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Riverbed, Talari, Cisco bolster SD-WAN vendor product lines

Developing Talari, Riverbed and Cisco SD-WAN products reflect trends in SD-WAN market, which IDC predicts will top $8 billion by 2021.

Vendors are scrambling to make their SD-WAN product lines more competitive in a market that IDC predicts will grow by nearly 70% annually through 2021. Providers who bolstered their offerings this week to ride that growth include Cisco, Riverbed Technology and Talari Networks.

Cisco sought to improve its competitive posture in the software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) market with the completion of the Viptela acquisition announced in May. Viptela brings to Cisco customers a quicker return on investment than the vendor's competing intelligent WAN (IWAN), analysts said.

IWAN is a WAN optimization-based product that uses Cisco's ISR routers. Viptela is a pure-play SD-WAN product that includes virtualized routers running on less expensive x86 boxes.

Cisco said it would continue to invest in, and support, IWAN. However, the company has not said whether it would continue to advance Viptela on x86 systems. Instead, Cisco said it would incorporate Viptela technology on ISR and ASR routers and "customers will be able to migrate to the new unified solution as needed or desired."

Cisco, Talari and Riverbed are among two dozen SD-WAN vendors battling for a slice of the crowded market, which IDC forecasts will grow from $574.2 million in 2016 to $8.05 billion in 2021. To build a broader SD-WAN platform, vendors are adding APIs that let partners tie in network and security services, such as WAN optimization, firewalls and IP address management.

WAN optimization added to Talari SD-WAN product line

Talari added WAN optimization features to its product and made them available at no extra cost. Also, it partnered with cloud-based security vendor Zscaler Inc. to provide customers with an alternative to on-premises firewalls for internet traffic.

The WAN-optimization features include congestion controls and data compression and deduplication. Talari said the features improve the efficiency of bulk data transfers from a single location.

Optimizing traffic flows is what Talari presents as its market differentiator. The vendor's analytics factor in packet loss, latency, jitter and bandwidth in selecting the best traffic path.

Riverbed SD-WAN to get wireless integration

Riverbed's biggest differentiator among SD-WAN vendors is its roots in WAN optimization -- technology at the core of the company's business since its founding in 2002. This year, Riverbed acquired Wi-Fi vendor Xirrus Inc. to integrate its wireless LAN technology into SD-WAN.

Riverbed plans to release this year the initial integration of Xirrus access points and switches to SteelConnect Manager, which is Riverbed's SD-WAN management console. Riverbed already provides integration between SteelConnect and SteelCentral, the vendor's network performance monitoring tool, and SteelHead, its WAN optimization technology.

The developing Riverbed, Talari and Cisco SD-WAN products reflect market trends driving sales. Factors making SD-WAN a hot ticket among companies are the increasing adoption of cloud-based applications, mobile devices and the internet of things. The three have substantially increased the amount of data flowing from corporate networks to the internet, a scenario requiring management technology more flexible than legacy systems.

Next Steps

Merging SD-WAN and WAN optimization

Getting ready for SD-WAN

Boosting app delivery with SD-WAN

Dig Deeper on IP Networking

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