Telstra debuts consumption-based network services

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Telstra debuts consumption-based network services

Telstra and Cisco kicked off Cisco Live with a trio of products to let corporate customers deploy and configure software-defined network services on a consumption-based model.

The telco's Internet Virtual Private Network service, which will be available later this month, allows enterprise customers to rapidly provision network services using secure, encrypted links over the public internet.

It is aimed at letting SMB businesses securely manage multiple sites and remote workers with an encrypted link over the internet, spun up "with few simple clicks of a portal", said Telstra CTO Vish Nandlall.

Cloud Gateway Protection, currently in beta, is a virtual security appliance that can be "deployed and configured within minutes" to protect internet access, cloud services and IP networks from malicious attacks. Currently based on Cisco's next-gen firewall technology, Telstra will also add a Palo Alto Networks option at a later date.

Coming later this year is Data Centre Interconnect, which extends Telstra's global data centre interconnect – acquired in its purchase of PacNet – and adds 10 Australian points-of-presence to 25 global POPs. Customers will get point-to-point Layer 2 Ethernet from 1Mbps to 10Gbps with options around latency, from low latency to standard to "best effort".

Customers can spin up these services via an online portal – Telstra's central marketplace for virtualised managed services.

Nandlall said the old "plan, deploy cycle" is "no longer fit for purpose", especially for bandwidth-hungry video content and complex data applications. "All these forces are conspiring to create a lack of affinity between the data consumption needs of the enterprise and the network itself."

The three new products will allow customers to provision network infrastructure in the same flexible, on-demand way they purchase cloud, with the process as automated as possible.

Nandlall added that allowing network engineers to configure the network was "error-prone and dangerous."

"You want to automate as much as you can."

The packages will be available on a range of pricing models – with Telstra execs at Cisco Live stressing the flexibility with terms like "pay-as-you-go", "try before you buy" and "no-commit" – though the Internet VPN package does require a Cisco router on a 24-month contract.

Pricing starts at $119 for the basic Internet VPN package, up to $299 for the premium bundle.

Jim Fagan, head of Telstra's cloud practice, explained how the Data Centre Interconnect offering stood apart from comparable services from the likes of Equinix and Megaport.

He said that the Equinix model was "very much an 'in data centre, in metro' type offering".

Fagan added that from a technology perspective, Megaport "has done a great job, so kudos to them but it is still really an aggregator of bandwidth".

"The difference with us is that we are not only connecting data centres in Australia but around the world and allowing customers to connect to their cloud of choice throughout the world."

He added that the fact Telstra "owns the network and the core" allows better quality of service.

The journalist travelled to Melbourne courtesy of Cisco.

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