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Colt Takes Versa on Its SD-WAN Journey

Elizabeth Miller Coyne
10/14/2016
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Versa Networks scored another big customer win this week when Colt Technology Services announced it was using Versa gear to roll out the next phase of its SD-WAN services. This phase includes expansion of Colt's managed SD-WAN service to 13 countries across Europe with more countries in planned in 2017. In addition, this phase adds routing functionality, application visibility and dynamic load balancing with virtual firewall and additional NFV-based capabilities set for the first quarter of 2017.

Previously Colt Technology Services Group Ltd (London: COLT) had implemented hybrid networking, according to Peter Coppens, director of Ethernet & IP Products for Colt.

"We were using a mix of MPLS paths and Internet access paths to connect branch sites using traditional methods [like policy based routing], building organically on our existing platforms," Coppens tells Light Reading. "As an example, the policy based routing was applied at the CPE router, in most cases delivered by Cisco. However, it became clear that this approach did not deliver the benefits we required -- it becomes quickly complex, costly and leads to longer time to market."

For this next phase of its SD-WAN service rollout, Colt decided to go with Versa Networks which recently announced that RCN Corp. Wireless and CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) were both using its software-based solution to deliver SD-WAN and SD-security services. (See Versa Makes Its Mark at CenturyLink and Versa Adds RCN Business to Customer Roster.)

Colt selected Versa from a number of competing platforms after successful proof-of-concepts, said Coppens. "Not all other platforms had the capabilities live already -- sometimes still promised as part of a roadmap," he said. "One of the strengths we believe is the fact that general purpose x86 hardware can be used at the customer site to deliver the functionality, application-style." (See Colt Launches Next Phase of Managed SD-WAN With Versa.)

SD-WAN services are increasingly attractive to service providers looking to keep retain enterprise customers that are rapidly transitioning to digital businesses and requiring more bandwidth in the process. SD-WAN is cost-effective and quick to deploy compared to MPLS which quite the opposite in both cases. (See Will SD-WANs Buck Past Trends?)

Versa's Mark Weiner, chief marketing officer, says Colt is following SD-WAN best practices in that it's using a range of low-cost customer premises equipment and by leveraging the NFV capabilities of the Versa platform to tailor specific to the needs of their customers. In addition, "They bring a wide range of on-net and off-net connectivity throughout Europe," he said, adding that Colt is the company's first announced European customer.

— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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