Dubai-409038_1280.jpg

EMEA Carriers Embrace SD-WAN

WAN Summit

By Erik KreifeldtApr 26, 2018

Share

Europe was initially slower than North America to adopt SD-WAN. But in recent years the technology has caught on and spread to the broader Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region. This was among the many observations made by Nuage Networks' Johan Witters during his session on SD-WAN use cases in EMEA at WAN Summit Dubai earlier this spring.

U.S. enterprises initially drove SD-WAN adoption to reduce what they paid service providers for connectivity, Witters noted. Subsequently, U.S. service providers launched their own SD-WAN offerings, but according to Witters, those offerings are not as tightly integrated as the ones launched by providers in Europe.

In Europe, “all major players [have an] integrated solution,” Witters said, referring to an end-to-end offering that is integrated into the service provider’s other systems.

In Europe, “all major players [have an] integrated solution,” Witters said, referring to an end-to-end offering that is integrated into the service provider’s other systems.

Those offerings have been well accepted. BT and Telefonica, for example, have many potential deals in their pipelines. Early adopters tend to be companies with international locations because, as compared to traditional MPLS options, SD-WAN gets new locations up and running more quickly, he noted.

Witters took a closer look by sharing his experiences with Nuage-supported SD-WAN offerings from BT, Telia, Telefonica, and Etisalat.

BT’s Agile Connect

British network operator BT dubs its SD-WAN offering "Agile Connect.” As Witters explained, BT based the offering on five pillars:

  • Hybrid VPN Capability. Customer locations get two uplinks connected to internet or MPLS.
  • Application-Aware Routing. The service routes traffic dynamically over either link based on customer requirements.
  • Application Visibility. “You can see up to the application level which [traffic] to send where,” Witters said.
  • Centralized Policy Management. Using a portal, authorized users at BT customer enterprises can control locations throughout the network.
  • Service Chaining.

“It’s a self-install type of service,” said Witters of Agile Connect.

Authorized enterprise users can set up new locations using the Agile Connect portal, a capability that is valuable for organizations operating globally. Traditionally, “the time to get a site set up internally is huge,” Witters explained.

Agile Connect, he says, can cut down that time.

Telia SD-WAN

An important capability for many enterprises is the ability to let enterprise customers retain existing MPLS service at certain locations, while using SD-WAN for other locations.

Witters used the term “brown field” to describe scenarios in which companies are adding SD-WAN offerings to existing MPLS-focused businesses.

Providing the ability to mix MPLS and SD-WAN locations is one of several key use cases supported by Swedish network operator Telia’s SD-WAN offering. Telia, Witters said, was one of the first service providers in Europe to launch an SD-WAN offering.

Providing the ability to mix MPLS and SD-WAN locations is one of several key use cases supported by Swedish network operator Telia’s SD-WAN offering. Telia, Witters said, was one of the first service providers in Europe to launch an SD-WAN offering.

Key features of the Telia SD-WAN offering include:

  • Automation and Self-Service. Telia offers a customer portal that supports policy control and zero-touch provisioning.
  • Security. IPSec encryption, Layer 4 and Layer 7 firewall, URL filtering.
  • Advanced Visibility. Packet loss, delay, jitter, and more.
  • Service Integration. Virtual network functions in customer premises equipment, service chaining to cloud.
  • Traffic Steering. Application-aware routing, egress quality of service.
  • Network Configuration. LAN and WAN segmentation. Full mesh and hub and spoke.

Telefonica Group’s flexWAN

Telefonica calls its SD-WAN offering Telefonica “flexWAN.”

This offering includes a customer portal that customers can use to get a monthly quote. Telefonica said it will design and define the solution that best fits the customer’s technical and economic requirements. Additionally, it will deliver, install, and provision all hardware and software and will provide end-to-end maintenance, support, and management of the service.

Customers can get service at data rates up to 1,300 Mbps.

“What we’re trying to do is to make things consumable,” said Witters. Just as consumers are accustomed to seeing apps on their smartphone, business users want business applications to be more consumable, he said.

Etisalat

Enterprises in the Middle East are demanding SD-WAN just like their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe, Witters said.

Emirates Telecommunication Group Company, which operates under the brand name Etisalat, offers SD-WAN as part of its “Sahaab Program” to move network services to the cloud. Etisalat provides service to 140 million subscribers in 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

According to Nuage Networks, Etisalat is the first carrier in the Middle East/Africa region to provide automated, dynamic programmable network services to its enterprise customers with self-service ordering and service configuration.

Enterprise branches will receive SD-WAN service via x86-based customer premises equipment, according to Nuage.

Lessons Learned

There were a handful of takeaways for WAN Summit attendees following Witters’ presentation:

  1. SD-WAN is taking off in the EMEA region.
  2. App consumption requires an end-to-end approach.
  3. Carrier SD-WAN deployments must be carrier-grade.
  4. Carrier SD-WAN deployments should support a “brown field” approach that harmonizes with an installed base of MPLS.
  5. Partners and distribution are critical. SD-WAN is not just a technology solution. For instance, enterprises often use SD-WAN services to connect to the cloud, so it’s important for data centers to accommodate SD-WAN-enabled automation that allows users to easily consume cloud-based applications.

 

Up Next

Ethernet Connects Thomson Reuters and Customers Worldwide. Thomson Reuters determined that moving to an Ethernet WAN would be the best fit. Here's how they did it.

Challenges and Opportunities for SD-WAN Development. In this webinar, Snehal Patel from Gap Inc, joins Greg Bryan to discuss the Gap's SD-WAN implementation project. Watch now.

Erik Kreifeldt

Erik Kreifeldt

Erik is a Principal Analyst within TeleGeography's pricing team. As part of the team that tracks the global market for enterprise and wholesale network services, Erik manages TeleGeography's bandwidth pricing research, specializing in European and Middle Eastern markets.

Connect with Erik