Tata takes stab at SD-WAN, brings service to 130 countries

Tata Communications has entered the SD-WAN ring by launching its IZO SDWAN, a solution that’s being offered as an additional element in its IZO cloud enablement platform.

What Tata's solution immediately brings to the table is scale. The service is going to be available across 130 countries, spanning a mix of developed and emerging markets.

Focused on serving branch office networks, Tata said the new service will help businesses expand, quickly introduce new products and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions. 

Ensuring Quality of Service

Besides the amount of countries where the service is offered, the other differentiator is that Tata can ensure QoS for its underlay and overlay over-the-top broadband service.

Hon Kit Lam, VP of global IP and managed networks services for Tata, told FierceTelecom that using multiple internet connections from various last mile providers could cause performance issues for businesses.

“If a customer’s coverage is very dispersed with multiple service providers and they want to deploy with a hybrid network for MPLS and also the internet it means they’ll face finger pointing situations over the internet,” Lam said.

RELATED: CenturyLink, Verizon and competitors tout value in SD-WAN, but enterprises should verify QoS claims

Besides the broad coverage, the IZO SDWAN offers distinct advantages for customers that have multiple locations in various countries where internet access performance may vary.

Tata is also increasing the amount of broadband providers it uses to support the service. Today, it supports 80 service provider partners and plans to increase that 100 early next year.

“We have IZO Internet WAN partnerships in about 80 countries and we’re going to expand to 100 countries by March 2017, which means with the special routing we have we can provide end to end SLAs with deterministic routing even over the internet,” Lam said. “That means customers can get the benefits of using internet access, but also the routing guarantee between the two end points.”

Integrating with customer requirements

The IZO SDWAN service is currently in beta testing with Essilor, an ophthalmic optics company, which is using it to facilitate its expansion into new geographies.

Marc Tanguy, director of IT technology services in Asia-Pacific, Middle-East, Russia and Africa for Essilor, said in a release that it needs software-centric “solutions that help us to smoothly expand into new geographies, including the fast-growing markets of APAC and Africa.”

As a fully managed and modular overlay service, IZO SDWAN is tightly integrated with Tata’s underlay IP network.

Image: Tata Communications
Tata claimed that the coupling of overlay and underlay allows quick integration into an organizations’ existing network set-up—public internet, a hybrid network or a private WAN—increasing bandwidth usage efficiency while reducing operational costs.

“It is easily integrated into a businesses’ existing network over different architectures, including a hybrid network of MPLS and internet,” Lam said. “Customers can provide secure access to make sure that the deployment, activation, and configuration is seamless.”

Two tiers of service

The service provider has developed two key variants of IZO SDWAN to suit its customers’ different business and technology requirements: IZO SDWAN Prime and IZO SDWAN Select. One variant depends on Tata’s patent-pending technology, and the other leverages Versa’s technology.

IZO SDWAN Prime supports a Cisco CPE, including the 1900 and 2900 series router. This service provides SD-WAN and zero touch provisioning and MPLS link capabilities.  

“Customers can select IZO SDWAN Prime if they already have an investment in a Cisco router," Lam said. "If they want a Greenfield deployment, they can use the IZO SDWAN Select offering."

In order to address customers’ growing cloud connectivity needs, Tata Communications will deploy 20 new cloud gateways for IZO SDWAN, with several more in the pipeline. Each of these gateways provides connectivity to various cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Salesforce.

IZO SDWAN also provides a single-pane-of-glass management portal, enabling organizations to virtualize their network with scale, while ensuring the CIO has full visibility and control over the network.

By using edge virtualization, which enables the deployment of multiple virtual networking functions (VNFs) within the same equipment, enterprises can reduce the volume of equipment at their branch locations, accelerating the rollout of new applications and services.