AT&T is serving up its managed Cisco/Viptela SD-WAN solution to a global healthcare group in order to improve its operational efficiencies. AT&T will deploy and manage the Cisco Viptela SD-WAN architecture to provide UDG Healthcare with near real-time visibility into its network assets, which includes 8,200 employees in 29 countries.
Some of the benefits for UDG Healthcare include accurate network-sizing in order to minimize or reduce ongoing operational wastage while driving greater efficiency.
AT&T said the solution would "also improve access to business benefits driven by the cloud." AT&T has various cloud agreements in place with Microsoft, IBM, Google and Amazon Web Services.
In April, Microsoft announced it was working with AT&T to bring ultra-low-latency edge compute to joint customers through its Azure Edge Zones, which are local extensions of the Microsoft Azure cloud. In March, AT&T and Google Cloud said they were teaming up to deliver network edge computing and cloud services and applications for businesses.
The SD-WAN deployment with UDG Healthcare, which operates under two main divisions known as Ashfield and Sharp, uses Cisco's 17.2 software release that was announced earlier this year. With that software release, Cisco blended its Cisco Umbrella Cloud Security portfolio, which includes Cisco's secure internet gateway, with its Viptela-based SD-WAN offering.
SD-WAN is a stepping-stone to a fully virtualized network infrastructure and virtualization, and it also provides a foundation edge computing. Edge computing includes low latency 5G and IoT services and applications that are closer to end-users.
In July, Cisco announced AT&T was using its new SD-WAN service based on Cisco Secure SD-WAN technology, which used Cisco's Viptela technology. AT&T's new SD-WAN offering included a reset of sorts to the hardware and software devices from Cisco. The hardware devices include Cisco's ISR and ASR routers as well as Cisco's ENCS white boxes.
Over a year ago, AT&T expanded its Edge Solutions portfolio with Cisco's 5000 Series Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS) in order to offer its business customers more virtualized network functions (VNF) choices.
That new AT&T SD-WAN flavor included Cisco's IOS XE operating system, integrated security features through Cisco's Umbrella, and application-aware firewall protection. It also has a single-cloud-based dashboard, intrusion prevention, URL filtering, and malware protection.
AT&T Managed Services works with AT&T Cybersecurity to support and manage the new SD-WAN service by using Cisco's vManage controller for a single management interface for both the network and security.
During June's virtual Cisco Live event, Cisco announced it had integrated the secure access service edge (SASE) model across its latest SD-WAN software release and other parts of its portfolio. Last year Gartner analysts coined the SASE term and positioned it as the unification of enterprise access security initiatives and WAN networking platforms, including SD-WAN.