July 30, 2019 - GTT launched four uCPE platform options to suit small sites up to larger-scale data centers, and enhancing its SD-WAN proposition. The move strengthens GTT’s SD-WAN service, because its uCPE platforms support centralized management of software updates across the service provider’s extensive global IP backbone. GTT offers VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud and SilverPeak Unity Boost for optimization. The service provider also supports Palo Alto Networks and Fortinet on its uCPE devices for virtualized network security. Offering SD-WAN as a VNF feature running on top of a uCPE device is advanced in the market.
GTT's uCPE for SD-WAN gives agile management of remotely connected business sites, such as factories, retail outlets, sales kiosks, and offices, etc., without those sites needing complex and expensive on-site hardware deployment and management.
The combination of its uCPE with SD-WAN, network assets (600 global PoPs) and relations with thousands of third party last-mile access providers results in a compelling offer targeting multinational prospects.
The uCPE devices need to be shipped to client sites thus a reliable global logistical support fabric is a must. Customers that heavily invested in certain major IP router suppliers may be protective of investments, which can introduce an element of resistance to the take up of GTT’s uCPE proposal.
Next steps for GTT - the company can consider how it can differentiate from rivals, since the look and feel of its SD-WAN and uCPE proposal is somewhat similar to SD-WAN plus uCPE available from a several competitors, including for example Colt and Verizon.
Clavem Research suggests that a strong and proven cloud networking heritage (‘from the ground to the cloud’ – a former Interoute moniker) and global IP backbone and capacity holds the keys to a differentiated service.
GTT can continue to develop the richness of its SD-WAN (for example service wrap, management portal, uCPE form factors, and a broad VNF menu), and tell prospects that few service providers can match its rich network coverage and engineering skills, as well as early move into supporting migration to the cloud on behalf of enterprise customers.
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Colt recently gave the third instalment of its network virtualization and SD-WAN Webinar series ‘uCPE: Revolutionising the Network Edge with Colt’. The live Webinar plus Q&A was delivered in collaboration with partner ADVA. Colt has launched support for Versa Networks SD-WAN and Check Point firewall VNFs and has a development roadmap underway to also offer VNFs for Palo Alto, Riverbed Technology, SilverPeak, Infovista-Ipanema, Cisco-Viptela, and Juniper Networks.
Colt with uCPE partner ADVA are poised to support innovation at the edge of the network, and this is not something Colt’s rivals can necessarily match. Customers can ask for Colt’s views on building networks for the future, including for example how its SD-WAN can provide a supporting structure to deploying micro-services in containers in multi-clouds, IoT, and for harnessing AI/ML.
The main challenges that Colt faces for traction for its SD-WAN and uCPE offerings are twofold: firstly, several competitors offer Versa Networks SD-WAN (examples include Tata Communications, Virgin Business, Comcast Business, Zayo, and Verizon) and have collaborated with a number of vendors and partners for flexible uCPE choices – with Verizon offering a large range. The second challenge is on the customer-side, uCPE solutions are not necessarily well understood with the market just beginning to evolve and adopt in seriousness. Colt faces the task of educating customers and demonstrating to its target market how its SD-WAN and uCPE products can give real benefits.
Colt can continue to communicate the pragmatic message of phased approaches for its customers looking to migrate to open virtualization platforms. The company can talk about its skill-sets and experience with designing, deploying and maintaining SD-WAN, and can bundle in very strong security based on VNF partners as well as its own managed security capabilities. Furthermore, Colt has the network assets and relations with peering partners to offer global backbone and last mile access services to provide a robust underlay.
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