When I was a network engineer for a VAR, I had the edge router thing solved. It didn’t take me any time to get a device up and running and working the way the customer wanted it to be done. On the other hand, dealing with the local provider for network access was a different story. I could probably write a book about all the crazy things I had to deal with when I was on hold with the local telco or when I was lost in the process of the large providers just hoping that someone remembered to schedule techs to be on-site this week.
The process for dealing with service providers wasn’t always clear or easy. Which meant that a lot of the time the equipment that needed to be installed sat there waiting on an administrative process to be completed. What really needs to happen is that someone needs to own the process from the core all the way through the last mile. That’s the true value of offering something “as a service.”
Owning It All
I had a chance during VMworld 2019 to sit down with Dave Ginsburg and Shashi Kiran of Aryaka to talk about this particular part of their SD-WAN offering. I’ve known both of these gentlemen from other companies in the past, so I was delighted to see them working on the problem of SD-WAN.
SD-WAN has finally moved past the technical justification phase. Anyone that has installed or used an SD-WAN solution in the last two years knows that it is more than capable of providing connectivity that is as good as a traditional routing infrastructure at a significantly reduced cost. But, as I outlined above, technology isn’t always the hardest problem to crack.
When you’re talking to a potential SD-WAN customer about using a service-based solution, you can’t always lead with price. That’s because price means you don’t ever get to bring in all the added benefits of an SD-WAN solution. How exactly do you talk about application-aware QoS settings or using LTE provisioning models when all the customer is focused on is the cheapest box they can deploy to their edge?
Instead, as Dave and Shashi outlined to me, the real value is in increased efficiency and reduced complexity for the end user. I laughed a little at this turn of phrase because it’s exactly how I used to sell my VAR services to the customer when we went into an account. The commonly used phrase “one throat to choke”, while morbid, comes to mind here. That’s because the efficiency that Aryaka prides itself on comes from owning the entire network from core to edge. There’s no provider interface for the customer to throw a spanner into the works.
Instead, Aryaka negotiates and delivers the circuit to your location. They manage the handoff and the network through their devices and to the next hop on your edge. That means the only number you need to call to get things working is Aryaka’s. They deploy an Aryaka Network AP (ANAP) at your office location, hook it up to one or two circuits, and off you go. You never have to call the telco or the cable company to run a circuit. And if something happens to go down on the provider side, Aryaka is the one making the call, not your office manager. They can get things up and running much faster than you could because they speak telco tech.
Peace of Mind
Aryaka also ensures that your installation goes smoothly and effectively in other ways as well. Their ANAP devices are pre-configured and phone home as soon as they are connected to the network to complete the configuration in the Aryaka dashboard. They can be configured with basic network connectivity but can also be configured to use LTE uplinks as well to help in backup link situations.
One interesting little piece of trivia and Dave and Shashi shared with me is that they find some LTE providers rate-limit traffic over LTE after a certain time in the day. Perhaps they think that regular users aren’t going to be on as much in the wee hours of the morning. But it also has a huge impact on how your SD-WAN solution might have to fail over in the event of an outage. If you’re using nightly backups over a WAN link and suddenly you’re forced to move to a rate-limited LTE uplink you might find your situation more complicated than you’d like.
The last way that Aryaka gives you peace of mind is the tried-and-true SLA. That’s something you don’t get from a DIY solution and one of the biggest selling points of direct connectivity like MPLS circuits. If you can guarantee that your CPE is going to stay up 99.9% of the time it’s worth paying more for that guarantee. Especially if you’re not the one that has to enforce it with your providers.
Bringing It All Together
Aryaka is taking the service provider approach to SD-WAN, which is one of the reasons why they’ve been so successful as of late. If they continue to capitalize on the momentum they have right now they should capture much of the market that isn’t trying to build their own SD-WAN or integrate with larger enterprise solutions. And when you see how big that section of connectivity truly is, you can see how Aryaka is poised to be the solution of choice.
For more information about Aryaka and their SD-WAN as a Service solution, please visit http://Aryaka.com.