Huawei is making a bid for the hot and frothy SD-WAN market with CloudVPN, an offering the company discussed at Huawei Connect 2016 in Shanghai. Huawei is working with Telia, a Swedish telco, on an initial rollout of the service.
As with other SD-WAN offerings, CloudVPN aims to make it easier to provision connectivity services at branch and remote offices, to combine both leased lines and broadband connections, and to enable global policy enforcement of multiple sites via a controller.
CloudVPN targets service providers and carriers, many of whom may be feeling pressure from a host of SD-WAN startups that could eat into their leased-line businesses.
Besides telcos, Swift Liu, president of the Enterprise Network Product Line at Huawei, said at a press conference that the company will offer an enterprise version.
CloudVPN checks the boxes of a typical SD-WAN offering. A CPE device, which includes a router, gets shipped to a remote or branch office. Customers can provision both broadband connections and private circuits.
Policies are configured via a cloud-based controller. Customers can choose which traffic to send over specific connections (for example, VoIP over the leased line, and Web traffic over broadband). Huawei’s Liu said the premises device uses deep packet inspection to identify applications for more granular policy control. The device can also be configured to block specific traffic types, such as BitTorrent.
I didn’t get a briefing from Huawei ahead of the announcement, and only got to ask a couple of questions at the press conference, so there’s a lot of gaps in what I know about this offering, including:
- Availability and pricing on the provider and enterprise versions
- Whether LTE connections are an option
- Technical specs on CPE, including throughput
- The overlay being used (I assume IPSec, but that’s just a guess)
- The location of the controller located (In a customer’s data center? In a provider cloud or colo?)
- Is the controller based on Huawei’s newly announced Agile Controller 3.0?
- Can you get broadband connections from more than one provider?
- Can traffic be moved between connections in real time based on customer-defined performance characteristics?
- Does the branch appliance provide any kind of traffic shaping capabilities?
A Crowded Party
As a dominant infrastructure provider for global telecom companies and service providers, Huawei can leverage this position to get its product in front of existing customers, but the company will find that it’s joining a crowded party, particularly in the United States.
For instance, Verizon announced in February it would roll out a managed service based on technology from SD-WAN startup Viptela.
Nuage Networks, a startup backed exclusively by Alcatel-Lucent, offers an SD-WAN offering for enterprises and service providers, as does the startup VeloCloud. And a company called TeloIP provides white-label SD-WAN services for VARs and regional service providers.
There are also any number of other startups and established vendors chasing this market, so Huawei needs more than just a me-too offering if it wants to stand out.