Alcatel-Lucent Adds Versa SD-WAN, SASE to Network Portfolio

Giant software vendor Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is bolstering its networking and edge security capabilities by offering technologies from Versa Networks in its portfolio.

The European-based company recently announced that Versa’s software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) products will now be available to customers through its network of more than 2,900 resellers.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is putting a focus on midsize organizations with the latest networking offerings. It noted the easy creation and configuration of networks offered through the Shortest Path Bridge (SPB) standard and the optimized security that can be leveraged across multiple remote locations.

A Good Mesh

Stephan Robineau, executive vice president of Alcatel-Lucent’s network business division, noted that Versa’s technologies mesh well with what his company offers.

“Their solutions for branch office cloud and security services fit perfectly with our enterprise networking solutions, designed to simplify IT automation, secure IoT connectivity deployment, and integrate quickly with business workflows,” Robineau said in a statement. “By leveraging this transformative technology, we enrich our new network-as-a-service offer with complementary solutions to meet the business demands of today but also future-proof enterprise IT operations.”

For Versa, the relationship with Alcatel-Lucent expands the growing list of companies the networking vendor is partnering with. Versa not only works with such giant cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Tencent, and Alibaba Cloud but also telecommunications and services companies like Comcast Business, Ericsson, Sierra Wireless, and Ciena.

Also read: Transitioning to a SASE Architecture

Versa Extends Its Reach

Such partnerships help Versa extend its reach around the world. Hector Avalos, vice president of sales in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, pointed to Alcatel-Lucent’s 2,900 resellers, more than 830,000 customers and presence in more than 50 countries.

“Bringing Versa SASE and Titan [SD-WAN] solutions into [Alcatel-Lucent’s] portfolio allows Versa to address their install base and extend our capabilities to meet the global market demand for SASE and SD-WAN,” Avalos told Enterprise Networking Planet. “Versa is expanding our partner [and] reseller ecosystem to maximize our business opportunity, leveraging their salesforce and customer intimacy.”

Alcatel-Lucent will integrate Versa’s Titan offerings and SASE technology into its own networking portfolio. The offering initially will be accessed in Europe and will expand worldwide in the following months. 

Aiming for the Midmarket

The company sees the technology as a way to grow its presence among mid-market businesses. Versa launched Titan—its cloud-managed SD-WAN offering—in 2019, aiming to reduce the complexity around WAN transformation efforts. Channel partners like managed service providers (MSPs), value-added resellers (VARs, and systems integrators (SIs) can deliver, deploy, and centrally manage WAN infrastructures for their clients.

Titan includes both networking capabilities as well as software-defined security management tools that make it easier for organizations to monitor for security vulnerabilities, application behavior, network performance, and bandwidth utilization.

Integrating SASE into SD-WAN

In March, Versa integrated its SASE technology into Titan, with the goal of giving organizations a solution that is easy to manage and deploy—including zero-touch provisioning and single management interface—and includes networking and security.

Gartner was the first to name the SASE technology trend, which is being driven by the increasingly distributed nature of IT and the mobility of data and workloads, all of which increase the attack surface for bad actors. SASE essentially marries SD-WAN and hybrid network connectivity with an array of network security functions, including web gateways, cloud access security brokers (CASB), zero-trust network access, and firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), all of which is delivered as cloud services.

In June, Versa released a report which showed that the demand for SASE technology was continuing to grow. This trend was fueled in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many businesses to rapidly adopt remote-work models for employees and further move data and applications away from central data centers and out toward the cloud and edge. In addition, organizations had to adopt bandwidth-hungry technologies like videoconferencing to help all the work-at-home employees continue to collaborate.

About 34 percent of the 501 IT security and networking professionals surveyed by Sapio Research for Versa said their companies had already adopted SASE over the past year. Another 30 percent said they plan to do so in the next six to 12 months.

Also read: SD-WAN is Important for an IoT and AI Future

Confusion in the SASE Market

That said, the report also found there was some confusion as to what SASE actually is, due in part to some vendors without the right architecture promoting their offerings as SASE. Versa’s survey found that 69 percent of respondents said they are unclear what SASE entails. Michael Wood, chief marketing officer at Versa, said that at the time, much of that confusion came from vendors essentially pulling together security and networking products on premises or in the cloud “in a Frankenstein approach” and then calling it SASE.

“Vendors are creating this confusion to sell legacy products, so the onus is on the industry to dig deep technically into how a company architected, designed, and built their SASE solution,” Wood said. “Was it cobbled together from multiple products, acquisitions, and partnerships, or is it built intentionally from the ground up to be fully integrated? 

“Continued education will help IT organizations realize there is a true difference between legacy bolt-on implementations and a genuine SASE architecture being used to build the modern secure network.”

Versa isn’t the only one that sees SASE as a fast-growing market. Analysts at 650 Group said in a report that the global SASE market will grow five-fold between now and 2025, when it will reach more than $11 billion. There also is a lot of competition. The crowded space includes not only Versa but other vendors like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco Systems, Extreme Networks, Palo Alto, VMware, Fortinet, and Zscaler.

Versa tightly integrates SASE with Titan Cloud, offering SD-WAN with a range of services that all sit atop the Versa Operating System (VOS). It can be delivered either through the cloud, on premises, or in a hybrid fashion.

Read next: Top SD-WAN Providers & Vendors for 2021

Jeff Burt
Jeffrey Burt has been a journalist for more than three decades, the last 20-plus years covering technology. During more than 16 years with eWEEK, he covered everything from data center infrastructure and collaboration technology to AI, cloud, quantum computing and cybersecurity. A freelance journalist since 2017, his articles have appeared on such sites as eWEEK, The Next Platform, ITPro Today, Channel Futures, Channelnomics, SecurityNow, Data Breach Today, InternetNews and eSecurity Planet.

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