Despite filing for bankruptcy in February 2019, Windstream is investing in product research and development when it comes to SDWAN.
American telco Windstream announced a new Fortinet-based SDWAN solution for customers. The new addition fills a gap in their product portfolio targeting SMB and midmarket enterprise customers. Fortinet is well known in the industry as a next-generation firewall (NGFW) vendor, and Windstream chose their FortiGate devices due to its built-in NGFW for increased cybersecurity with every SDWAN connection.
Windstream already offers SDWAN services to their mid-to-large enterprise customers based on VeloCloud hardware after their acquisition of EarthLink’s wireline assets in early 2017. By the end of that same year, VeloCloud was acquired by cloud virtualization powerhouse VMware, giving some instant brand-name gravitas to Windstream’s SDWAN service.
The company’s engineers plan to integrate both their VeloCloud and Fortinet SDWAN solutions into their Windstream Cloud Core Network architecture. The Cloud Core Network is a nationwide platform the company launched in 2018 to aggregate their 150,000 miles of fiber and data center POPs under the umbrella of software-defined networking. Windstream promotes their Cloud Core Network as a way for enterprises to optimize SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS resources from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and other cloud providers.
The Cloud Core Network is key to enabling Windstream’s two SDWAN solutions to exchange IP traffic between sites on the same network. This big bet for Windstream will also be a key differentiator for the struggling telco because there is currently no easy way for enterprises to mix-and-match SDWAN hardware produced by different vendors on their WANs. Although Windstream offered no timeframe on integrating the Fortinet and VeloCloud SDWAN solutions in their Cloud Core Network, their strategy is clear. Federating traffic coming from a VeloCloud box to a Fortinet box and vice versa on Windstream’s nationwide network gives enterprises a new secure, scalable, and flexible option for SDWAN.