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Optus teams up with VMware on SD-WAN

Australia’s second biggest telco, Optus, will offer VMware’s SD-WAN solution to enterprises in a highly fragmented market

Optus has teamed up with VMware to offer the latter’s software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology to Australian enterprises as it expands its 5G network footprint across the country.

The telco said enterprises can make use of VMware’s SD-WAN technology, which works across fixed and wireless networks, to tap 5G as their primary connection to speed up IT deployment with lower latency.

Deon Liebenberg, vice-president of product innovation at Optus Enterprise, said the partnership with VMware was part of a broader strategy to provide enterprises with a greater choice of digital networking solutions.

In particular, he singled out VMware’s dynamic multipath optimisation, an SD-WAN feature that lets enterprises measure live network conditions and maximise network performance.

“The service will also enhance user experiences across common business tools, such as Microsoft 365 and Amazon Web Services-delivered cloud services. By combining Optus’s 4G and 5G networks with VMware SD-WAN, we look forward to enabling transformative cloud access and mobile experience, particularly for branch and home users,” said Liebenberg.

Ron Longo, VMware’s vice-president for worldwide service provider sales, added that the relationship with Optus would help to “reduce network complexity and give IT teams more time to focus on other business challenges and drive innovation and strategic outcomes across their business”.

SD-WAN has taken off faster in Australia than other markets, partly due to the migration of last-mile access to the country’s national broadband network.

According to technology research firm GlobalData, nearly 60% of enterprises with more than 200 employees have already deployed SD-WAN and one in three are considering implementing it in the next 12 months.  

“While cost-saving has been part of the motivation to adopt SD-WAN, better security and network management is also a key benefit,” said Siow Meng Soh, senior technology analyst at GlobalData.

Australia’s SD-WAN market is highly fragmented, however. GlobalData’s research shows that Cisco and VMware are ahead of the pack, but Aryaka, Silver Peak and Fortinet are also popular, with each having over 10% of market share in Australia.  

Soh said SD-WAN vendors were trying to gain market share by working with different channel partners, including systems integrators, resellers and local providers such as telcos.

According to GlobalData, nearly 10% of enterprises were interested in buying SD-WAN directly from vendors and nearly 20% indicated telcos as their preferred option. 

As more businesses move to the cloud, SD-WAN will play an increasingly important role in providing users with access to applications and data.  

“SD-WAN has a bigger role to play as businesses look to simplify branch networking, increase the use of cloud-based services and adopt remote working,” said Soh. “As a result, companies need to also have a long-term network strategy instead of treating SD-WAN as a standalone solution which delivers quick fixes.” 

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