Service providers - How future-proof is your presence at customer premises?
By Tomas Hedqvist
By Tomas Hedqvist
Are you still shipping first generation SD-WAN to enterprises? Then you have the chance to improve your business, save costs, provide more agile services, and secure your presence on the customer premises. How? By starting to ship second generation SD-WAN instead.
Second generation SD-WAN is based on a universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) platform providing an open virtualization layer and running SD-WAN and security as virtualized applications on-premises. First generation SD-WAN solutions, on the other hand, are appliance-based; you ship and install a physical appliance with packaged SD-WAN software, all from a single vendor. And if you need a firewall or any other function, that is another appliance you will need to ship.
uCPE is a foundation for second generation SD-WAN and other multi-vendor solutions at the customer premises. As an open platform, it lets you pick best-of-breed components for your service offering and consolidate several network functions on a single COTS device, running any application, according to customer needs.
Enterprises have different needs, individually or shared within a specific sector (finance, pharmaceutical, etc.). A way to strengthen your position as a service provider, is to grow your services catalog and offer a range of predefined services for different use cases, e.g. different sectors and company sizes.
Building a services catalog with virtualized applications and uCPE instead of separate appliances makes a big difference. Stockpiling physical appliances from more than a couple of vendors can be daunting. A virtualized service consists of service-chained virtual applications and configurations, and typically deploys on the uCPE using a zero-touch deployment procedure, which can be fully automated and centralized.
A service catalog makes it easier to adapt to evolving customer requirements: an enterprise who wants to expand or change its services can get a new service installed instantly, by simply downloading it to the uCPE. A self-service portal enabled by an orchestrator or automation tool further streamlines efforts to set up new services for your customers.
Creating new services by deploying new applications and service chains on the uCPE efficiently expands a managed service offering and builds new revenue streams. Enterprises today using only a router and firewall on-premises can be looking for a more advanced SD-WAN solution tomorrow and may want to include edge applications like analytics and monitoring, or even a vRAN. More services and more advanced services are both ways to add more revenue.
The service provider that controls on-premises equipment such as the uCPE platform will able to quickly adapt to changing requirements and offer new services. If you are in that position, you need to work with many different applications from different vendors to provide a diverse set of services. In other words, you need to make sure that the virtualization platform you base your offering on has a broad ecosystem featuring many pre-validated products.
There is no shortage of products when it comes to applications such as SD-WANs and firewalls; most vendors have virtualized versions of their products. There is also a wide choice of white box vendors and orchestration vendors. So where do you start? Navigating the supply of uCPE products and finding the right ones is not always that easy.
As the only pure-play virtualization software vendor in the industry, Enea holds a unique position to provide a catalog of tested and validated hardware and software applications. Recently, we published “The uCPE Solutions Catalog”, listing vendors and products for uCPE-based networking and cybersecurity solutions, well suited for SD-WAN. If you are a service provider or an enterprise IT manager, you will find a selection of best-of-breed products for different use cases and solutions.
With The uCPE Solutions Catalog in your hand, you are ready to future-proof your managed services and increase satisfaction among your enterprise customers!