Like other large service providers, Colt is hard at work on its SDN and NFV blueprints, which includes its on-demand portfolio of services.
Peter Coppens, director of Ethernet and IP portfolio, is responsible for Colt's IP properties across Europe and part of Asia, which means he is directly involved in the company's SDN-enabled on-demand services.
Earlier this year, Colt Technology Services Group announced it had made some enhancements to its Ethernet-on-demand service for enterprises. The Ethernet-on-demand service supports real-time ordering, dialing bandwidth up or down on the fly by using a portal and fast provisioning of connections across its Colt IQ Network.
Currently, Colt has more than 5,000 enterprise buildings and 200 data centers, which are fiber connected, that are providing the Ethernet-on-demand service across 11 countries in Europe. Colt said it would add additional locations this year, including in Asia. All told, Colt has more than 24,500 on-net buildings.
In Part I of the Q&A, Coppens spoke about the Ethernet on-demand service and Colt's move into the US. In Part II he'll delve into Colt's relationship with other service providers, such as
Telco Transformation: Colt had previously launched Ethernet-on-demand, but the big news here is the additional buildings and how quickly it can be managed and provisioned?
Peter Coppens: We have indeed launched it a while ago, but it has now been widened to many more buildings. It's also brought this--similar to Amazon Web Servcies and Microsoft Azure -- capability to get it delivered instantaneously. Customers can dial up and dial down bandwidth in real time. It gives customers the option of having a very flexible commercial model, meaning that the minimum time to obtain the service is one hour. In the past it took six months or whatever. Within a one-hour time frame you can increase or decrease your bandwidth.
TT: If I'm a customer I need a white box on my end, whose white box are you using?
PC: So we have the fiber in the buildings and then we have a box at the end of that fiber. That box is now fully managed in software. It does customer configuration online in a matter of minutes. In fact, the customer does the configuration and the deployment online in a matter of minutes, usually two minutes, to get through the whole process.
Obviously, if the customer's not on fiber, then this option is not yet available. We are working with other telecom parties to try and see if we can buy services from them. At the moment in Europe we're the only one doing this at scale. We can offer it where Colt is present without owning fiber.
TT: And have you disclosed what white box you are using?
PC: The white boxes we are using for this particular service are from Accedian Networks. A lot of the automation has been home-built on top of the capabilities of the open boxes. It's different from our SD-WAN offering, which is using the public Internet. That's more using the public Internet and it's a completely different story from the on-demand service we're talking about now.
TT: Through its Novitas platform, Colt has a two-pronged approach to SDN
and NFV. Can you provide some details on both?
PC: So we have two big flavors: the on-demand side and the SD-WAN flavor.
On the on-demand side we have three things. We carry Ethernet-on-demand, cloud on-demand and all of the data center interconnection. Those are the three key things. Technology-wise, it's all based on the same thing. It's all Internet connections, but it's packaged a bit differently for the different use cases. That's on the on-demand side.
SD-WAN side we are working with Versa Networks as our provider. There we are tackling the whole wide area network (WAN) market. That's where people are looking to move from traditional wide area networks to a mix of traditional WAN and SD-WAN. We see a lot of attraction there. We don't have to explain the use case for SD-WAN because customers see it themselves.
TT: Colt announced late last year that it was expanding its presence into North America. Can you give us an update on that?
PC: We have a sales team in the US that's mostly focused on selling connectivity from the US to Europe and Asia, and inside Europe. At the moment our capabilities in the US are limited compared to some of the other big players there. In the US, we don't have the thousands of enterprise buildings connected with fiber. We do have fiber in the US to a number of key data centers. It enables US customers that need connectivity between London and Frankfurt to order and scale it up and down, and obviously, from within the US it's a portal-based delivery mechanism.
I know in the US there are quite a few service providers that have been going that way or trying to go that way. In Europe, it's still quite unique. There's no one doing it at the scale that Colt is doing it in Europe at the moment.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation