Avaya and FatPipe Networks have announced the availability of an integrated solution that combines the Avaya software defined networking (SDN) FxTM architecture and FatPipe’s Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN). The companies are heralding this as the first integrated SDN and SD-WAN networking and unified communications solution.
“This is a very exciting partnership in our minds to bring together a full software defined ecosystem,” said Matt Gwyther, technical marketing manager at FatPipe.
So why is an integrated SDN-SD-WAN solution a big deal?
“For years, the industry has been talking about SDN as the solution, and SD-WAN was a hot topic because it was the first real world application of SDN techniques,” Gwyther said. “With this partnership, a customer can create a fully orchestrated network all the way from the data centre out to the branch, with the ability to do very robust path selection. Security and application policies get all these benefits while they are out of the confines of a data centre. It’s a complete network wide overlay, because of the unified approach.”
Gwythier said that integrating SDN and SD-WAN was a lot more difficult than it sounds.
“A lot of the SDN architectures allow for application flows to be controlled from switch to switch, and require orchestrator control of different endpoints that touch the application flow,” he said. “Once you leave the data centre, you no longer have control. So you can’t use the same SDN techniques across a WAN. We had to create a methodology to tunnel the traffic into branch offices to use the SDN, since we couldn’t rely on traditional IP-based routing.
“We have been working on this with Avaya for several months, verifying the reference architecture,” Gwythier added. “There were some requirements in terms of specific WAN optimization, and it took some time to be able to handle that traffic.”
Salt Lake City-based FatPipe is one of the original SD-WAN vendors, originally founded in 1989 and working in the SD-WAN space since 2001, before the term was coined.
“We have always been multi-path from the beginning, which has been our differentiation,” Gwythier said. “For a VoIP network, like these Avaya networks, multi-path gives voice traffic the best performance on latency, packet loss and jitter. Hybrid infrastructure in the move to a post-MPLS network world is where customers choose FatPipe.”
FatPipe is Avaya’s only SD-WAN partner.
“We found they were the first partner we could work with on this,” Gwythier said. “Avaya is standards based, similar to us, and we have some mutual customers and some relationships based on this. They asked us to pursue this initiative, which made sense for them with the energy they are putting into the networking side now.”
Gwythier described FatPipe’s sweet spot as a moving spot.
“Our market has always been mission-critical WANs,” he said. “Our customers extend from companies with a couple branches with everything moved into the cloud, through the mid-market, up to smaller enterprises. It has been moving because since 2008, when layoffs impacted IT staff, IT departments looking to achieve more with less now bring us in.”
The joint solution will be sold through Avaya’s channel, and through FatPipe’s, which is a mixture of Large Account Resellers like Insight and Softchoice, service providers, and over 600 VARs. They use a single tier distribution model in North America, without distributors.
“We are not concerned about channel conflict in making this available through both our channel and Avaya’s because we have limited channel overlap,” Gwythier said. “This will broaden our reach though, especially in EMEA where we have not been strong, but where Avaya is strong.”
Avaya’s channel will be the more significant in Canada, where FatPipe’s channel is comparatively weak.
“We have limited resellers up there, although we do have a relationship with Softchoice as well as a sprinkling of smaller shops,” Gwythier indicated. “Canada has been a fairly small market for us.”
The joint solution is available now.