Digital Realty and BT team to unlock data value with NaaS

Comms provider teams with datacentre, colocation and interconnection solutions firm for network as a service combined with orchestration platform to offer flexibility and choice when connecting digital hubs to unlock data value

In a move that is said to empower enterprises with on-demand, personalised experiences, BT is rolling out its Global Fabric network as a service (NaaS) in strategic carrier-neutral facilities (CNFs) of Digital Realty around the world.

Launched in October 2023, Global Fabric is said to represent a generational shift in technology, based on enabling business customers to innovate at pace. It is designed to connect the multiple clouds businesses use for their applications and data with users, such as customers and employees, and will allow them to gain access to new digital automation and artificial intelligence (AI) products.

Running on the network underlay will be an AI-powered digital orchestration layer. BT guarantees that Global Fabric will be deterministic, supplying customers with a predictable application experience they expect by selecting the optimal end-to-end paths for their applications and workloads as they move to and between multiple clouds and users.

Options will include a BT-enhanced internet service, point-to-point Ethernet, multi-point Ethernet and MPLS, and these will be offered in bandwidth increments of 1Mbps up to 100Gbps. Connectivity will be interchangeable on the same port, offering flexibility that BT said is not possible on current networks.

Digital Realty operates over 300 CNFs across six continents, in more than 25 countries and over 50 metros. These bring together cloud and software-as-a-service providers in a single location to offer customers a datacentre platform that can act as a digital hub, bringing together technology and data to create the intelligence to support digital transformation. 

The partnership is designed to enable customers to unlock the full value of their data by making it easier for employees to access it securely and compliantly across the business. It builds on BT’s existing ability to offer customers Digital Realty hosting and colocation services, which will be available through the Global Fabric marketplace. In addition, the collaboration will aim to provide IT leaders with instant, centralised control of connectivity for optimal performance and user experience, reduce total costs and help ensure compliance.

By offering Global Fabric connectivity within and between CNFs, the partners will look to allow businesses to choose and create instantly the right type of connections for their applications and data, and layer on security services to make it easier to share across the business. This includes choosing the routes workloads take as they cross the network to optimise the experience for employees wherever they are.

With this control, BT said businesses can achieve the best application performance and costs while addressing growing cyber security threats and future regulations on data in transit.

“Businesses deploying cloud services locally benefit from proximity to customers and suppliers. For large organisations, more value can be unlocked if local data can be brought together centrally in a secure and compliant way to create new insights,” said Colin Bannon, chief technology officer for business at BT.

“With data volumes surging, CIOs need greater control of data flows. The combination of Global Fabric and Digital Realty can help customers unlock value from data by stopping local data hubs from becoming digital black holes,” he added.

Harm Joosse, global head of strategy and business development, service providers, at Digital Realty, added: “By integrating into Digital Realty’s global datacentre platform, PlatformDIGITAL, customers address data gravity challenges by bringing users and clouds to the data with BT’s Global Fabric connectivity, controls and policy management.

“BT’s innovative network-as-a-service solution, combined with Digital Realty’s orchestration platform, ServiceFabric empowers enterprises with on-demand, personalised experiences, ultimately revolutionising the way networks are used and managed.”

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