Martello NEWS : 2019

Not-All-SD-WANs-Are-Created-Equal

SDX Central

May 14, 2019

Ali Longwell

As SD-WAN surges toward maturity and more companies join the market, separating the hype and buzzwords from the actual technology is getting more difficult.

John Proctor, president and CEO of Martello Technologies, told SDxCentral in an interview that “the SD-WAN market is still fairly new, but the maturity is coming, as is a real understanding that not all SD-WANs are equal. And people ought to be more discerning in what they want and what they expect from their SD-WAN.”

Sébastien Tellier, product marketing manager at Martello, said that to separate all the buzzwords in the market companies need to evaluate an SD-WAN for its capabilities and ability to interoperate with their legacy tech and equipment. Knowing the different modules and approaches for vendors so companies can select a vendor that answers their specific needs is also critical, Tellier said.

“What we’ve been seeing in the market is when a lot of vendors talk about zero-touch provisioning, what they in fact mean is that it will be zero-touch provisioning if you the client fit into the very, very narrow alleyway that we built for you,” said Tellier. “But they have a fabulous marketing effort going on, so for themselves that’s very good.”

The answer for vendors, Tellier says, is to meet a wide variety of specific use cases in a modular approach. An approach that is “modular and that can adapt to these different, moving, evolving environments like IoT or autonomous vehicles” is important, he said.

Modular SD-WAN services can easily add and remove links, add or remove services from the priority queue, and add support for services not yet here, Tellier said. “You can be ready for the 5G when it does arrive around the world, you can be ready to add vehicles to your WAN, it’s all about what the clients need — if they require to have real-time traffic like unified communications, if they have several IT management systems in their IT infrastructure — it needs to be taken into account.”

This will also enable businesses to scale to future infrastructure needs, says Proctor. “Everyone throws these buzzwords at you (big data, machine learning, 5G), but really all that means for us is more pressure on the network. All those good disruptive technologies just mean the network has to work harder,” he said. “You’ve got to make it really somewhat realistic in terms of how you’re going to connect.”

For companies considering SD-WAN, Proctor and Tellier had a few other tips to ensure the service will deliver on intended outcomes. One, know the business problem you are trying to solve and what your objective is. Two, identify deal breakers and know what network disruptions you can tolerate— for example, reconfiguring your network to install the SD-WAN. Three, make sure the provider has real-life experience in WANs. Four, consider how you will need the offering to scale in the future. And five, if possible see if the provider’s end users are renewing their contracts year after year.

Martello Technologies is an Ottawa-based SD-WAN and performance management provider. The company went public last September on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange. And in January 2018, it launched its own SD-WAN platform, Atlas, as a result of its acquisition of Elfiq Networks. Atlas is a subscription-based SD-WAN service. It includes a hardware platform called Edge, a VPN called Stream, and a firewall. And in recent months it has been using its SD-WAN tech to optimize IoT network operations and systems.

According to Proctor, the differentiating factor of Martello’s SD-WAN is its expertise in real-time services and its Layer 2 implementation. “[Organizations] don’t need a generic SD-WAN, they need a simple, better way of managing WAN, which becomes critical in that mobile environment,” he said, referring to the upcoming network requirements for technologies like IoT and 5G.

Layer 2 SD-WAN Design

This Layer 2 design leverages Martello’s strength in link balancing and network optimization, claims Proctor.

“When we talk about Layer 2, we are referring to the data link layer of the OSI model. The OSI model is a layered approach to network communications, where Layer 1 is the physical layer and Layer 7 is the application layer.” he added. “Many products on the market today have opted for an easy way to approach link balancing, by using Layer 4 (transport layer). This method enables rapid development of solutions but has its drawbacks in functionality and performance.”

Among the benefits of the approach, according to Proctor, are universal compatibility with all equipment including firewalls, routers, and switches (which negates the need for reconfiguration); wire-speed transmission of data packets; easy link addition and configuration; support for all IP links; secure network operations as the unit is transparent to the internet; no need for internet service provider involvement for configuration or management; and no need for border gateway protocol (BGP) programming or equipment.

It also makes the companies investment in SD-WAN worthwhile, Proctor noted. For many companies it’s important “to be able to drop an SD-WAN appliance into a network and have it perform the needed function without significant change to the existing setup, otherwise it’s too costly to install and our Layer 2 design does that.”

While Martello SD-WAN can work alongside existing network hardware, it also has the ability to replace some (if desired) as companies seek to consolidate their network operations. “We play along with other vendors, but also have the ability to replace them,” said Proctor.

Martello also has the ability to optimize traffic, perform switching and routing functions, perform geographic link failover, and act as a stateful firewall and VPN gateway.

“The first step to consolidation is interoperability. If the SD-WAN equipment you’re deploying interoperates with other technologies, then it becomes easier to replace or remove that pre-existing technology,” said Proctor. He describes Martello’s technology as something that “can grow in terms of functionality as the organization’s needs evolve.”

Posted By: IoTNow

May 10, 2019

Recently an ‘IoT Breakfast’ brought together CIOs and CEOs to ask the question: How can businesses thrive as the Internet of Things (IoT) changes the landscape? The message was clear: IoT is upon us and failing to prepare means you should prepare to fail.

What can CIOs do to position their businesses for IoT success? Sebastien Tellier, the manager of product marketing at Martello Technologies says it starts with thinking differently about the role your network plays in your business.

The challenge

IoT is the connectivity of an increasing number of everyday devices to the internet, from consumer and household devices, to commercial and industrial devices, as well as the preparation for autonomous vehicles. Experts are predicting that we will have 25 billion connected devices globally by 2021, and in the future, we can expect thousands of devices per human on the planet.

This change is going to be rapid, and all we have to do is look back to appreciate how fast IoT will happen. In 1986 we started out with 1G voice communication. By 2012 we had fast data, true mobile internet on our devices. In present day our next step is 5G and that will open a world of possibilities, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities and a multitude of real-time, interconnected applications running at the same time.

However, today’s networks are already strained by the growth and popularity of real-time applications such as video conferencing, online collaboration tools, video streaming services, and real time file sharing. In the future, these demands will only grow. Demand for bandwidth to accommodate these services is exploding, and with multiple real-time services making demands on the network simultaneously, the threat of downtime is real.

IoT will magnify this problem if businesses don’t take steps to prepare their networks: some IoT applications are uniquely challenging because both capacity and demand are variable, such as maintaining connectivity in a moving autonomous vehicle.  This makes it difficult to detect and allocate resources, manage capacity and deliver performance.

The solution

Efficient and well managed networks will become a competitive advantage for businesses as IoT takes hold. Previously considered a cost-saving necessity, these networks will soon become a value broker, a route to access markets. A network that is built on a solid foundation will rise to meet this challenge and position your business for success in the future. How do you achieve an efficient and well-managed network?

Sebastien Tellier

To a great extent, the same strategy that manages the performance of real-time services on today’s networks is what will position your network for IoT success. Here are the things you should be thinking about as you prepare for the future:

  1. Carrier and technology diversity– distributing traffic across multiple carrier links improves performance, reduces the dependence on a single provider and delivers redundancy.
  2. Prioritise real-time traffic– Technologies like the ones developed by Martello can prioritise real-time communications by relying on extensive experience in unified communications (UC) performance management.
  3. Know the limitations of MPLS– Our SD-WAN technology can assist in multi-site deployments where connectivity, uptime and VPN performance are important, improving connectivity and performance limitations of MPLS.
  4. Networks should be scalable and minimise IT personnel intervention– Building for IoT means creating scalable and adaptable networks. By minimising the need for IT intervention, you can reduce costs and become more efficient.

By building a service aware network, you can use performance analytics and testing to identify faults. SD-WAN, among many other network optimising solutions, can be used to optimise utilisation and performance of system and network resources in near real-time.

The author, Sebastien Tellier is the manager of Product Marketing at Martello Technologies

About the author 

The author, Sebastien Tellier is the manager of Product Marketing at Martello Technologies, a network solutions provider based in Ottawa, with offices in Montreal, Amsterdam and Paris. Martello’s products, which include SD-WAN technology, network performance management software, and IT analytics software monitor, manage and optimise the performance of real-time applications on networks, while giving IT teams and service providers control and visibility of their entire IT infrastructure.

BY: David Sali
PUBLISHED: 
John Proctor

The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Kuala Lumpur is offering Martello Technologies’ potential clients the ultimate try-before-you-buy experience this week.

John Proctor, the CEO of the Kanata-based software firm, is hosting business meetings at the posh hotel in Malaysia’s capital city. Martello, in its first full year as a publicly traded firm, is making an aggressive push into Southeast Asia ​– and it’s not hurting Proctor’s cause that his home base for the week already happens to be a Martello customer.

“It’s hard to come here if you just have an idea of a product ​– if you don’t have references, you don’t have case studies, you can’t say where you’ve done it before,” he told OBJ in an interview Wednesday morning.

“It’s kind of nice to stay in your client’s hotel. It takes a lot of noise out. Most of our meetings are at the hotel and we say, ‘Yes, you’re connected to the internet with us at the moment. This is the case study.’”

One of the fastest-growing firms in the Kanata North tech park, Martello makes software that helps customers detect and troubleshoot problems in their high-speed communications networks. The company – which went public via a reverse takeover last September – now employs nearly 100 people, about half of them in Ottawa and the rest at offices in Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Dallas and New York.

Martello is already a major global player, selling its software in 150 countries and generating nearly two-thirds of its revenues in its most recent quarter from foreign sales. Proctor says he expects that ratio to grow as a result of new partnerships in Asia, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, where the firm is currently pursuing a deal with a government client.

“It’s kind of that Canadian company thing. We are more successful outside Canada than we are in (it),” he said. “I was saying to somebody the other day it’s easier to sell into Africa than it is to the City of Ottawa.”

Proctor says Martello is seeing big gains in the hotel space, where network connectivity and security are paramount. The company recently signed the Fairmont and Accor brands to its roster of more than 5,000 customers.

“If you’re a GM of a hotel, the most complaints you get are about the internet,” he explained. “We offer a solution that solves a lot of those bandwidth and real-time sharing issues, where things like Netflix and Zoom are really straining the bandwidth coming out.”

Banks and other large institutions are also key verticals for Martello, which added the U.S. Postal Service, the United Nations and KPMG to its list of recent wins. Proctor said the company recently competed head-to-head with a U.S. software giant for a contract with a national bank in South America and came out on top.

IoT and autonomous vehicles

Martello is also gaining traction in the burgeoning Internet of Things space, in which a myriad of machines and appliances from fridges to cars wirelessly send information to each other and the world around them.

The firm is currently part of a new program run by BlackBerry QNX, one of the world’s leading producers of software for autonomous vehicles, and Kanata-based accelerator L-Spark.

Martello software is helping ensure that the data being sent to and from self-driving cars via BlackBerry QNX’s platform flows as smoothly and securely as possible. The two companies have been working together for six months on a proof of concept that will be showcased at the new 16-kilometre AV test track off Woodroffe Avenue later this year.

“Bringing that network connectivity to a moving vehicle was a good challenge for us,” Proctor said.

Since forming the partnership with BlackBerry QNX, Martello has been in touch with manufacturers of other forms of transport such as trains and drones about helping to ensure their network connections stay in good running order.

“We’re talking about a moving IoT environment,” Proctor said. “As soon as you’ve done it once with QNX and you’ve proven that the system works, you get very good access to a multi-platform environment – trains and drones just being two examples.”

When you’re growing as fast as Martello, one of the biggest challenges is fighting the temptation to bite off more than you can chew, the veteran tech executive added.

“You only take on the big projects you can manage one at a time,” he cautioned. “If you try and do too many things too quickly, you will have problems. When you’re going to do something like this, you have to do it really, really well because quite often in the IT world, you don’t get a second chance. If it doesn’t work the first time, there are a lot of other options out there.”

Proctor remains bullish on Martello’s “build-and-buy” strategy that combines organic growth with well-timed acquisitions. He said the firm has pretty much finished integrating its two most recent buys, Montreal’s Elfiq Networks and Dutch IT analytics firm Savision BV, into its operations, adding Martello is looking closely at new targets ranging from smaller “tuck-ins” to more substantial deals.

“We’re quite pleased with what’s in the (M&A) pipeline,” he said. “Now it’s just a question of really getting through the due diligence part and having those tough conversations.”

Proctor knows this is a big year for Martello, which is in the critical process of maturing out of its startup phase. Being located in a tech mecca means there is no shortage of seasoned entrepreneurs who’ve been there and done that to provide friendly guidance when it’s needed, he noted.

“The nice thing about being in Ottawa is, there’s an awful lot of people we can go talk to,” he said. “Nobody’s too busy to have a coffee when we ask, ‘How did you deal with this?’ I think that’s a great statement on the nature of the Ottawa business community.”