There’s a pressing need for agile, flexible and scalable WAN solutions due to the growing reliance on cloud resources and increasing bandwidth requirements. Whilst hybrid solutions are able to offer increased capacity and reliability, they’re also complex and may introduce a new set of challenges. However, the emergence of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions in recent years promises to alleviate many of the shortcomings in traditional WAN architectures.
In a recent conversation with DSA, Yoshimasa Hashimoto, Vice President at NTT Communications APAC, stated that SD-WAN technology allows businesses to fully utilise their IT resources and bandwidth, which in turn reduces connectivity costs while increasing operational efficiency and overall agility of the network.
NTT Communications is one of the major operating companies within NTT Group, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, providing network management, security and solution services across the region and globally. Mr. Hashimoto certainly has a vast degree of experience in the industry. He has been with NTT Communications throughout their global business history for the past two decades.
Back in June, NTT Communications launched NTT SD-WAN Service Portfolio, becoming the world's first global provider to deploy a 100 percent software defined network with the world's largest SD-WAN footprint covering over 190 countries. Mr. Hashimoto explained, “SD-WAN is a flexible technology for the customers to optimise their IT resources, whether it be a cost-driven or technology-driven initiative, giving them more control in a cost-effective way. Our comprehensive portfolio allows customers to pick and choose the best solution for their IT infrastructure. Since our platform is connected by the cloud service providers and SaaS providers, customers can securely connect their offices to those services.”
Among the major highlights of the NTT SD-WAN Service Portfolio includes:
· Real-Time Streaming Network Analytics: NTT Communications’ application visibility reporting & analytics tool gives enterprises the ability to visualize the end-user experience and continuously monitor traffic flows and the health of their network in real-time.
· Enterprise Connectivity Flexibility: The NTT SD-WAN Service Portfolio supports all types of network connectivity, whether it is Local ISP, Internet, Broadband, Wireless, MPLS, LTE, etc, giving customers unrivalled performance and connectivity options via NTT Communications’ 1,000+ local ISP partners.
· Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) Flexibility: Enterprises have the option to use either NTT provided devices or SD-WAN devices provided by both established and emerging SD-WAN technology vendors at their branch offices. They currently support over 10 SD-WAN and uCPE vendors, including white box options.
· Optimized Local ISP Selection & Routing: NTT’s global SD-WAN overlay network has optimized connectivity to 1,000+ local network providers that connect customer locations in over 190 countries. NTT’s globally distributed SD-WAN platform enables an end-to-end SD-WAN solution that optimizes SD-WAN Internet connectivity, bypassing Internet peering and congestion points.
· Enhanced Quality of Service (QoS): Standard SD-WAN offerings have an inherent limitation when it comes to QoS policy enforcement. Since most local ISPs do not offer or enforce QoS policies for inbound traffic destined to customer branch offices, traffic cannot be prioritized causing poor performance and a lower quality end-user experience. NTT’s global SD-WAN platform enables the application and enforcement of QoS policies solving these challenges enhancing performance and improving end-user experience.
· Secure Web Gateways and Application Acceleration: Instead of having to purchase and support local security infrastructure for each branch location, the of NTT SD-WAN Service Portfolio comes with a fully integrated SD-WAN security solution via its Secure Web Gateways located at globally distributed local cloud centres (LCCs), where enterprises can enable security features such as web URL filtering, firewall protection, and intrusion prevention services.
SD-WAN is still at its early stage of adoption here in ASEAN. At the moment, Mr. Hashimoto pointed out that the largest potential target markets in this rapidly developing region are, among others, enterprises in the manufacturing and retail industry. “Having a stable connection is critical for offices that are spread across country, region and even globally. So, customers who would like to save cost tend to rely heavily on the internet. However, they would also like to use additional functions on top of the network connection. That’s why SD-WAN technology would be very helpful for them to enhance their IT support for their shops, warehouses or branch offices.”
Mr. Hashimoto has noticed a growing interest in SD-WAN technology from many companies in Southeast Asia, but they’re still at the learning stage, trying to discover what sort of problems SD-WAN would be able to solve for their business. As with the adoption of any new technology, there needs to be an in-depth sort of internal exploration and it will take a few years for the companies to phase out the old technology and truly migrate into a new infrastructure.
However, SD-WAN is not the be-all, end-all solution for every problem. According to Mr. Hashimoto, NTT’s strategy or approach is to understand their customer’s viewpoint and challenges, and to provide the best solution out of their service portfolio. So, the solution could be SD-WAN, hybrid network or a combination of hybrid network with some other managed service that they can provide.
With their comprehensive offerings and connectivity options, he feels that NTT Communications is well equipped to resolve their customers’ challenges in many ways, and provide them with a highly flexible and agile network that is fully tailored to their specific requirements.