After ten years of building its SDN network, NTT announced today that it has deployed the world's largest SD-WAN footprint across more than 190 countries.
"I think we're the first global service provider to have achieved a 100% software-defined network," said Ron Haigh, president of the NTT Com Global Enterprise Business Unit. "It allows us to deliver a lot of these overlay SD-WAN services."
NTT Communications Corp.
Ron Haigh, president of NTT Com Global Enterprise Business Unit, says NTT has the largest SD-WAN deployment in the world.
is offering two types of SD-WAN. The first is premises-based and relies on white boxes or univeral CPE in customers' branch offices. NTT has partnered with ten different SD-WAN
vendors, but doesn't say which ones it's working with. The ten partners give end users flexibility in choosing their premises equipment, Haigh said.
Haigh said that one element that makes the premises-based SD-WAN service unique is that NTT has partnered with more than 1,000 local or large ISPs to provide connectivity. Those partnerships give the premises-based SD-WAN service its worldwide reach.
"We're also allowing customers to use any of the existing Internet connectivity that they have," Haigh said. "If they want to use the Internet connectivity they already have or buy it themselves, that's fine. We can let them have that relationship with the local ISP and we can manage the solution for them. We can mix and match."
One of the advantages of using SD-WAN is that it lets enterprises put more critical applications on more costly MPLS circuits or less critical applications on the public internet. With NTT's premises-based SD-WAN, the SD-WAN router -- along with pre-set policies -- in the branch office can see when there is network degradation and dynamically reroute the traffic. Because of the global SDN network, Haigh said, the company's SD-WAN traffic can bypass Internet peering and congestion points.
In addition to MPLS and the public Internet, NTT also provides wireless connectivity options. Haigh said NTT could also virtualize networking equipment such as firewalls and authentication, which would cut down on the number of devices in a branch office.
NTT also has a cloud-based SD-WAN service that can provision traffic around the world via the 75 cloud centers that are connected on its SDN network. The cloud-based SD-WAN service from NTT can optimally connect branch offices globally through cloud applications such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure.
NTT knows that security is top-of-mind for its customers, so it has included cloud-based and premises-based firewalls. For the cloud-based security, the company offers URL filtering, intrusion protection and Secure Web Gateways.
"We have our Secure Web Gateways that are within our cloud that are distributed around the world. We can enable secure branch office connectivity through those gateways," Haigh said.
In addition to multiple security features, NTT has also included real-time streaming analytics that can report problems within 60 seconds of acquiring the raw data. Haigh said the industry standard is 15 to 20 minutes. There's also a DVR-like feature that allows NTT and its customers to look at past network performance problems, which Haigh said was "almost impossible previously for IT managers and CIOs."
NTT's SDN journey
NTT started developing its SDN-based network more than ten years ago, according to Haigh. The company's SDN efforts were boosted by its acquisition of Virtela. While some large carriers focused initially on using SDN internally, Haigh said NTT's SDN focus was always external.
"Our focus has always been 'How do we make SDN deliver additional capabilities to end customers?'" Haigh said. "A lot of the large carriers are using SDN to automate their backend processes to make them more efficient from an operational perspective but that doesn’t drive direct value to the enterprise user environment. We've always been focused on SDN capabilities that we can deliver to our customers."
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation