By and large solution providers have never really embraced wide area networking because historically carriers have not enabled them to have much visibility into network traffic flowing across their networks. Gaining that visibility would require having a relationship with a carrier, who all too often was also trying to resell equipment into many of the same accounts as the solution provider. The end result was many solution providers tended to treat anything to do with WANs as something to be handled in a way that puts as much distance as possible between them and the carriers.

But with the rise of cloud computing new ways of provisioning WAN services have emerged. VeloCloud Networks, for example, makes it possible to set up software-defined WANs based on aggregated network services.

The Mountain View, California-based company took that concept a step further today via the addition of support for a policy engine on its namesake service and the signing of new alliances with Websense and Zscaler. Via these relationships, VeloCloud Networks is making possible to extend data protection and security policies across the WAN.

By leveraging network virtualization services in the cloud, VeloCloud Networks CEO Sanjay Uppal said the company plans to build an ecosystem around its cloud service that will make it much easier for solution providers of all types to invoke a wide variety of WAN services without having to, for example, backhaul certain classes of network traffic.

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Cloud computing by definition involves WANs of one type or another. Unfortunately, creating a WAN and then optimizing the usage of that WAN on an ongoing basis has proven to be both complex and frustrating. In addition, the characteristics of an application tend to change over time. An application that once only required Internet access can suddenly need a level of service that can only be provided over a leased line. Uppal said that VeloCloud Networks is designed to allow solution providers to dynamically aggregate all WAN services in a way that gives solution providers a lot of flexibility without necessarily having to tie themselves to one particular carrier.

The best way to retain maximize control over any account is to be the central point of control through which those services are delivered. With network virtualization rapidly become a service solution providers now not only have the ability to play one carrier off another more easily, they can do so in a way that doesn’t necessarily require the end customers to even be aware of which carrier is being used to deliver a particular service at any given in point in time. As long as the terms of the quality of service are being met, most customers might not even care how their data got from one place to another.

The great irony of all this, of course, is that despite many prognostications to the contrary the combination of network virtualization and cloud computing services just might wind up giving solution providers across the channel more control over application and network services than they ever had before.