Pertino: Meshing Remote Access Flexibility with Corporate IP VPN Manageability

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Pertino uses software clients to build overlay IP VPNs that support mesh networking and add easy-to-use management, targeting mainly SMBs.
  • NTT Communications looks to have some similar concepts, to strengthen its upcoming IP VPN service, designed to support enterprises.

Back in February 2013, Pertino, a startup out of Cupertino, CA, released its flagship Cloud Network Engine, which the company described as a ‘SDN-powered cloud networking’ service.  At first glance, the technology looks almost like old-fashioned SSL or IPsec VPN remote access: it’s an overlay VPN that connects to an array of common computer and mobile device platforms.  The difference is in Pertino’s use of its own downloadable app, which adds features that you don’t usually get with remote access.  The software client is currently available for Microsoft Windows client and server operating systems as well as for Apple OS X and Ubuntu Linux clients; an Android client has been released, and an iOS client is in the works. Read more of this post

Demand Drives IPsec and Hybrid VPN Development and Progress

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • IPsec is a suitable workaround for giving remote access to VPN users where dedicated access is a very costly proposal.
  • Service providers are adding sophistication to their hybrid VPN products to push non-critical traffic over the public Internet.

There are three main hybrid VPN and IPsec drivers: cost savings, more and more IT moving into the cloud, and globalization that sees workers needing access to the VPN from remote locations.  Putting a dedicated access in place is not always a sensible option economically, and WAN optimization and acceleration techniques are helping raise performance for cloud-based applications over any endpoint access technology (for example, DSL).  There is also growing interest in hybrid VPN solutions at larger corporate sites to save on the costly last-mile access part of a data network.  In this scenario, customers can send non-critical traffic such as file transfers and e-mail over public and shared infrastructure and use a private circuit replete with QoS for more critical and latency or jitter-sensitive applications.  The hybrid approach lets enterprise end users access their main business applications from corporate sites, their homes, and on the move during business travel. Read more of this post

Yuletide Blog: 2012 in Review and Can We Expect More of the Same in 2013?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Making the Internet and private data networks faster is still going to be a top priority in 2013
  • Security remains of paramount importance for any data service
  • Data centre and computing infrastructure become more tightly integrated and embedded with network infrastructure in 2013

Looking back at what happened in 2012, the highlights of the year within the enterprise network and IT service industry include consolidation such as the acquisition of Cable&Wireless Worldwide by Vodafone, the march towards fatter pipes with 100G launches, and progress on the part of carriers to become cloud-based IT providers and cloud service aggregators. Network security remains very high on the agenda, with two providers reporting daily attacks and hacking at major events, namely BT during the Olympics and Interoute supporting UEFA in the Euro 2012 event. However the most impactful initiatives are in the building of new generations of cloud-ready data centres as an intrinsic part of the network to fuel the desire of service providers to claim a stake in the cloud IT service market. Read more of this post

Migrating to Cloud Services: A Wholesale Switchover or a Step-by-Step Approach?

Summary Bullets:

  • SOHO and SMB users have the opportunity to migrate to cloud services in a single move.
  • Joel Stradling

    Larger enterprises and MNCs tend to adopt more slowly, virtualizing one IT system at a time.

How to make the switch from owning premises-based infrastructure to having all IT hosted in a cloud environment is a tricky question for IT managers to consider.  There are so many ‘cloud’ flavours out there, such as public and private clouds, hybrid VPNs and hybrid cloud solutions.  Whether it happened by intent or by some coincidence, the multi-service converged access rollout by carriers investing in NGN has paved the way for smaller companies to place all of their ICT needs, should they so desire, into the cloud in one quick-fix move.  The capability of running voice, data and video over an Ethernet or IP interface at the customer premises has been around for a while, but telcos have realized that, once the multiservice access is in place, the customer can then be presented with a wide range of cloud add-ons, including all the ‘as-a-service’ possibilities: software, communications, storage, security, cloud computing and so on.  A SOHO or SME has fewer applications to run in most cases; thus, the market is seeing more prospects within this segment entirely embracing cloud services, and at reasonable price points, where infrastructure can be shared and non-critical traffic can run on the public Internet. Read more of this post

WAN Optimization: Limited to International Networks or Also Suited to Local In-Country Networks?

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Provider-managed WAN optimization is less likely to be used in the U.S. market due to the widespread availability of cost-effective bandwidth across major towns and cities.
  • A number of pan-European and UK carriers report take-up of managed WAN optimization in domestic-only networks.

WAN optimization can be a costly component and there is always going to be a tradeoff between throwing bandwidth at a problem versus implementing some sort of WAN optimization.  The other question IT managers face is whether to buy and drop in WAN optimization on their own in a DIY setup or to contract a service provider, but this is a topic for a future discussion.  Current Analysis has noticed a difference between the way UK and U.S. service providers respond to the question.  In the U.S., national operators are ambivalent about deploying their own managed WAN optimization services, because there is not much customer demand.  WAN optimization CPE and provider-managed services are expensive, and it is more logical for customers to purchase more capacity, rather than to try to manage capacity more granularly.  There are some provider WAN optimization services run out of Internet data centers, and some enterprises will buy and drop in their own CPE to triage their worst application behavior.  In contrast, BT and Colt report customers that subscribe to their domestic UK WAN optimization implementations. Read more of this post

Softbank’s Sprint Acquisition: Making Wireline and Dot-Com Sense of the Deal

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

  • Softbank is not just a telecom company; it is a major dot-com investor.  It may be able to use Sprint’s base as an audience to promote other holdings.
  • In-country holdings in Japan and the U.S. could attract new enterprise business.  However, the U.S. government may have wireline contract concerns over Sprint’s foreign ownership.

On October 15, 2012, Softbank announced its intent to acquire a majority stake in Sprint.  Softbank’s focus for the acquisition is of course mobility, just as Sprint itself has mobile at the forefront of its service portfolio.  Softbank operates both wireline and wireless networks in Japan, inherited through acquisitions of Japan Telecom, Vodafone, Willcom, and eAccess.  In the U.S., some people will better remember Softbank as a major investor in speculative Internet ventures, particularly cutting-edge digital properties that led the dot-com explosion of the late 1990s, and the following bust.  Today, Softbank remains a big speculative dot-com investor, and it has stakes in many dozens of companies.  Some names include Internet/TV company Boxee, social gaming developer Zynga, personalized gaming application GameGround, virtual desktop hosting company Desktone, and the AOL-acquired news site Huffington Post.  In its acquisition of Sprint, Softbank contributes a broad investment portfolio of dot-com properties that could use Sprint’s customer base as a target audience to promote its mobile games, apps, and content. Read more of this post

The Gradual Rollout of IP eXchange and Its Potential Implications on the Enterprise

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • The main idea behind IPX is end-to-end QoS for both mobile and fixed IP traffic.  Mobile data and video are about to go on a bungee jump driven by handset and LTE evolution, and IPX is designed to ensure that improved qualities can be delivered on new offerings.
  • At the moment, a handful of global wholesale providers offer early-stage IPX, and many more are expected to follow suit.

Thus far, IPX has provided real benefits on single-provider platforms to deliver HD voice and premium VoIP.  Companies such as BT Wholesale, KPN/iBasis, DT ICSS, TI Sparkle, France Telecom Orange, A1 Telekom Austria, TeliaSonera International Carrier and Tata Communications are all examples of IPX providers with full commercial products available.  We are likely to see more such bilateral agreements in the short term.  Carriers report that mobile voice calls last longer when the voice quality is better.  To put some numbers on this and get some idea of how much longer: BT Wholesale cites around 10% longer call times, whilst TI Sparkle reports increases approaching 40%.  Business clients might surmise that this potentially leads to raised corporate efficiency in closing deals, as both parties can actually hear what the other is talking about, as well as for solving technical issues and so on. Read more of this post

Does It Still Matter Who Owns Infrastructure as the Industry Migrates Towards Intelligent Networks?

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • The intelligent network should adapt to varying demands and self-heal at failure points, regardless of who owns the infrastructure.
  • IT managers need to seek carriers that know how to offer intelligent networking over multiple off-net partner networks.

Neither the Vanco model nor establishing a world super-carrier, as in the large telco merger attempts exemplified by KPN-Qwest around 2000/2001, really worked.  Vanco did succeed at closing a respectable list of MNC clients, but the company was ultimately acquired by Reliance Globalcom.  The VNO model continues to work in niche segments, but we have always argued that there are advantages in running traffic and applications across wholly owned networks.  KCOM in the UK, for example, is filling the niche successfully based on a small degree of MPLS PoPs and then relying on a large national partner (BT Wholesale) for infrastructure, which allows KCOM to concentrate on marketing and customer service.  It should be noted that KCOM is a UK supplier; it does not play in the global market place for multinational accounts!  It is an indefatigable truth that a service provider which owns the network can offer better control and healthier service margins.  One can also argue that owning the network will result in more concrete SLAs.  However, in a large-scale and geographically widespread global data WAN implementation, there is no single carrier that can provide all on-net connectivity. Read more of this post

Has the 99.999% Availability SLA Gone the Way of the Dodo?

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Traditional network SLA metrics do not take into account changing IT needs.
  • Is your network vendor willing to extend service guarantees to application availability?

There are many ways of looking at network service level agreements (SLAs).  For telecom providers and certain clients, they can be a mere commercial agreement whereby network downtime will be compensated.  In other cases (for example, when downtime can prove very costly or even disastrous to a business), the enterprise customer will need to pay for extra resiliency in the form of five-nines availability or even 100% availability based on 1+1 back-up and/or a 3G wireless broadband data link.  Traditional data WAN SLAs still contain the standard metrics, such as jitter, roundtrip delay, latency, availability and MTTR, and this is a good thing overall for making sure the carrier is accountable for the networks. However, IT managers should also be exploring SLAs all the way to applications running on the desktop. Read more of this post