AT&T Spotlights Early SDN Efforts
As part of its announcement that Salesforce.com has joined the AT&T cloud ecosystem, AT&T today is also providing background on how its researchers developed an early version of software-defined networking (SDN) technology to enable its NetBond service, which makes the network as on-demand as the cloud-based services. (See AT&T Brings Salesforce into Cloud Ecosystem.)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s NetBond allows customers to connect to the cloud ecosystem -- now including Salesforce.com Inc. -- via secure connections that appear as another node on their MPLS-based virtual private networks. In addition to offering better performance and security, that network connectivity can be scaled up and down along with the cloud-based compute and software resources, and customers only pay for what they use.
As Chris Rice, vice president, advanced technologies at AT&T Labs, explains in a blog post here, AT&T Labs researchers created an early version of SDN called Intelligent Routing Service Control Point. IRSCP separates software control from the routing hardware, as SDN does, to deliver greater flexibility in routing traffic, and to enable the seamless integration of private VPN networks with the cloud provider's data centers, where compute/storage/applications reside, according to Rice.
The net benefit to AT&T cloud customers is that they get the "inherent advantages of MPLS such as predictable high performance and low latency, on a network that is highly secure because it isn't part of the public Internet, and so is free from DDOS attacks," Rice writes.
Plus, they can save money on networking costs, says Rene Dufrene, assistant vice president of NetBond at AT&T. NetBond, which was launched last year initially with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) (and won a 2013 Leading Lights award), has since been expanded to include connections to CSC, to the Microsoft Azure cloud and to Equinix data centers. (See Microsoft-Nokia & iPhone 5c: What Do They Mean for Smartphone Trends in Emerging Markets? and Light Reading Announces 2013 Leading Lights Winners.)
The addition of Salesforce.com, the first software-as-a-service provider included in the AT&T ecosystem, was a response to requests from current customers, but is also expected to help drive additional AT&T cloud sales. Salesforce is widely used for customer relationship management, covering the sales and support cycle.
"We are working with other major SaaS providers as well, to offer their services as private connectivity through NetBond, which is something that is very attractive to SaaS as well as platform-as-a-service providers," Dufrene says.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading