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BT Taps Cisco Tech for Managed SD-WAN Service

Communications firm BT has tapped Cisco technology to power a new global SD-WAN managed service.

SD-WAN is a high-growth segment of the software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) arena, simplifying the management and operation of a wide-area network (WAN) by decoupling the networking hardware from its control mechanism.

Combined with BT's network orchestration capabilities, the managed service is designed to help firms optimize network traffic while balancing performance and cost, BT said in an announcement last week.

BT Connect Cisco SD-WAN is powered by SD-WAN (Viptela), a centrally managed, cloud-hosted and software-defined overlay service for complex enterprise networks, based on technology (Viptela) that Cisco acquired last year.

The new service furthers the existing partnership between the U.K.-based communications services company that has branched out to serve 180 countries and legacy networking powerhouse Cisco, which was described by some as being late to the SDN/NFV movement but has since come fully onboard. That partnership includes a customer premises equipment virtualization solution called BT Connect Edge and a network automation and orchestration software platform that integrates BT and Cisco technology, called BT Connect Services Platform.

BT said its service will incorporate further releases planned by Cisco and its own investments, with early deployment options designed to help SD-WAN customers improve network agility.

"These include Cisco SD-WAN as a virtual network function (VNF) within the Connect Services Platform running on Cisco's Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS) platform, and an integrated Cisco solution where SD-WAN capability is built into the router itself," BT said in a news release. "This will provide the customer with a single edge device solution. BT will deliver intelligent network control across its customers’ estate irrespective of their existing connectivity providers, managed from the same orchestration platform."

Cisco described the new pact as an example of its focus on intent-based networking, a modern offshoot of the SDN/NFV movement that the company described as "fundamentally changing the blueprint for networking" with products like Viptela.

According to the Viptela SD-WAN site, it lets organizations:

  • See an entire network online
  • Better route important applications
  • Stay secure with an encrypted network
  • Use orchestration to integrate other services more easily
  • Scale a network as it becomes more complex

The managed service launched as part of BT's Dynamic Network Services program, designed to provide multiple other SDN/NFV benefits.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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