Service Provider Cloud

Swisscom Taps PlumGrid SDN for OpenStack Cloud Services

Swisscom is deploying PlumGrid overlay SDN in its OpenStack cloud services, to increase flexibility and manageability for its enterprise customers.

The Swiss service provider, which has been testing PlumGrid for two and a half years, is moving the software into production across the breadth of its services, Stephan Massalt, VP cloud, Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) Cloud Labs, tells Light Reading. (See Swisscom Embraces OpenStack With PlumGrid.)

Swisscom launched its cloud service three years ago, for both enterprise customers and internal use, running customer applications as well as Swisscom's own NFV, VNFs and telco applications, says Massalt. Swisscom offers infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), mostly based on VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) based on CloudFoundry and OpenStack.

The public cloud service is worldwide, built on systems inside Switzerland for regulatory compliance and data privacy.

Swisscom will deploy PlumGrid across its entire PaaS proposition. Other partners include Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) for OpenStack, EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) ScaleIO for software defined storage, CloudFoundry for cloud applications and ClusterHQ for container storage.

"The big benefit is the ability to deploy private and public solutions, creating multi-tenant solutions for customers," Massalt says. Using the SDN overlay, Swisscom can provide separated environments to its enterprise customers. "We see a lot of customers moving from physical networks to VLANs, using SDN on Layer 3 to gain more flexibility, and that's what we use PlumGrid for," Massalt says.

Additionally, PlumGrid prepares Swisscom for the emergence of container-based infrastructure. PlumGrid is well suited to support both virtual machines, running traditional apps, as well as new applications on containers, Massalt says.

The OpenStack PaaS cloud runs on hardware Swisscom designed itself using standardized components, running all the intelligence in the software layer. "It provides flexibility and with a fixed set of standardized hardware, a lower cost of production," Massalt says. Standardization and flexibility helps reduce operational costs.

Swisscom learned a few lessons during the deployment.

"It's very important that you challenge the products you use, and the technology you use, to ensure enterprise readiness," Massalt says. That extends not just to technology, but also operations and support. "You need to get your organizations changed to use the technologies."

Cloud requires a transition from a helpdesk to self-provisioning, which also requires cultural change. "These are standard in the cloud, but in the service provider business, they are in development," Massalt says.

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How does Swisscom compete with global cloud providers such as Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)'s AWS?

"We compete with value add offered on two levels. We comply with local regulations in Europe," Massalt says. In particular, the Swiss location is a plus. "It gives companies the certainty their data is in good hands."

Secondly, Swisscom is a managed service provider. "We offer our customers more than just the basic infrastructure service," Massalt says. Swisscom offers custom managed services up to the level of complete outsourcing. "We are not focused purely on selling the infrastructure itself -- it's part of the package we sell our customers."

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