don't know about their normal technical support because we just don't really use it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't use any other solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

For us, it's pretty much straightforward because we have been working with it for so long. We attended all the classes that 128T provided. So, for us, it's pretty much straightforward, but for a customer who doesn't have experience with any SD-WAN solution, especially not with the 128T solution, it would be fairly complex.

In terms of its maintenance, as an ISP, we have operators who handle more or less traditional routers that we have in our network. They also got trained on this SSR solution, and they can handle these too. Obviously, if you add more routers to your network, you more or less would need more staff to handle them, but there is no specific need just because you are using SSR.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are currently renegotiating the offer for the licenses and the license bundle model. The license for an ISP has to be different from the license for an end customer. This is something we are currently renegotiating with Juniper, but, of course, the pricing for the licensing is always an issue when you want to get more customers.

Juniper has just introduced a three-tier license model based on just routing, more or less features on top, and the full feature set. Therefore, the prices for the different tiers of licenses differ from each other. For the top license, I'd rate it a three to five out of five. It depends on the amount of discount you got. A customer with 2,000 sites would get more discounts than a customer with three sites. For the limited functionality tier, I'd rate them a bit lower because they limit the functionality we need. So, we don't buy these licenses. For the limited functionality, in my personal opinion, they are a bit expensive.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we started monitoring the SD-WAN market, we checked the obvious participants there, such as VeloCloud, and we decided to use 128T as our main and only SD-WAN.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to anyone who wants to use this solution is to read the menu. Every customer who directly wants to administer and operate an SSR solution should obviously get in touch with a Juniper partner to get it set up right from the start of the project. That's because, with the configuration itself, there are so many things you have to keep in mind when moving on from MPLS or VPN to an SD-WAN solution. It isn't directly related to the SSR component, but it is related to switching over to an SD-WAN solution.

I would rate Juniper Session Smart Router an eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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SD-WAN Sr. Product Manager at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Easy to use features, good support, and has the ability to maintain a session when you lose an uplink
Pros and Cons
  • "It has good reporting and analytics, that most people can understand without too much difficulty."
  • "Security is an area that could use some work."

What is our primary use case?

It's a horizontal use case of replacing the WAN. Typically, they are replacing the MPLS.

They are also trying to save costs and reduce complexity.

What is most valuable?

Nuage Networks is easy to use.

It has good reporting and analytics, that most people can understand without too much difficulty. 

The features are what I believe to be one of its strengths. Cisco frequently has 800 features, but customers only use ten of them, and Nuage has fifty for example that can all be easily used.

One of the many benefits of Nuage Networks is VoIP. It will maintain a call session even if you lose an uplink.

What needs improvement?

Security is an area that could use some work. When compared to Versa, it has full Layer Seven security built-in, whereas Nuage is sticking to a stateful firewall model and allowing other vendors to do sassy, with them simply being the SD-WAN underlay of sassy. I believe they are a little behind in their thought process.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've worked with Nuage Networks for seven years, the last two as a product manager.

Nuage only has one version of SD-WAN.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Nuage Networks is a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not investigated scalability; however, I am aware that they have clients with thousands of sites, indicating that Nuage Networks is a scalable product.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is good. 

On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate them maybe a 3.5. I would say that there is some room for improvement there.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I am also familiar with Meraki SD-WAN.

It has a very enticing user interface. They've done a fantastic job with the interface, They have enhanced the appearance.

An interesting fact is that Meraki's offering isn't a true SD-WAN. A true SD-WAN has an SD-WAN controller, an orchestrator, and it doesn't have those things, but Nuage does.

One of the things that I believe most people don't ask and don't realize until they are in that situation is that if I have a VoIP call and I lose one of my uplinks with my Meraki, I will lose that VoIP call. With a true SD-WAN, you won't. It will failover and you will maintain that VoIP session. This is something that Cisco, and Meraki do not advertise, but if you ask their SE, they will tell you.

The VoIP is probably one of the larger issues, and instead of true SD-WAN, all they have are L3 VPNs. All they have done is put a wrapper around it, so you don't have to configure it. However, it is not true SD-WAN if there are one or more controllers and the overlay and underlay are separated. I believe that if people truly understand what SD-WAN is, they will be able to look beneath the surface and say, "That's not what that is."

Meraki is easy to set up. It's actually quite high on the setup, in my opinion. With the caveat that it is not truly SD-WAN.

It's a stable solution. I have no issues with the stability of Meraki SD-WAN.

Meraki is a scalable product.

The technical support is excellent.

Nuage is very competitive. Cisco has never tried to be a price leader since it launched. It's not one of the market forces that they try to be a price leader.

If they want a true, automated failover, I would suggest asking some pointed questions.

I would rate Meraki a seven out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy.

If we don't have to install circuits, we can have a new order ready in two weeks.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Nuage Networks is very, very competitive going up against other vendors such as  Meraki, Viptela, Velocloud, or Versa. I would say, from our cost perspective, they are extremely competitive.

What other advice do I have?

We sell this solution. I am the product manager for Nuage Networks.

Nuage does not sell directly to the public; instead, they sell through service providers.

One of the issues that people get hung up on is that when they look at the Gartner Magic Quadrant, but Gartner rates them in the lower-left only because they don't give up their numbers because they sell through service providers. Sometimes people dismiss that, without doing their homework.

I would recommend at least considering this solution, as an option.

It's a very good platform.

I would rate Nuage Networks a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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IT Manager / Project Coordinator at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 10Leaderboard
Integrates well with everything, technical support is very helpful, and it is all managed from a single pane of glass
Pros and Cons
  • "It's a cloud-based solution that integrates well with everything."
  • "I would like to see better integration with identity providers."

What is our primary use case?

It's a network device that is used for WAN optimization and security.

What is most valuable?

It's a cloud-based solution that integrates well with everything. They are the classic SaaS solution.

We don't need to have a static IP from our provider, which saves us money.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better integration with identity providers. Right now, they have Azure and they have Okta. 

For directory synchronization they use LDAP, and it would be better if they moved away from this. My understanding is that they are already working on removing LDAP completely and using web-based authentication for the VPN users and other users. This is not something that is critical for me. I just set up the main services in Azure and use that. This is okay because we don't have a lot of remote users, perhaps 10 or 20 at the maximum, with VPN access. This may change in the future.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are in the testing phase of this solution. I have been testing Cato Networks for one month.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

During the testing period, there were no outages. Everything was smooth and worked well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is absolutely scalable, which was the reason we decided to go with Cato Networks.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is excellent. Even during our testing phase, they were able to set up at least three hours to walk me through and answer my questions.

They were knowledgeable and I would rate them a five out of five.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward.

It's easy to set up and we just connect to their network.

As we are still in the testing phase, we have not implemented it yet. There will be some implementation, but it's pretty basic. There is no complex setup like you would have with Versa for example. For the most part, it's plug and play.

What about the implementation team?

There were some questions that I had to ask them, but for the most part, I set it up myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you compare with VeloCloud, the price is the same or even cheaper. Also, they include all of the security features, unlike VeloCloud.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We had evaluated others such as VeloCloud and vScaler. 

The advantage of Cato Networks is that they have integrated steps, such as SD-WAN plus Network Security, plus VCNA altogether, in one management pane of glass. It's one place to manage everything. 

With VeloCloud it's SD-WAN, and there is no security. You would still have to get a dedicated endpoint like a firewall if you want added protection then it would be harder to manage it centrally.

vScaler can be integrated, but then it drives the price up significantly. Also, it's not an ideal solution.

One of the advantages of Cato is that they provide a static IP from their cloud and assign it to us. This is a service that comes with an additional cost, but it's cheap compared to if I get it from my service provider. 

Now that the trial period is almost over, I have decided that I am going to go with Cato Networks.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is looking into Cato is to consider their environment. If they have a scenario where it is 80% cloud-based and 20% internal traffic, then Cato is a good choice. If on the other hand, they have internal applications with a data center then other solutions may make more sense. For us, since we are fully cloud-based, it is a better choice.

In summary, it is easy to implement and easy to manage. That said, there are always ways to improve.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) Solutions
June 2022
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