Global Crossing Upgrading Managed Services

Global Crossing (Nasdaq: GLBC)'s announcement Monday that it will add Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR)'s J series enterprise routers to its managed services offering is a sign of more to come from the service provider. (See Global Crossing Deploys Juniper.)

Later this year, Global Crossing plans to restructure its Managed Network Services (MNS) portfolio, says Dave Siegel, vice president of IP Services Product Management.

"We are going to shift some of the discussion away from hardware to actual services the customers will need, which will give us flexibility to replace hardware as we see fit, based on customers' requirements and where they want to go," Siegel says.

"Global Crossing is beginning the essential though challenging process of moving up the stack from transport to an expanded portfolio of managed services to meet the needs of the most demanding customers," says Berge Ayvazian, senior consultant with Heavy Reading. "This WAN optimization initiative will support cost savings, growth in new accounts, as well as additional service and application solutions."

Managed network services, which hand over router management to a service provider as part of a Virtual Private Network offering, are gaining appeal among global service providers, says Brian Washburn, research director of network services at Current Analysis. But for the most part, service providers are offering larger enterprises similar services, which vary only in the degree of management offered.

"They will typically have a monitoring tier, then a tier that adds hardware support, then a full configuration tier," Washburn says. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s routers are more typically supported as the dominant enterprise router provider, he says, with Juniper routers supported more on a custom basis than as a standard service.

By adding support for Juniper gear, Global Crossing will be more attractive to customers who have deployed Juniper and don't want to be forced to swap out their existing equipment to use a managed service, Washburn says.

Global Crossing is already landing new business based on the addition of Juniper router support, Siegel says.

"Even pre-launch we have done a number of sales with Juniper," Siegel says, adding that Juniper brought one major sports company to Global Crossing, enabling the carrier to win "a substantial contract."

In addition, Global Crossing is adding Wide Area Network (WAN) optimization, using Juniper's WXC Series and WAN technology from Cisco as well, and potentially from other vendors such as Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD).

WAN optimization is an important feature to multinational corporations who often can't get substantial bandwidth in some remote locations, and have to be able to make the most of what is available and prioritize traffic, Washburn says.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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