Yoshimasa Hashimoto, Vice President, NTT Communications APAC, in an exclusive conversation with Techseen, talks about the global launch of NTT Communications’ SD-WAN, claiming it to be the largest SD-WAN footprint ever, covering 190 countries. He explains the role that India and Singapore play in the APAC region and how limited network connectivity and local service providers have become a challenge for businesses to adopt SD WAN. He also describes the role NTT Security plays and how both the entities work hand in hand for networking solutions. Excerpts
Techseen: What does the global availability of SD-WAN mean for NTT and its clients? How can they leverage this solution for cloud transformation?
Hashimoto: NTT Communications’ new SD-WAN Service Portfolio leverages NTT’s industry first 100% software-defined overlay network to provide optimized performance and connectivity to client branch offices globally, leveraging more than 1,000 local ISPs and network providers across over 190 countries. This is the largest global rollout of any SD-WAN portfolio in the market, leveraging on the software defined technology and platform acquired via the Virtela acquisition in 2014.
The SD-WAN Service Portfolio provides NTT unprecedented flexibility and speed to deploy new services designed to assist enterprise clients to transform their IT environment, respond to their competition and meet their business goals. By leveraging the new SD-WAN service portfolio’s unprecedented global coverage, optimized network utilization at each branch office, cloud based secure web gateway and application acceleration services, as well as optimized access to the major cloud and SaaS platforms, businesses can migrate their current IT infrastructure to the cloud easily and rapidly and better compete in today’s digital economy.
Techseen: When it comes to SD-WAN, what are challenges that haunt the APAC market? How important is the India market according to NTT and what are the challenges you think India is facing?
Hashimoto: The APAC region is vast and provides unique connectivity challenges to SD-WAN service providers: from the ability to peer with local ISPs in country/region, to the lack of expertise and local presence, to the challenges around deploying and managing end-end solutions including customer premises SD-WAN CPE. Most SD-WAN providers envision a 100% software defined global network in 3 to 5 years, and deliver country-specific and regional connectivity. NTT’s SD-WAN Service Portfolio, provided over a 100% SDN platform is available today, across 190+ countries including 30+ APAC countries. NTT’s SD-WAN network and presence is the largest in the APAC region, and can help clients build optimized SD-WAN solutions that leverage optimized connectivity to each one of their branch offices.
The limited connectivity to ISPs and local network providers poses a challenge to businesses looking to adopt SD-WAN to connect their global offices, as they may be using ISPs and local network providers that don’t fall into what’s being offered by other SD-WAN providers. NTT’s SD-WAN Service portfolio leverages 1,000+ ISPs and local providers, and provides clients with the flexibility to mix and match connectivity options that suit their needs at each site – NTT provided and managed, or customer provided and NTT managed.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and a major hub for outsourcing and software development talent. NTT has made significant investments to address the Indian market needs including the acquisition of Netmagic, a leading managed datacenter provider in India. NTT also recently network licenses in India which will allow customers in India to leverage the full suite of NTT’s global SD-WAN capabilities inside and outside of the country.
But while India has seen major growth in the past few years, the business infrastructure has yet to catch up to fully support the rapidly changing IT market. NTT is leveraging all available connectivity options, including wireline and fixed wireless options, to provide optimized connectivity options to its clients in India.
Techseen: What according to you is the need of the hour for enterprises acceding to the cloud network? How do you think can NTT make that easier?
Hashimoto: Enterprises looking to transform their environment and move to the cloud are looking to leverage cost effective internet access and other network solutions at their branch offices in a secure and flexible way. They need rapid deployment capabilities to meet their business needs, and better visibility into and control over their applications and network utilization.
NTT’s SD-WAN Service Portfolio includes, at its core, groundbreaking real-time streaming network analytics which give CIOs and their IT teams deep insight into the health of their network, allowing full visibility of application performance, network security, utilization and end-user experience, in real time. This enables enterprises to analyze issues at the site, application dimension and individual IP address level, allowing the client to take faster remediation to their IT issues without delays.
In addition, with its newly launched SD-WAN Service Portfolio, NTT can provide SD-WAN solutions for enterprise clients globally in over 190 countries, leveraging 1,000+ local ISPs worldwide to deliver and support the best breed of connectivity options at each customer branch office. The SD-WAN Service Portfolio also includes a rich suite of cloud based security solutions via its Secure Internet Gateways located at NTT globally distributed local cloud centers, where customers can enable, in a few clicks, firewall protection, URL filtering, intrusion prevention services as well as malware reporting functions close to their sites.
These service enable clients to move from a capex to an open model and pay for the services and resources they need in a flexible way, when they need them.
Techseen: In one of your company’s statements, you say that you are increasingly seeing enterprises’ networks struggling to cope with the growth of cloud data, increasing security threats and inflating costs. How do you think your SD-WAN will be able to address these challenges in APAC?
Hashimoto: The new NTT SD-WAN Service Portfolio provides clients with an end-to-end solution, with highly flexible and cost-effective network connectivity options for each branch office, as well as optimized connectivity to major cloud and SaaS providers. The software-defined nature of the platform enables rapid transition of branch office IT services such as application acceleration, firewall, IPS, URL filtering, remote access connectivity to the cloud. This “Asset Lite” solution reduces the amount of equipment required for connectivity and data management at branch offices by having services provided directly from the SD-WAN platform.
With increasing security threats looming over businesses as seen in the recent WannaCry and Petya incidents, NTT can assist clients in addressing security risks through the full integration of SD-WAN security solutions via its Internet security gateways located at NTT globally distributed Local Cloud Centers, including large numbers across the APAC region, where customers can enable web URL filtering, firewall protection and intrusion prevention services.
Customers can also benefit from NTT’s malware reporting service to identify and isolate any machines infected by viruses and other security threats to their organization.
Techseen: Earlier this month you launched API Gateway as a Service, scheduled to be rolled out in July. One of the major aspects of this is strengthening your ties with SaaS players globally, where according to you do countries like Singapore and India stand?
Hashimoto: Many SaaS players have extended their presence/platforms to Singapore and India to cover the Asia-Pacific region. NTT has extensive local cloud center and network presence in the region, including India and Singapore and API gateway services will also be available in India and Singapore.
Techseen: You have recently launched the largest SD-WAN network, what will be your influence in the APAC SD-WAN market during this time?
Hashimoto: NTT has the world’s largest footprint in APAC among global or regional service providers and continues to invest heavily in the region. With all these capabilities in hand, we are looking to be a market leader in the region and drive the deployment of SD-WAN solutions for our customers in the APAC market and beyond
Techseen: Network and security go hand in hand, how closely does NTT communications work with NTT Security? Do you have a combined solution that you offer in the region?
Hashimoto: NTT Com and NTT Security work very closely together and our customer benefit from seamless service that we deliver to customers. For example, Distributed through NTT Com Local Cloud Centers around the world, NTT offers a fully integrated SD-WAN security solution via its Internet security gateways and the security logs can be processed and analyzed by NTT Security platform.
NTT Security can also provide a variety of managed security solutions for enterprise clients, including security threat diagnosis and endpoint security solutions. The power of NTT Com and NTT Security combined, leveraging the full suite of our SD-WAN cloud based security capabilities together with NTT Security’s multi-layer professional security solutions can provide a very comprehensive answer to our customers’ security needs.
Techseen: You acquired Virtela sometime back, do you see consolidation of more SDN players in the near future?
Hashimoto: The SDN and SD-WAN market is still in its early stages, and includes a large number of vendors today from established, to newly converted, to emerging technology companies. Consolidation is quite likely and customers should be careful when selecting their SD-WAN providers, and make sure they will get the long term support they need on their SD-WAN solution. NTT offers long term stability and proven track record to deliver global enterprise network services to customers.
Techseen: How do you differentiate with your peers in the segment? Companies like AT&T, Rackspace, Datapipe, IBM or even Google for that matter, are making heavy investments into this sector with APAC at the core. Do you think you will be ahead of the curve?
Hashimoto: Through our expertise in networking, and Virtela’s technology and expertise in software defined networking, we are able to accelerate the development of NTT Com’s SDx+M solution and strategy. We’re already ahead of other service providers in terms of global SD-WAN coverage as no other provider has announced SD-WAN service availability in more than 190 countries.
NTT Com is also the first provider to deploy a 100% global software defined network when others have plans to get there in the next 3 to 5 years. NTT Com is ahead of the industry and we continue to innovate and invest in services that will provide value to our customers.
For example, NTT’s real-time streaming network analytics gives CIOs and their IT teams deep insight into the health of their network, allowing full visibility of application performance, network security, utilization and end-user experience, in real time. This enables enterprises to analyze issues at the site, application dimension and individual IP address level, allowing them to take faster remediation to their IT issues without delays. This capability is far ahead of any of the reporting tools available in the market today, and we will continue to strengthen the offering to provide clients with enhanced visibility and control over their network
Techseen: Where do you see NTT communications in APAC 3 years from now? Which countries will play a major role in the coming future when it comes to network cloud and what are your future plans with these countries?
Hashimoto: NTT Com is committed to serve the APAC markets. Our goal is to continue to provide customers innovative services backed by passionate support in both the major APAC markets and emerging countries with infrastructure requirements where NTT Com can grow its business in APAC.