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CIO eyes digital services in SD-WAN push

Clint Boulton | Oct. 5, 2016
In a move designed to lure customers to its new services, including a software-defined wide area network, EarthLink hired American Cancer Society CIO Jay Ferro to rebuild its back-end and front-end systems as well as improve its sales process.

Eazor says EarthLink will distinguish its product from a crowded market that includes Viptela, Silver Peak with personalized service. EarthLink's SD-WAN Concierge includes a dedicated service manager and a team of EarthLink experts, who will work with each business to create and deploy routing and security policies based on real-time analytics and unique business requirements. EarthLink is also guaranteeing 100 percent uptime in its service-level agreement contracts, Eazor says.

Peter Girgis, CIO of Dunn-Edwards Paints, says EarthLink's SD-WAN pinpointed slow network speeds that were denigrating its point-of-sale system. One national restaurant chain, which Eazor declined to identify, found that its music-streaming service was throttling its network access, slowing payment processing.

The 'white glove' SD-WAN

Gartner analyst Ted Corbett says EarthLink's personalized “white glove” approach will appeal to enterprises that are short on staff or expertise and require high-touch support. To that end, the service has already paid dividends for some early adopters.

The SD-WAN market is still nascent, with only 2,000 paying customers, according to Gartner. "Given the size of current market adoption, we consider it early stage," says Corbett. Given the relative ease of adoption and performance benefits, Corbett says the market will blossom in the near term.

Gartner estimates spending on SD-WAN services will be in the range of $25 million to $50 million in 2016, but will double in 2017. It also predicts that through 2020 at least 30 percent of enterprises will use SD-WAN solutions for branch-office connectivity, up from less than 3 percent today.

EarthLink is consuming its own SD-WAN but that footprint will expand under Ferro as part of a hybrid cloud strategy he says will boost the company's performance.


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