Trust is the key to virtualisation

31 August 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

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The product part is easy says Juergen Kirchmann, VP DACH at InfoVista. “If we deliver our solution on hardware or if we deliver it as a virtual network function (VNF) – there really is no difference”. It’s the building of trust that’s the biggest obstacle to overcome.

Founded in 1997, InfoVista is a provider of network orchestration solutions to drive quality user experience. As well as being a key player in the SD-WAN space, the company also has offerings in the areas of service assurance, radio planning and optimisation, and network testing.

At the service assurance part of the business Kirchmann says this area “takes care of what is needed for enterprises in the future” due to the move from hardware to more software-based solutions.  

 As for the application assurance side of things, which Kirchmann calls “a key product within the InfoVista portfolio” because as he puts it “the SD-WAN market is all about the application and customer experience over the cheapest possible wide-area network”.

Speaking to him on what separates InfoVista in the area of SD-WAN he said: “We cover the entire bandwidth, monitoring the user experience end-to-end and SD-WAN is just one of the solutions in the complete portfolio. The intelligence sits in the configuration node. You configure one node with all your SD-WAN globally and it’s distributed within the intelligence of the SD-WAN solution.”

He adds: that “the key differentiator for InfoVista as a company in the area of SD-WAN is that we have about 16 years’ experience in this market and we are partnering with a lot of companies. Because of this we can deliver the entire SD-WAN solution from the overlay techniques, to the application performance measurement and the customer experience measurement.”

“As well as the prioritisation on the network, we leave the overlay to partners like Nuage, Huawei, ZTE or Cisco/Viptella. Because we do all the analytics of the SD-WAN at layer 7 of the Osi model, we also do deep packet inspections and based on the analytics we apply the performance structure the enterprise wants to its applications,“ he said.

As for the growing trends in the market as a whole and InfoVista’s place in all of it he sums it up perfectly in saying “we are top 5”.

“Given the hype of the market, with Cisco purchasing Viptella and VMware acquiring Velocloud, it is entirely feasible that this market segment and the addressable market is significant to the large vendors on the market”.

“We are delivering solutions where the customer finds what they are really looking for and trust us because we’ve been doing it for so long. It is a market-leading SD-WAN experience when you chose to go with InfoVista.”

Though much of the conversation is centred on the enterprise angle, InfoVista also makes careful considerations from the perspective of the provider.

“If you look at us from the perspective of a provider, you have a lot of different SD-WAN vendors on your network. They all do agreements with you based on the service level of the bandwidth you provide. For us SD-WAN is not just something we do in the enterprise sector or supporting the ISPs or MSPs as they build their own solutions.”

As mentioned InfoVista has become synonymous for its numerous partnerships with various telecoms vendors, one most recently being with Huawei on developing open ecosystem in the SD-WAN space.

Though not directly with such partnerships, Kirchmann explained why such collaborations are important for InfoVista as a whole.

‘We have to incorporate a lot of vendors across the whole customer experience chain. We have Nuage Networks, Cisco/Viptella, Juniper, ZTE is in there and Huawei is of course one of the players in this market. In doing so we are getting coverage across all the vendors reinforcing the idea that InfoVista is differentiating from others by delivering customer experience application performance orchestration at layer 7 of the Osi model.”

Our conversation takes place during Capacity’s WAN summit in Frankfurt and Kirchmann said he noticed the same areas of concern from the audience as he does in his everyday work.

“They’re saying the same thing, why are talking about MPLS, Ethernet and having dual back up links via LTE because they want to have a service level agreement. They want to have something in writing that what they have purchased is what they’re going to get.”

Adding that the only thing in the wireless space that’s going to change that is 5G, because as he puts is “5G does have service level agreement tied to it.”

It comes as no surprise that the roadmap for InfoVista remains within the area of visibility and virtualisation just within the cloud.

“If you look at it you have Azure in there, AWS and Google you’re getting more and more providers delivering the software defined data centre, you’re getting software defined networks, software defined wide area networks, said Kirchmann. “The CIO’s of these large companies need the visibility across all the services they can purchase and the broader scope is creating the visibility needed for the people managing the networks, so that as the network becomes a managed service you have to know what’s going on.”