It’s happened again, and we aren’t surprised. VMware®, a global provider of cloud network and security services, announced they are deepening their network portfolio by acquiring VeloCloud™, a leading SD-WAN technology platform and Windstream‘s partner in that space. It’s another example of how the accelerated rate of cloud adoption is pushing providers to significantly up their game to meet customer demand for more, better, faster solutions to enable their success. With the rapid pace of change taking place – SD-WAN being among the most exciting, transformational technologies to hit the market in years – it’s important to understand what an acquisition like this might mean. Both on a broad level, and more specifically, what it means for our SD-WAN customers, or for any company making plans to move to SD-WAN.
What VMware + VeloCloud says about our industry?
Networking is going through massive transformation driven by migration to the cloud and emerging next-generation technologies like Software-Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). These trends are driving a wave of new digital business models that rely less on the physical network and more on the applications they support. And that enable companies to use their network assets to deploy new services in an agile, cost effective and secure way. This trend also empowers customers to have greater visibility into, and greater control over, how their bandwidth is being used.
VMware (which itself recently became part of Dell) has a dominant position in the virtualized data center space and has made significant investments in recent years to move beyond server virtualization and into network virtualization with companies like Nicira. VeloCloud represents another aggressive expansion as a leading provider in the software-defined WAN space. Both companies leverage software-defined and virtualization technologies that are paving the way to cloud migration. We expect this merger will result in better and more integrated software-defined services on both the premises and cloud sides of the network.
What VeloCloud’s acquisition means for Windstream
VMWare’s acquisition will make VeloCloud’s platform more robust, enabling them to cement their leadership in the SD-WAN space. That’s a good thing for Windstream and our customers, given we have great relationships with both companies. As our partners, we’re looking forward to even higher levels of innovation, creating a powerful platform for the digital enterprise. One that will make the data center and premises-based experiences more consistent, secure and highly dynamic, just as we’ve seen with SD-WAN and the cloud. On that front, our relationship with VeloCloud remains as strong as ever and the combined company’s value as our partner grows exponentially.
Moving towards a programmable network
VeloCloud’s acquisition happens at a crossroads in our product delivery evolution, as we move quickly to strategically transform our own capabilities in order to empower our customers to do the same. We have been developing new services designed to go well beyond the current status quo, enabling us to realize the benefits brought about by network functions deployed as virtual machines in shared premises equipment, all software defined.
This programmable network involves SDN-based connectivity solutions and leverages our transport and metro fiber and fixed wireless capabilities, delivering the flexibility and control of SDN and the quality and low latency of the nation’s fourth largest fiber backbone. The strength of which is critical to real-time communications, uniquely positioning us to deliver essential customer facing, productivity enhancing innovations like our premiere UCaaS solution, OfficeSuite® which makes moving integrated voice, video and collaboration to the cloud easy and affordable for any size company.
What VMWare + VeloCloud means for our customers
Windstream’s mission is to deliver a truly differentiated industry-leading experience to our customers. Supported by innovative solutions like SD-WAN Concierge, a fully-managed servicethat combines VeloCloud’s platform with our own proprietary Cloud Core SD-WAN network architecture, expert implementation, and ongoing optimization and management. It’s a product that takes our decade long success in Hybrid networking, and raises it to a new level, empowering our customers to deliver a differentiating experience to their customers.
As we move forward, we expect to leverage VMware and VeloCloud’s leading edge software defined vision to continue to provide our customers with:
Industry consolidation is inevitable and this is simply the latest in an ongoing series of deals (such as Cisco’s recent acquisition of BroadSoft) that continue to reshape our industry. As a communications and network service provider, it’s our job to navigate changes in our space, to help drive digital transformation and innovation for our customers.
More importantly, as a true partner to our customers, we’ll continue to monitor such developments with an eye towards finding similar opportunities to offer new, sometimes disruptive, services. We believe our strategy of leveraging the latest tech trends on the solid foundation of a world-class network will continue to differentiate us and we look forward to working closely with our customers to navigate their challenges with an eye towards driving their continued success and growth.
Mike Frane is Vice President for SD-WAN at Windstream Enterprise, with responsibility for the company’s overall SD-WAN strategy, as well as the network and security service portfolios. Since joining the organization in 2008, he’s overseen the launch and lifecycle of services including LTE wireless, Ethernet and MPLS IPsec access elements, Secure WiFi & Analytics, Application Performance Optimization, IPsec VPN and Unified Communications. Prior to Windstream’s acquisition of EarthLink, Mike led the launch of EarthLink’s SD-WAN service; their most successful product introduction in over a decade. Mike has a BS in Genetics and Cellular Biology from the University of Minnesota and was involved in gene therapy research at the Institute of Human Genetics before entering the telecommunications industry.