Clash Of The SD-WAN Titans: VeloCloud Founder Uppal On Huge Customer Savings And Why Legacy Router Vendors Should Feel Threatened

The Growth Game

As the founder of VeloCloud, the SD-WAN market's top player when it was acquired by virtualization kingpin VMware last year, Sanjay Uppal has a commanding view of a market poised for rapid growth.

For Uppal, the pace at which enterprises are deploying SD-WAN is unprecedented in the history of the market, and is rivaled only by the cost savings driving the rapid adoption. Customers see a 3X cost improvement when they move to SD-WAN, Uppal said, while liberating them from the ties of proprietary hardware and software.

One of the key pieces of hardware coming under threat is the router, Uppal argues, saying legacy router vendors are being forced to play a tenuous game to maintain those legacy businesses while simultaneously pushing the very solutions that could spell their demise.

"Router vendors and anyone selling complicated, custom hardware that goes on the premises of an enterprise has got to be concerned because the revenue stream they have right now is threatened," Uppal said. "Any router vendor would be looking at this saying, 'wait a minute, if I deploy SD-WAN, a lot of my custom hardware business is going to get threatened.' But they cannot afford to not do it, so they're caught in the usual innovator's dilemma, which is the more they push SD-WAN, the more they're going to impact their legacy business."

What follows is an edited excerpt of Uppal's conversation with CRN.