In order to help its customers tune up bandwidth when and where they need it, Telstra recently beefed up its SDN capabilities on its network-as-a-service (Naas) platform.
The new SDN features, which were announced in January, are part of Telstra's Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN) NaaS services. (See Telstra Rolls Out New SDN Services.) By using PEN Exchange, organizations can identify and connect their network services in an on-demand mode with other PEN customers. The new connections were designed to deliver faster, easier and more secure digital partnerships.
Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) boosted its business presence when it bought Asia's Pacnet last year for $700 million. (See Telstra Completes Acquisition of Pacnet.) In 2015, Pacnet had 16 points of presence (PoPs) but that number had grown to 26 under Telstra's auspices.
In addition to the PEN Exchange, Telstra also announced another new feature called "PEN Marketplace," which lets customers order up virtual network functions, including virtual firewalls and routers, from an online portal.
Jim Clarke, Telstra's Head of International Products and Pricing, recently provided more details on the new SDN services with Telco Transformation.
Telco Transformation: Were the new SDN services developed in-house or with vendors?
Jim Clarke: There are various components and services that enable an SDN implementation. For our Telstra PEN platform, an in-house DevOps team led the platform development using agile techniques for continuous integration and delivery.
We also work with a variety of vendors for data plane switching, orchestration and inventory systems, customized OpenStack implementation and UI development.
TT: Is this working in tandem with VNFs?
JC: Yes. Last month we launched PEN Marketplace, a simple online portal, which allows organizations to instantly order virtual network functions -- such as firewalls and routers -- on-demand and based on their preferred vendor.
With a variety of virtual network functions now accessible through the PEN Marketplace, customers no longer have to wait for the delivery and installation of hardware appliances, rather they have the power to manage their applications virtually and across multiple countries simultaneously.
Additionally, being able to order virtual applications based on specific business requirements at specific times, means customers can also avoid over-provisioning and consequently, unnecessary costs.
TT: How is software enabling the NaaS service? Is there an SDN controller that sits somewhere?
JC: The Telstra PEN Platform is based on a centralized SDN controller, that has complete end-to-end visibility of the network and controls flow deployment including service chaining for NFV on the OpenStack platform.
TT: What are the bandwidth options for PEN, and how quickly can they be turned up and turned down?
JC: The standard bandwidth available for a customer is 1Mb to 10Gb for Layer 2 services across 26 Points of Presence globally. We also offer Layer 1 services up to 100Gb in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
Customers can dial bandwidth for as little as one hour or as long as three years, depending on their workloads.
TT:Do you have some examples of the virtual applications that are being offered?
JC: Some of the common use cases include:
Automated connections to various public and private cloud end-points via PEN Exchange. Using the PEN Exchange, organizations can identify and connect their network circuits on-demand with other PEN customers, driving faster, easier and more secure digital partnerships.
Level two connectivity between any of our 26 PoPs globally, along with three different real-time latency parameters to serve various enterprise application needs such as "low," "standard" and "best effort."
Virtual network functions via PEN Marketplace, such as virtual routers and virtual firewalls.
— Mike Robuck, editor, Telco Transformation