Telefónica updates SD-WAN infrastructure to include software-defined data centers

HK organizations see software development as key to driving growth and staying competitive (image scyther5 / iStockPhoto)
Telefónica is bringing more virtualization and control features to its enterprise customers by working with Nuage Networks. (scyther5 / iStockPhoto)

Spain's Telefónica is taking another step up its evolutionary ladder with news that it's working on interoperability between its SD-WAN service and virtualized data centers in order to further meet the needs of its enterprise customers.

Last year Telefónica partnered with Nokia's Nuage Networks to launch SD-WAN using the vendor's Virtualized Network Services platform. Today's news took that partnership one step farther with Telefónica now using Nokia's virtualized cloud services (VCS), routers from Nokia and Nuage and Nuage Networks' virtualized services platform (VSP), to extend the SD-WAN infrastructure into software-defined data centers (SDDC.)

"We started a very deep transformation on our WAN models since we introduced the SDN based architecture in our WAN and data center environments," said Manuel Capillas, enterprise business unit, Telefónica, Spain, in an email to FierceTelecom. "We will continue this transformation until its complete attainment in order to cope with the total automation and integration of WAN-data center environments, which includes one (web) portal and one orchestrator."

For the past four years, Telefónica has been implementing its virtualization efforts through the company's "Unica" strategy. A key part of Telefónica's virtualization, cloud and SD-WAN strategy was the ability to offer enterprise customers the ability to order, customize and configure services via a self-service portal to keep track of the networks and to spin up services on demand. In addition to the web portal, working with Nuage will enable Telefónica to start automating secure connectivity and network services across data center fabrics.

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"Our customers always ask about how powerful the portal is as a management and visibility tool," Capillas said. "It is the large customers that most request the availability and functionality of a portal. The portal can be used for visibility only, too execute, or even just to make requests. Depending on the customer, one or two or all of these three aspects can be requested and used."

As for automation, Nuage Networks' VCS is a software-defined networking (SDN) overlay designed for virtualized and non-virtualized server and network resources, according to Pat McCabe, senior marketing manager, Nuage Networks.

Capillas said provisioning has been automated on the SD-WAN service in some areas in order to reduce the provisioning time.

"We maintain interoperability between the overlay and underlay, and we are evolving to a complete automation of provisioning for the largest number of scenarios," he said. "But we are still going down that way because in an operator the size of Telefónica the legacy systems are very representative, and we need to guarantee the coexistence of some legacy systems with the new ones."

Capillas said the automation and provisioning required to redesign some internal processes for the new architecture required stiching together the orchestrator, the web portal and the SDN controller with legacy systems and equipment.

Like other operators, such as AT&T and Verizon, that are fully committed to virtualization, there's a balance between adding the new technologies while serving millions of customers on the legacy systems.

"Keep in mind that the VPNs of our customers must maintain the coexistence and interoperability, or visibility, of the SD-WAN sites with the non-SD-WAN sites in order to guarantee a migration according to the guidelines and needs of our customers," Capillas said. "We must keep in mind that for the customer the VPN is 'only one' and includes all kind of sites, and it must be always operative."

Telefónica is also working with Nuage to build hybrid cloud interconnections between private data centers, Telefónica's SDDC and public cloud environments.