PHILADELPHIA -- Comcast today announced a significant advancement for enterprise businesses that want to manage their networks, systems and costs across multiple locations, branch offices or data centers. The new platform is called the Comcast Business ActiveCore; SDN platform and is the first cable-delivered, gig-ready SDN platform in the country. Additionally, Comcast announced Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) as the first business product powered by the ActiveCore platform.
Comcast Business has already signed several SD-WAN customers including Jim Ellis Automotive Group in Atlanta, GA., which operates 15 locations across the state with more than 1,000 employees.
"ActiveCore and SD-WAN represent a ‘generational moment' for our industry and are designed for businesses that embrace the consumerization of IT, SaaS and cloud services to run their enterprise operations," said Kevin O'Toole, senior vice president of Product Management for Comcast Business. "We now offer enterprises a robust, future-proof alternative to legacy MPLS solutions; allowing them to easily add capacity to branch offices at scale and unlock the potential of virtualized networks for today's connected economy."
ActiveCore delivers new services and network changes via software rather than through individually-managed and customized hardware. The platform features an embedded orchestration capability, allowing it to seamlessly deliver and manage multiple virtualized network functions (VNF). When combined with an open, extensible IT infrastructure, ActiveCore delivers better application performance, shorter deployment cycles, and greater business agility at lower costs. What's more, the platform provides actionable performance data in a single view for smarter, faster decision making, helping customers quickly identify, troubleshoot and resolve issues across their entire enterprise. ActiveCore can be paired with Comcast's high-performance, DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit broadband service. Comcast's Business Internet 1 Gig service is already available in much of the Northeastern, Mid-Atlantic and Central United States, and will be available to the entire national Comcast service area by the end of 2017.
"In a traditional network, traffic follows a specific path that has to go a specific route to a specific device, and it's difficult to optimize," said Eddie Gonzalez, IT Systems Director, Jim Ellis Automotive Group. "Instead of simply increasing our bandwidth, we found the SD-WAN solution to be a more appealing option because it allowed us to prioritize the traffic we wanted over a separate network connection and choose the quickest path for that traffic. This enabled us to alleviate a significant amount of internal inter-dealership traffic that would usually have to travel through one circuit and could cause congestion on the network."
Comcast Business SD-WAN combines secure IP-VPN, application-aware routing, and a stateful network firewall. This is delivered over the public internet via a carrier-class IP-backbone, leveraging Comcast's broadband solutions. With Comcast Business SD-WAN on the ActiveCore platform, customers can augment or replace their existing network with an alternative providing bandwidth, reliability and flexibility. SD-WAN offers enterprises a powerful and scalable, yet cost-effective, alternative to multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) running over T1 lines. With firewall-secured, branch-level internet connectivity to a public cloud, Comcast Business SD-WAN accelerates performance and can reduce the cost of backhauling data traffic through corporate data centers. Comcast Business plans to add additional ActiveCore VNFs in the near future which complement SD-WAN.
"SD-WAN continues to be attractive to a growing number of enterprises because its software-driven approach gives greater control and flexibility to users without the need for more hardware and costly equipment maintenance and labor," said Rajesh Ghai, Research Director, Carrier Network Infrastructure, IDC. "SD-WAN also reduces the reliance on legacy technologies which will help multi-site enterprises to be more agile in the future as they can support multiple WAN topologies and dynamically deploy a set of features across all of their sites in a faster, more cost-effective manner."