Patrick Oborn: Tell us a little bit about the ION platform and the Spirit Wan networks, MPLS, LTE all of these things into one hybrid WAN fabric?
Patrick Wade: ION, instant-on network, is based on x86 commodity hardware. We run our software on top of that and then through that software we combine all the network transport you give us into an underlying network infrastructure. We build an application fabric over that through our software; this allows us to steer applications on an individual path based on the end-user’s experience. We can also direct end-users around pain points in the network, that application fabric will fundamentally heal itself in the event we see disruption on the network in front of us.
Patrick Oborn: On the cloud acceleration standpoint it’s challenging to accelerate cloud applications and make them better for users unless you physically have installed hardware in the same zones or in the same physical facilities as the cloud providers themselves have. Talk to us about your installations like AWS, Azure, Citrix, and Google.
Patrick Wade: The key differentiation that we see in the market is the need to control SAS and cloud-based applications without violating the principles of a SAS environment. Going back to your point, this is without putting infrastructure and node into the SAS, whether it’s Office 365 or SalesForce. We make sure that we can control and efficiently optimize that traffic on the proper path without having to have an endpoint in the environment. There are a couple of reasons we do this; the first is by not having an endpoint on the other side we don’t have to worry about violating compliance things associated with running an end-user’s traffic through our cloud infrastructure. The second thing is that one of the core tenets of SAS is you’re just consuming in the application, the infrastructure team doesn’t need to worry about the component on the other side in that SAS environment. The last is a diversity of paths; we don’t force customers into a pop that sends you off a controlled link into Azure or AWS, you get that freedom of choice of what that best path is. Whether you want to route that through your data center or whether you want to choose the path that goes direct to the internet.
Patrick Oborn: In our SD-WAN matrix we throw in price to help people ballpark just to get a general idea. Your cost per meg seems like it’s half of most of the other guys, can you explain your methodology for your pricing?
Patrick Wade: In our world, one of the things that’s very apparent is that we now have an abundance of bandwidth. Instead of focusing on the idea that we need to create an end-to-end system and control for all these things, we price on the consumption of bandwidth. This allows us to match the price point with what the end-user experience. What we find in the market overall is that this provides our customers a significant amount of leverage over the bandwidth they use by limiting the cost at the endpoints that are there.
Patrick Oborn: What does your ideal customer look like?
Patrick Wade: We’re looking for customers that have a lot of branches, that could be five branches or a thousand. The point is that to them a lot of locations drives the complexity at the edge, one of our core tenets is simplification. We scale well whether you’re talking about the scale of the number of branches or the number of people in a branch.
Patrick Oborn: Ryan, how can we access CloudGenix? Do you go through re-sellers or do you go direct?
Ryan Williams: We are 100% channel focused, meaning that every single opportunity that we have in the field today is attached to a Channel Partner. You will not see any direct competition from anybody inside CloudGenix in any of your opportunities. We’ve built and designed our sales resources around partner enablement; we define our market into two different areas which are either twenty sites or less and twenty sites or more. As you go upmarket, we find that those deals become more complicated and require more of a solutions style approach. Because of this, we have a dedicated solutions architect attached to each one of those enterprise sales reps. In our partner select space, which is under twenty locations, we have a specialized team that can handle the more transactional type of sales.
Patrick Oborn: Can you tell us about why AT&T, through Yiptel, has gone with VeloCloud as their go-to-market partner?
Michael Wood: There are now fifty service providers globally who are VeloCloud powered and have standardized VeloCloud delivered SD-WAN. One of the primary reasons is that VeloCloud has developed the ready-set-go program which enables a service provider to go from zero to complete revenue generation within 30 days. The reason we can do this is because of the technology; we have a SAS model, a distributed footprint around the globe in the cloud using VeloCloud gateways. This is important for carriers because they have to be profitable on day one. This technology allows them to come up to speed. We’re also able to white label our system, not just the orchestrator but all the way down to the edge devices that go out to each site can be white-labeled for that carrier. We also operate over any transport; there are two models. One is over the top where they run over their infrastructure; they can also offer any infrastructure which can be mounted over a third party. Another component for them is the second half, there’s the technology, but then there’s the go-to-market and the logistics along with the support which ships out to over 120 countries.
Patrick Oborn: With VeloCloud being offered by so many providers, how do they all differentiate themselves? What are your partners doing to separate themselves from each other even though they’re all using your platform?
Michael Wood: Many of these carriers have 80 percent overlap of the underlying technology, but all of them have a unique differentiation. For example, Windstream was VeloCloud powered before their acquisition of Earthlink who was also VeloCloud powered. When they came together, they began to leverage Earthlink’s myLink offer. MyLink has two models one of them which is their concierge model where they can do everything for your end customer, but they also have more of a self-service model. All of this is driven through this API that VeloCloud offers that they’ve tied into their self-service one-stop-shop portal.
Patrick Oborn: So if I have an extra 50 million laying around and I want to be a VeloCloud partner, how can I make my system better than the other guys?
Michael Wood: What we often do is work with the carriers, and we leverage their core competencies and the differentiators that they have today. For example with Windstream it was all about service, for Vonage it was all about leading with VoIP and making that a much better experience and then with their Smart-WAN offer based on VeloCloud. MegaPath has gone out with 100% application performance guarantee; the ability to do this is based on VeloCloud. You don’t need 50 million dollars as a carrier to go out and dramatically differentiate yourself in the market.
Versa Networks Q&A
Patrick Oborn: Isn’t that what you call your Flex VNF where you got the routing, SD-WAN, security, and SAS up as well as third-party VNF all bundled together?
Mark Weiner: Correct, that flex VNF is our platform. We also have the director which manages and orchestrates it with a big engine called analytics that can do both historic and real-time analysis across all those functions and data sets. We can also host third-party virtualized functions. We have built-in hypervisor which we call software defining the full branch.
Patrick Oborn: Dave, tell us a little bit about your channel and some of your service providers that are offering Versa.
Dave Traugott: CenturyLink was our landmark provider, they were the most vocal and fastest moving provider out there with SD-WAN. Most of the partners we work with are your traditional vendors like Verizon, Comcast, and of course Nitel. We do have a couple of direct accounts but those are far between, and typically they are top ten Fortune 500 companies that are gradually service providers anyway. A lot of time they’ll take it from the lab directly, but they also sometimes go and tell companies like CenturyLink or Verizon that they’d like to partner with them with a specific Versa solution. We primarily go through the channel, but there are a few occasions where we are indirect. We are a small company, and we love to use our existing partners, there’s no way on earth we could reach all the customers out there without their knowledge. We believe the partner know the customer better than we do.
Patrick Oborn: Dave, tell us about how companies like CenturyLink, Comcast, and Verizon are differentiating themselves from each other even though they’re all in the Versa family.
Dave Traugott: I think if you looked at Versa compared to some of the other solutions out there one of the things we bring to the table is full UTM (Unified Throughout Management). Essentially companies like CenturyLink, Verizon, and Nitel are not only providing customers with application delivery, redundancy, bandwidth sharing they also have security components. This is very important when you’re doing local internet breakout at the site. These companies differentiate themselves by how much they allow the customer to control the network. CenturyLink has a co-managed option so for some customers that are very knowledgeable and want to be able to control their network they do unleash the power of the portal to them. Other customers want CenturyLink to do all the heavy lifting for them, CenturyLink does give them that option as well. Comcast is still sort of in data but will also let their customer decide how involved they want to be.
Patrick Oborn: Ron, when you say “global applications” will you go into more detail on what that means? Are you talking about a company with workloads in multiple physical geographies around the world?
Ron Hamlett: Yes. What we are seeing is that companies are looking at two things: they’re going from all MPLs circuits or point-to-point circuits back to a centralized data center. With the paradigm shift from the cloud and multiple SAS web applications moving and dispersing the different geographic areas like you just said, we saw what the gap was going to be. When that application moves away from the end user, we saw performance degradations from a latency perspective; we wanted to fill that gap not only from VoIP but with video conferencing as well. I think that the biggest differentiator between us and other SD-WAN providers is that we built out POPs with Equinix, we’ve got a middle mile which enables partners to leverage the lower cost bandwidth at the edge. We are giving the QoS in the middle with our global network so they can handle the end to end QoS.
Watch the panel here: https://youtu.be/SoVWf5Br3Yg