Australia's Telstra has launched a global SDN platform that will allow international customers to order various network services on demand.
Taking advantage of the new offering, organizations would be able to match bandwidth needs to specific routes and applications and to have a network service up and running in just a fraction of the time it normally takes.
The SDN platform is the first service that Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) has introduced since completing its US$700 million takeover of Asia's Pacnet last week. (See Telstra Completes Acquisition of Pacnet.)
With an extensive network of data centers and undersea cable infrastructure, Pacnet is providing much of the technology and expertise that underpins the new Telstra platform.
The Asian player introduced a network-as-a-service (NaaS) capability in November 2013 under its Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN) brand, which has now been subsumed into Telstra's product portfolio.
Telstra says it has added nine new points of presence to the 16 that Pacnet was already using to support the PEN platform.
Caroline Chappell, a principal analyst of NFV and cloud technologies at Heavy Reading, says Telstra's move will add major scale to Pacnet's NaaS capability. "PEN was only available through Pacnet in a handful of Asian countries, but now it's part of Telstra, both can -- and have obviously already started to -- leverage Telstra's global network and points of presence," she says.
By using NFV technology, Telstra says it will be able to respond more quickly to "unforeseen network resource requirements," allowing customers to order appliances such as routers and firewalls on demand.
"Network provisioning is completely automated and services that traditionally take weeks can be provisioned in minutes," said Darrin Webb, Telstra's chief operating officer for global enterprise and services, in a company statement.
The high-profile launch of a NaaS offering could spur similar moves by other global carriers in the months ahead, according to Chappell.
"A major global operator like Telstra backing NaaS will certainly put pressure on competitors to follow suit," she says. "NTT Communications comes closest in terms of NaaS capability following its acquisition of Virtela, but AT&T, BT, Orange, Verizon et al need to get their skates on."
Reporting results for the last six months of 2014, Telstra said it expected the Pacnet acquisition to double the scale of its enterprise business in Asia.
Pacnet generated EBITDA of $111 million on revenues of $472 million in 2013 and last year served about 2,400 enterprise customers and 220 carriers.
Besides its 109 points of presence and 29 data centers, the company operates around 46,420 kilometers of submarine cable.
The opportunity to provide bandwidth-on-demand services through investment in SDN and NFV technologies is attracting growing interest from various multinational operators and emerged as a main discussion point at the recent MPLS SDN World Congress in Paris. (See Bandwidth On-Demand Raises Business Model Concerns.)
Sweden's Telia Company is one operator that believes the use of SDN and NFV could open up a whole new market, allowing carriers to provide corporate WAN-like services to small and midsized enterprise customers. "TeliaSonera is currently investigating what it can do in that market," said Youcef Ayad, a senior global product manager for the Scandinavian player, during the Paris event.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading