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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Colt Talks SDN, NFV and Scalable High-Speed Bandwidth

interview colt 

Intelligent, secure and reliable private connectivity has become central to the business-critical activities of modern, digital enterprises.  That's why Colt Technology Services, a global high-bandwidth network provider, recently announced the launch of its expanded SDN-enabled Dedicated Cloud Access (DCA) On-Demand offering into the AWS cloud.  That news followed Colt's announcement of Microsoft Azure added to its On-Demand platform. 

Colt's expanding On-Demand portfolio reflects its dedication to provide scalable, on-demand, high-bandwidth networks to demanding enterprises.  To find out more, I spoke with Peter Coppens, the company's director of Ethernet and IP products.

VMblog:  How does virtualization fit with Colt's On-Demand strategy?

Peter Coppens:  Colt is heavily investing in SDN and NFV, Network Function Virtualization. Our investments in these areas enable our On Demand and SD-WAN (Software Defined WAN) strategy! A good example of virtualization is the "virtual CPE router." Previously, we put a physical IP router appliance at the customer's location to run our Internet and IP VPN services. Nowadays, we still deliver the same routing functionality, but rather than from an on-site physical appliance, we deliver the functionality as a software application from within the network. This ensures less CAPEX costs, less maintenance and the CPE appliance is not a bottleneck anymore for bandwidth upgrades. (In the past, we needed several CPE appliances to cover the whole range of bandwidths in an economical way).

VMblog:  What are the most important elements of Colt's approach to providing high-bandwidth?

Coppens:  The most important element of Colt's approach to providing high-bandwidth includes investing in a state-of-the-art high-bandwidth fiber network with the lowest possible unit cost, making high bandwidth affordable for a much wider enterprise community. While traditionally, affordable high-bandwidth was only available from a few select datacenters, Colt is bringing high bandwidth capabilities to over 24,000 connected enterprise buildings, and a much wider set of 700 datacenters, across Europe and Asia. Colt ensures that the deployment of these services is fully automated from end-to-end, so that customers can effectively "consume" the networking services via a portal, and get services delivered in real-time to all eligible locations that are already physically connected to the Colt fiber network.

VMblog:  Where do upload/download speeds come into consideration when enterprises consider bandwidth providers?

Coppens:  Traditionally with DSL based services, there was a trade-off between download and upload speeds. This was influenced, in most cases, by the tendency of residential users to consume more download than upload bandwidth. For fiber services these constraints don't apply, and, in general, upload and download speeds are the same and symmetrical.

VMblog:  And how does pricing strategy come into play when enterprises consider bandwidth providers?

Coppens:  Right now, the dominant model by far is a fixed monthly fee for an over-dimensioned network that can cope with any traffic peak. With On Demand, we're proposing an alternative commercial model without commitments - customers can increase or decrease the level of bandwidth required with a minimum granularity of one hour.

VMblog:  What are the main challenges to implementing scalable high-speed bandwidth capabilities for enterprises?  And have these changed over the past couple of years?

Coppens:  One challenge for enterprises is availability. In the main business areas and data centers, there's a lot of high bandwidth capacity available, but getting high bandwidth outside these areas at an attractive price is a lot more challenging! This is where Colt expands the high bandwidth offering from the key datacenters to a much wider set of enterprise buildings. Another challenge is the delivery time frame of high-bandwidth. Traditionally, this could be between 3 weeks and several months in the industry, which isn't accepted anymore which is why we've introduced instantaneous delivery with On Demand.

VMblog:  Do Colt's IoT and high-bandwidth initiatives converge?

Coppens:  Yes, Colt doesn't market IoT services directly to end-users, but our ownership of fiber assets across over 50 metropolitan areas in Europe and Asia enables us to underpin the IoT industry with high bandwidth networking where they need it.

VMblog:  How is Colt's ability to provide multi-location connectivity providing further advantages to today's digital enterprise?

Coppens:  Especially for customers that are located typically in main business centers, where the Colt IQ Network is present across Europe and Asia, we are able to connect a majority of their sites directly on Colt fiber and deliver the same seamless service across tens of countries. Because there is one owner of the underlying assets, there's big benefits in terms of cost base, bandwidth scalability, operational quality and innovation - in short we're not depending on anyone else there. The remaining sites that can't be connected directly, we're proposing an SD WAN solution where third party networking and public internet access are used in a hybrid mix together to deliver the best cost vs. quality balance.

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Peter Coppens 

Peter Coppens is the director of Ethernet and IP products at Colt Technology Services. In this role, Peter is responsible for aligning Colt's data network product portfolio to customer demand in Europe. His career spans nearly 20 years in the telecom sector. Prior to this role Peter served at Alcatel-Lucent and Global One. Since then, Peter has been active in Colt for 16 years in various senior positions. Based in Benelux, Peter is responsible for pricing, business development and product marketing and management. Peter graduated from the Free University of Brussels as a Civil Engineer in Electrical Engineering, with specialization in Photonics and Optical Communications.

Published Monday, April 24, 2017 8:41 AM by David Marshall
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