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BT adds SDN capability

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BT has announced the global launch of BT Connect Intelligence IWAN, an innovative managed service that enables organisations to automatically route and optimise network traffic and gain visibility of applications performance without spending more on bandwidth. BT Connect Intelligence IWAN integrates the Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) solution into the BT Connect portfolio of network services.
The new launch builds on BT’s existing intelligent network capabilities by using a hybrid environment and managed Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology. It brings new options to reduce the cost of customers’ networks whilst securing the performance of applications.
The services offered as part of Connect Intelligence IWAN also help customers reap the business benefits of the ‘Cloud of Clouds'[1] by taking advantage of broader virtualised functions such as application performance management and security.
Walgreens Boots Alliance’s businesses in the UK and in around 20 other countries are set to be some of the first BT Connect Intelligence IWAN customers, taking advantage of the service’s reach and scalability to support their international operations.
The first version of Connect Intelligence IWAN will bring the following benefits to BT customers:
* Virtual Private Network (VPN) capabilities across globally dispersed sites and different transport technologies. This enables organisations to reduce costs by securely interconnecting remote sites over hybrid network options, such as MPLS VPNs, private and public internet, and mobile, and to transfer information using powerful encryption technology;
* Applications are routed across the best path in the customer’s hybrid network, based on real-time network performance;
* Faster performance for applications, which will improve productivity and user experience. It will also identify underperforming business processes. This includes acceleration of web based traffic such as online catalogues shown to customers in retail stores, or access to employee training videos;
* Enhanced application visibility and analytics, available via centralised, user friendly reporting, which gives customers deep insight into their application and network performance. This will also allow BT to enhance its monitoring and incident management service to customers.
In addition, BT offers customers a fully managed IWAN service which includes comprehensive design, set-up and configuration. It also includes monthly reports from an Application Specialist on how their network and applications are performing, with recommendations on how to improve performance.
BT sees IWAN as one of the key stepping stones for customers when transitioning to future Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and SDN capabilities.  BT is also working to provide customers with a comprehensive self-service capability to control their SD-WAN via BT’s My Account portal.
Keith Langridge, vice-president of network services at BT Global Services, says: “BT has been leading the research into emerging virtualisation technologies from the beginning. For years, we have also been adding ‘intelligence’ to the network services we provide to our customers. NFV and SDN are part of that drive, and aim at making those services more dynamic and automated. They pave the way for a new generation of services that are quicker and easier to set up and change. BT Connect Intelligence IWAN leverages the Cisco IWAN solution to bring an important new building block in that virtualisation effort. It will help our customers all over the world deal much more effectively with ever increasing bandwidth and traffic optimisation demands, allowing customers to network like never before.”