BT launches SD-WAN service Agile Connect

BT has announced that its SD-WAN service Agile Connect, developed using BT and Nokia technology, is now offering services to new and existing customers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telecommunications provider BT has launched its software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) service Agile Connect, which it said is aimed at helping large businesses with their digital transformation.

The SD-WAN product makes use of software-defined networking (SDN) to determine the most efficient route for network traffic, and is powered by both BT and Nokia technology.

According to BT, Agile Connect will enable customers to have oversight and greater control over their infrastructure and traffic flows with a more time- and cost-efficient way of managing their networks.

Customers are able to prioritise business applications across the network via the use of a self-serve portal. BT said new sites can be set up in minutes rather than months as a result, adding that the service can also be used to integrate network connections following a merger or acquisition.

The Agile Connect product includes BT controller infrastructure hosted online and on BT's multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) network, using BT's pre-built MPLS internet gateways for cloud connectivity between internet- and MPLS-connected sites.

"Its dynamic routing allows organisations to meet bandwidth demand by making it significantly easier to introduce new access services to their network or by making better use of what previously were back-up connections," BT added.

"Together, these features save customers from having to undertake time-consuming and costly design, delivery, and ongoing maintenance of controllers, interconnection gateways, security and monitoring systems critical to the performance of a SD-WAN."

Currently delivered as a single box at the edge of the network, BT Agile Connect will also add support for virtual network functions (VNFs) later down the track to avoid having to deploy multiple boxes.

Agile Connect equipment is live already on the networks of "several large global organisations", BT said, and is now ready to deploy for other customers.

BT Agile Connect is the third phase of its Dynamic Network Services portfolio, which also comprises bandwidth on demand and on-demand virtual services.

The first stage enables customers to turn up and down the speeds they're using at will under consumption-based pricing, which is aimed at aiding the increasing uptake of cloud solutions.

The second phase will see "purely virtual" products, cloud service nodes, and technologies launch by mid-2018, with such network services able to be switched on and off as and where needed by companies, and will be charged via hourly usage, BT told ZDNet in May.

At the time, BT said its Agile Connect suite would be joined by Cisco intelligent WAN (IWAN) products in the future.

BT is also focusing on network security, last week announcing the launch of a global cybersecurity research and development (R&D) centre in Sydney alongside the New South Wales government.

The NSW government's Jobs for NSW invested AU$1.67 million in support of the centre, the state's Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said, with BT making a AU$2 million investment in capital infrastructure ahead of a "multimillion investment" to employ cybersecurity specialists.

BT had in May told ZDNet that it was undertaking much of its ongoing development on its new cybersecurity platform out of its Australian R&D arm.

Its Assure Cyber Platform makes use of both a computerised element, which uses learning algorithms to sort through the data and learn from it, in addition to a human element to combine creative attention to detail with the "relentless efficiency" of computers.

"At least for now, you can't replace people," BT told ZDNet.

"People have an uncanny knack to spot odd things ... so we have a load of visualisation software that we put on the front of the data lake, and it allows human operators to literally visualise on big screens what this thing is."

Earlier this month, BT also announced its new cloud-based "business-platform-as-a-service" offering, which is aimed at speeding up the time it takes businesses to go to market with digitised services.

BT said the new platform, labelled the BT Personalised Compute Management System (PCMS), allows customers to access, purchase, and bring their own digital services to market within 12 weeks.

It utilises BT's "cloud of clouds" solution, which connects customers to cloud collaboration apps, security services, third-party datacentres, customer datacentres, and third-party cloud services including Cisco, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, HPE, Salesforce, Equinix, Google, and IBM Softlayer.

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