Ask the Experts: How Hybrid Solutions Impact the Future of WAN, SDN and NFV

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses how hybrid cloud solutions are impacting the future of WAN, SDN and NFV with Masergy’s Ray Watson. Find out more about global cloud networking platforms from Ray and the Masergy team here:

Andrew: Okay. Here we go for another Ask the Experts session here in the studios in Petaluma, the gateway to the Northern California Wine Country. Yep. You know it. I get paid every time I say that by the Chamber of Commerce. Ray Watson, Vice President of Global Technology with Masergy. Welcome back again, man.
Ray: It’s good to be here.
Andrew: All right. I always love how you take really complex technologies and boil them down into simple to understand terms for our Sales Partner community. Thank you for doing that. I got another one for you. I want to stay at a high level here for moment and get your perspective on where is WAN, the wide area network, where is it going next. And then I want to really dig into Masergy’s strategy around SDN, software-defined networking, and NFV, network function virtualization. What is Masergy’s strategy around that and why should that matter to our partner community?
Ray: Okay. With regards to the wide area network is going in the future, it’s no surprise to the Intelisys partner community that it’s all going to be about hybrid, hybrid, hybrid. The idea and concept that there would be private and/or public networks is completely going to be gone. So if you can’t address both status posts, both the meshing, even quality of service, and have some component that uses the public Internet, which is the capital I, Internet, as well as a private WAN, that’s going to be a huge part of everything that goes forward.
The other big characteristic, which is somewhat inter-related with the fact that we’re moving to hybrid cloud solutions all over the world is the security concerns. Security used to be something that maybe kept the CIOs up at night occasionally when they looked at wide area networks, etc., but now it’s actually costing people their jobs. In a post-Sony, post-Ashley Madison world, you really can’t build out networks today without taking a very, very serious look at how do you leverage the public Internet for hybrid offerings, including connectivity to Amazon Web Services and Google and those hybrid cloud providers, but do it in a way that keeps your company’s data secure. That’s really the classic engineering balance.
The other big piece about what’s going on in the future for wide area networks is about scalability. Scalability, to put it in really, really simple terms, means the ability to go from something really, really little to something really, really big without making any functional structural changes. So that’s whenever people talk about scalability, what they’re really talking about is, can I go from an ant to a semi-truck without making structural changes to the architecture itself. And that’s the type of scalability that a lot of networks are actually seeking for.
Where are we with that, Andrew? Where are we in that process? We’ve been in 15 years pioneering the concept that customers could control their bandwidth themselves. They could turn it up, turn it down; layer 2, layer 3 on the same access circuit; all about built into the portal or on an application on their phone. What has happened most recently with the SDN/NFV revolution is that now the customers don’t even have to do that themselves at all. It can be completely automated, so that network conditions can actually institute network changes. And they could be even things that aren’t necessarily IT related. Like it could be how many cars are in the parking lot to determine how much bandwidth is at a given location.
We’ve been leading that customer-controlled side for about 15 years in the global space. What the biggest promise now is that today we actually are shipping products in the network function virtualization space where a customer does not have a physical router, does not have a physical firewall. It’s completely virtualized in their premise, and it’s available on demand. So if you need to suddenly bring a firewall up in Des Moines, Iowa, you go into a webpage and you click, click, click, and boom–it’s as if the box is literally there.
We think the promise for all of this is–and what our early studies have shown–is this is not necessarily about cost savings. A lot of competitors in the marketplace are focused exclusively on, “How much money will we save?” And you absolutely will save some money. What we believe is much more compelling is how quickly customers can react to their environment and make changes on the fly.
Andrew: Fascinating. Very, very cool, man. You guys have a compelling story there. We’re doing a ton of business with Masergy over the years. Big, big base of MPLS revenue obviously. But where this goes next. Would you agree that the network’s always been important, but with the explosion around cloud, the network has never been more important than it is today?
Ray: Absolutely.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah. Very exciting future together. Hey, guys. That’s Ray Watson. Ray, thanks, man. Thanks for jumping in, buddy.
Ray: Thank you, guys. It’s my pleasure.
Andrew: All right. Ray Watson is the Vice President of Global Technology for Masergy, helping us break down what’s going on with SDN and NFV. Good stuff.
Make sure you check out the learning center from Masergy right here at the University. It has lots of great information, there are videos, and by the way, should throw in a real quick plug. They’ve got their entire Masergy Security Training now built into the University. Very, very cool stuff where you can get smarter about this next generation of security and how you can solve one of the most pressing problems for your customers.
Ray, you mentioned Ashley Madison. I have no idea what you’re talking about, no idea, none, no idea. All right. Let’s move on.
Ray: Very good.
Andrew: All right. Good selling.