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.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has announced that it will begin globally offering "network as a service" by combining its networks, cloud platform, datacentres, software-defined networking (SDN), and network function virtualisation (NFV) capabilities in one integrated platform that is has called the Telstra Programmable Network.

According to Telstra, its programmable network will provide a user interface for customers to automate and provision services in near real time and without needing to upgrade their infrastructure, as well as with access to multiple public cloud services.

"The Telstra Programmable Network is designed to help our customers meet the rapidly growing global demand for data and the proliferation of applications, as well as embrace cloud computing by offering flexible and dynamic access to our high-bandwidth, low-latency, and secure networks," Jim Fagan, Telstra director of Global Platforms, said.

"Our vision for the Telstra Programmable Network is to help businesses optimise their IT by offering automated, on-demand and near real-time provisioning, consumption-based pricing, and new data insights on network usage."

Access to the programmable network will be available not only to Australian Telstra network customers, but also international IP-based virtual private network customers, who will be able to access it via Telstra's 2,000 points of presence worldwide.

The next phase of rolling out the programmable network will see Telstra upgrade the capability of its core international IP network over the next few months to improve bandwidth, increase peering capacity by up to 70 percent, and enhance security against distributed denial-of-service attacks through traffic segregation.

Real-time software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) provisioning and security will also be added in a few months, with the programmable network also including access to its SDN technology PEN.

In the past, Telstra has also worked with networking giant Cisco on SDN and NFV capabilities, saying in September that the two companies were "co-innovating" on a project labelled by Cisco as the Symphony Initiative.

"Symphony is this intelligent network orchestration that allows you to build products quickly," Yvette Kanouff, senior vice president of Cisco's Service Provider Business, explained at the time.

"So the idea is as a company, you want to be able to take advantage of SDN, you want to be able to build things quickly."

Cisco has a long-standing cloud, communications, and collaboration partnership with Telstra, with the two last March announcing their three SDN and NFV products to improve cloud security and global datacentre interconnection: Cloud Gateway Protection, Internet VPN, and Data Centre Interconnect.

The first is a virtual security application designed to secure cloud services, internet access, and Next IP networks against cyber attacks and unauthorised access; the second provides a secure and encrypted office network over public internet for businesses to use across several sites and by mobile workers; and the third extended Telstra's SDN PEN1 global datacentre interconnection product through the addition of Australian points of presence.

According to the two companies, these three products were designed to "transform" the use and function of cloud and managed services.

Telstra and Cisco followed this up with the announcement in May 2016 of a hybrid SD-WAN solution, which enables a more efficient and flexible end-to-end solution by selecting the highest-performing transport path available for application traffic routing.

The move to SDN saw Telstra last year begin seeking 120 voluntary redundancies from its Network Delivery business due to workers needing to be reskilled, however.

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