Tata Communications taps Cisco's SD-WAN for multi-cloud deployments

Cisco chalked up another customer win for its Viptela-based SD-WAN offering and extended its partnership with Tata Communications in the process.

While Tata Communications and Cisco have long been technology partners—Tata has deployed Cisco's Integrated Service Routers and other hardware devices for years—the two companies announced on Thursday that they had expanded their partnership to create a fully managed hybrid SD-WAN solution for Tata. Tata is using Cisco's managed SD-WAN technology for enterprises in conjunction with its IZO cloud platform.

"Tata has been offering managed WAN services for a number of years," said Tata Communications' Song Toh, vice president of network services. "In fact, we've had our IZO SD-WAN implemented with dozens of global enterprises, and we have a few thousand sites running SD-WAN with other technology vendors.

"We're seen as a leader in managed WAN services, and we see Cisco as a leader of WAN edge technology. The two of us together can definitely serve a lot of the enterprises that are going through their network transformation and digitization journeys. With Cisco able to support us globally, as well as our own mature SD-WAN technology, we believe we can support an even greater swath of customers and help them achieve success on a wider scale."

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The combined service, which is called "IZO SD-WAN," is underpinned by Tata's hybrid networking capabilities, Tier 1 backbone and partnerships with hyperscale cloud providers including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Alibaba. The IZO SD-WAN service is available in more than 150 countries.

"There are so many types of customers out there, and they all have varied needs," Toh said. "The customers that we talk to are certainly on the journey to cloud. To me, that means using more SaaS-based applications that includes video conferencing and Office 365, and moving some traditional IT applications to the public cloud.

"The other aspect is that their sites are no longer just the physical branch sites, the headquarters and data centers, but also these virtual CPE into the public cloud. With SD WAN, we can show performance from the data centers, from the developers, and from the branches to the cloud to achieve some type of performance control and security."

In addition to its own SD-WAN offering, Tata has also deployed Versa Networks SD-WAN solution. Partnering with Cisco gives Tata Communications more options in terms of offering managed SD-WAN services to its global enterprises.

Toh didn't rule out adding additional SD-WAN vendors going forward, and said Aryaka Networks and Cato Networks, which own networks, were "pretty intriguing." Tata competes against other global service providers, including Orange and BT.