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BT adds software-defined WAN to enterprise services offering

BT adds Cisco-based software-defined networking capability to its services offering, with retail pharmacist Boots among early customers

BT has launched a Cisco-based software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) service, BT Connect Intelligence IWAN.

The new offering, which integrates Cisco’s intelligent WAN (IWAN) system into BT’s Connect services portfolio, will help enterprises automate the routing and optimisation of their network traffic without having to commit more budget to increasing their bandwidth.

BT claimed the service would help enterprises extract more value from its existing Cloud of Clouds offering by helping them incorporate broader virtualised functions, such as application performance management and security.

BT is pitching the service at large-scale enterprises with distributed international operations, and has lined up a number of customers to launch the service. Retail pharmacist Walgreens Boots Alliance will be among those to launch the service in support of its international operations.

The first generation of the service will offer virtual private network (VPN) capabilities across dispersed sites and different transport technologies, allowing businesses to cut their costs by securely connecting such sites over hybrid networks, including multiprotocol label switching transport profile VPNs (MPLS VPN), private or public internet or mobile.

Applications will be routed across the best path in the hybrid network based on real-time performance, improving overall productivity and user experience, and helping IT teams identify underperforming processes, said BT.

Joel Stradling, research director of business networks and IT services at Current Analysis, said the integration of Cisco IWAN into BT’s Connect portfolio advanced its overall software-defined message.

“BT can leverage new management features built into Cisco IWAN that blend compelling functions, such as dynamic traffic routing on hybrid VPNs, intelligent path control, agility in layering on virtualised network functions, and cost-savings on internet bandwidth. Offering Cisco IWAN worldwide gives BT a head start over its rivals,” he said.

Read more about SD-WANs

Vonage is using technology from SD-WAN startup VeloCloud to up the performance of its cloud-based UC systems.

Enterprises want to drop costly MPLS links, but hesitate to lose the control they provide. SD-WAN offers aa answer and WAN optimisation brings it to life.

Riverbed says its acquisition of Ocedo will accelerate its Project Tiger strategy around next-generation SD-WAN services.

The telco said it saw IWAN as a “key stepping stone” for customers moving towards full network functions virtualisation (NFV) and SDN capabilities.

“For years, we have also been adding intelligence to the network services we provide to our customers. NFV and SDN are part of that drive, and aim at making those services more dynamic and automated,” said BT Global Services vice-president of network services Keith Langridge.

“They pave the way for a new generation of services that are quicker and easier to set up and change. BT Connect Intelligence IWAN leverages the Cisco IWAN system to bring an important new building block in that virtualisation effort.

“It will help our customers worldwide deal much more effectively with ever-increasing bandwidth and traffic optimisation demands, allowing customers to network like never before.”

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)