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IS pilots SA-first SDN service

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Internet Solutions (IS) has implemented an elastic wide area network ( e-WAN) infrastructure, based on software defined network (SDN) architecture principles, which it is now trialling with a number of clients.
Extending its network with an SDN based architecture IS will enhance operational efficiencies as well as enable fast and flexible service delivery to their clients.
“Internet Solutions is building its e-WAN network to accommodate the needs of businesses and consumers alike. The network will be able to adapt instantly to the increasing and seasonal requirements of clients. This means that the network must be perceived to have limitless capacity, be highly elastic and offer real-time service delivery,” says Greg Montjoie, executive: connectivity at Internet Solutions. “With the power of SDN felt at both business and technology levels, clients will realise significant benefits by using our e-WAN network.”
IS’s network strategy is focused on ensuring it designs, develops and manages its network using the latest available technology and the most effective architectures that deliver tangible client benefits. The adoption of SDN as an architecture aligns with the company’s elastic network strategy, which involves end to end elastic infrastructure, thereby ensuring its clients have access to scalable and flexible infrastructure for all their communication requirements.
With cloud usage increasing exponentially, the network is becoming ever more critical in ensuring that users can communicate, collaborate and transact whenever they want and wherever they want. To cater for this increasing content exchange and consumption, an elastic cloud is required. Similarly, an elastic network on which capacity can be increased and decreased in near real time, and as demand dictates, is required to enable users to connect to the cloud. The SDN architected-network can deliver this capability.
The e-WAN service, currently in pilot-stage, with a full commercial launch expected in 2016, will be available between a number of Cape Town and Johannesburg data centres, and will enable near real-time network management, automation of network operations and greater application control.
“Coupling our backbone network and SDN technology we will be offering clients speeds of 10Mbps to 4Gbps on an hourly consumption billing model,” says Montjoie. “Greater operational efficiency as well as speed are key tenets for network management. They are also crucial factors in our ability to maximise the opportunities that arise with the growth of the Internet of Things over the coming years. With our SDN enabled network our clients will be able to take advantage of market trends and bring their services to market much more quickly.”
IS has identified data centre replication and back-up, month end activities requiring increased bandwidth usage, layer two network deployments, content delivery network cache filling, and campaigns such as online ticket sales that require a burst of bandwidth as just a few of the ideal scenarios where the e-WAN service could be deployed to ensure the best possible user experience, without any degradation of other services required at the same time.
Internet Solutions is using an Openflow based SDN controller over its optical backbone to deliver this service, as well as Openflow enabled switches. Openflow is considered one of the first SDN standards. It is a programmable network protocol designed to manage and direct traffic among switches from various vendors, separating the programming of the network from the underlying hardware.