Telstra adds virtual SD-WAN to programmable network

The Telstra Programmable Network now includes VeloCloud's SD-WAN solution as a virtual network function thanks to the use of a Juniper Networks Universal CPE device.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has announced a "major platform update" to the Telstra Programmable Network (TPN), partnering with VeloCloud to deploy a virtual branch network software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) solution, with Telstra calling it a first for Asia Pacific.

"Businesses can now shift their branch network into the cloud by deploying a single Juniper Networks Universal CPE device onsite, and using a marketplace of virtual network functions to deploy the required services, all through Telstra Programmable Network," Telstra explained.

The use of a Universal CPE (uCPE) device will allow customers to deploy the TPN to their branch locations, virtualising their physical hardware at each site by enabling VeloCloud's SD-WAN solution to operate as a virtual network function on the TPN ecosystem.

According to Michelle Bendschneider, ED of Telstra Global Products, the SD-WAN solution provides an "intelligent layer" to the flexibility of virtualised networks.

"We are the only company in Australia and across APAC that can offer virtual branch networking, VeloCloud SD-WAN, and zero touch management all in the cloud, powered through Telstra Programmable Network," Bendschneider said, explaining that Telstra is the first APAC company to deploy VeloCloud virtually through SD-WAN.

"Adding VeloCloud as a virtual network function on demand deployed through Programmable Network or a physical appliance allows us to address our customer's needs locally and globally."

Telstra's venture-capital arm had announced a strategic partnership with SD-WAN specialist VeloCloud in March, saying it would be pushing further into software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).

Telstra said it would use VeloCloud's solutions for simplifying and automating enterprise branch SDN functionality, after backing VeloCloud alongside Cisco during a $35 million Series D funding round led by Hermes Growth Partners.

"We expect SDN will continue to transform enterprise networking around the world, and VeloCloud SD-WAN can help companies achieve more agile and responsive networks as well as reduce costs," Telstra Ventures MD Mark Sherman said at the time.

"Our first step will be to offer VeloCloud technology to customers in mainland China."

Telstra had last month revealed that it would be adding virtualised customer premises, placing virtual network functions on-premises, as the next release across TPN before the end of 2017.

Also tipped to be deployed on TPN by the end of the year is Design Wizard for customer-led pre-designed templates, while future releases slated for 2018 would see managed services -- to design, configure, maintain, and manage services -- and dynamic IP for real-time control of IP VPN networks added.

Real-time software-defined wide-area network provisioning and security will also be added to the TPN product suite in future.

Available now on TPN are Datacentre Interconnect; Exchange, to connect to Telstra and partner networks; and Marketplace, to install virtual network functions.

According to Telstra director of Networks Mike Wright, the main goal for TPN is to individualise networks and services for its customers.

"Essentially, we want to be able to program our networks and services by starting with some of the business elements on the side and self-serve whether we want caching, or firewalls, or architectures that are spun up in software, rather than the traditional way," he said in September.

"We want to be able to paint a glass, dial up the functionality for ourselves, and configure the bandwidth and speed of those devices."

Telstra said TPN was primarily developed in Singapore, and launched and tested in APAC with clients in Singapore before being brought into Australia.

It was first announced in May, when Telstra called it a "network-as-a-service" offering via combining its networks, cloud platform, datacentres, NFV, and SDN capabilities in one integrated platform.

TPN provides a user interface for customers to automate and provision services in near real time without needing to upgrade their infrastructure, as well as with access to multiple public cloud services, and is available to Telstra customers across the globe.

Telstra messaging

Telstra on Thursday also announced the introduction of Telstra Messaging, which it said will provide Android customers with access to "popular messaging features" through a single inbox.

Built on Rich Communication Services (RCS), Telstra Messaging includes SMS, MMS, group chat, file sharing, read receipts, and voicemail messages as audio files.

The feature is available to Telstra customers with compatible Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, and S8+ handsets starting this week, with the rollout to occur progressively across additional devices in the next few months.

It will be automatically activated across Telstra's consumer, business, and enterprise customer base, with the functions available while messaging another compatible customer.

"With RCS now established, we're continuing to evolve the network to bring more exciting voice, video, and messaging features to our customers that will integrate directly into handsets, tablets, and computing devices in the future," Telstra head of Product Innovation Jeremy Howe said.

Related Telstra Coverage

Telstra lays out roadmap for programmable network

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Telstra unveils 'network as a service'

The Telstra Programmable Network will enable customers globally to access its networks, cloud platform, datacentres, SDN, and NFV capabilities on one platform.

Telstra adding VeloCloud SD-WAN services to Chinese business

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