BT taps VMware to launch global SD-WAN services

Incumbent UK telco aims to ensure global customers can benefit from flexibility and choice as they optimise networks for cloud services

BT has announced the launch of a new generation of cloud-optimised managed network services to expand multinational customers’ choice of software-based connectivity systems.

BT noted that traditional wide area networking requires dedicated, proprietary supplier hardware to be installed at each customer site. The new managed service is based on generic hardware capable of supporting a choice of software-based networking systems from different suppliers.

The first service, based on VMware software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), is available to customers globally and already in live deployment.

SD-WAN has been the go-to networking destination for firms over the last couple of years. The Masergy SD-WAN market trends report from August 2020 found that for the third year running, and with the backdrop of a vast increase in remote working due to the coronavirus, SD-WAN adoption has continued to grow, with an ever-increasing interest in managed and co-managed offerings to navigate the complexities of an integrated network and security system.

The research revealed the challenges posed in a work-from-home environment during the pandemic, with security and business continuity becoming top priorities. It said it was not surprising to see the transformative impact of SD-WAN and increasingly deployed secure access service edge (SASE) systems become the new necessity for achieving secure remote access and reliable performance for cloud applications.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents to the survey (64%) said they were investing more in network infrastructure than they did last quarter, and SD-WAN adoption trends have continued to rise in each study that Masergy has conducted. In 2020, just over half (56%) of respondents said they were piloting, installing or upgrading SD-WAN installations. In 2017, that number was 35%.

BT’s new service can be managed or co-managed remotely by the company on its new digital service platform, which gives customers a single view of their entire network and a choice of management controls.

BT said that with almost 70 different SD-WAN solutions on the market, the choice can be overwhelming, and so it is making consultants available to help customers with the best technology to fit their needs. They will also advise on security, offering a range of options to meet customers’ own security policies.

“Our new managed service further expands customers’ choice of software-defined networking solutions,” said Andrew Small, BT director of global portfolio. “Presently available with industry-leading VMware SD-WAN, it is delivered over our new digital service platform. The solution is fully supported by our consultancy services to help customers maximise the benefits of performance, agility and flexibility for their businesses.”

Sanjay Uppal, senior vice-president and general manager, SASE and SD-WAN business at VMware, added: “We are excited to work with BT to help multinational enterprises around the world with their digital transformation during these unprecedented times and beyond. Together, we are committed to providing customers with a cloud-first, more secure, automated and scalable wide area network.”

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