SDN SERIES: The Future of SDN: Where Does It Go From Here?

Virtual1 CEO Tom O’Hagan explains how SDN has changed the game

SDN SERIES: The Future of SDN: Where Does It Go From Here?

Software defined networking has certainly made some significant changes in the networking world over the last few years – but what exactly has it helped businesses accomplish and where will it take us in the future?

SDN SERIES 6 Virtual1 Tom O'Hagan

Virtual1 CEO, Tom O’Hagan

To find out more, we met up with Virtual1 CEO, Tom O’Hagan, to find out what impact SDN has had on the business and how it has helped them differentiate themselves from other competitors in the marketplace.

Having recognised importance of migrating to SDN many years ago, Virtual1 spent years carefully planning their move and when the technology was finally right for them to be able to implement it successfully they seized the opportunity.

Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength and is currently ranked as the UK’s most advanced wholesale only network that is capable of delivering much more scalability and impeccable service to its partners than any of the larger carriers in the market that are still running on traditional networks.

When Virtual1 chose to go down the SDN route, O’Hagan informed us that one of the main reasons for doing so was from knowing that they were going to build a national network, and once they had the network live they wanted to make sure the SDN platform was installed so that they could fully leverage its capabilities.

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As well as being able to deliver impeccable service to their partners, SDN also offered Virtual1 unparalleled levels of scalability and operational efficiency – as demonstrated by the fact that, after using it for their provisioning processes for well over a year, they have been able to reduce their router configuration processes down from an hour and a half to less than five minutes.

Unlike traditional networking, SDN enabled Virtual1 to provide a fully scalable, almost plug-and-play type solution that can be configures and rolled out across multiple sites in a fraction of the time and without the need for manual installation teams.

“Because everything is templated, we quickly configure and ship the router out to the site, plug it in in and as it talks to the brain of the network those configuration settings will be switched on in a matter of minutes.”

Aside from the speed, scalability and heavily reduced deployment costs SDN offers, by automating their processes, Virtual1 also benefitted considerably from the elimination of faults that occur as a result of human error. Much like a house of cards, if just one technician in a team of around dozen makes just one mistake when setting up a configuration, the whole network could come down as a result – and with SDN this is no longer an issue.

In terms of the impact it’s had on their customer experience, O’Hagan explains how SDN has enabled them to deliver much better service to their partners and has drastically increased their net promoter score (NPS) from a provider perspective.

In addition to this, SDN capabilities make customer support much less labour intensive and gives Virtual1 partners the ability to control and make quick changes to their own network through a web-portal rather than wait for their provider to make those changes for them.

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As a result, Virtual1 are quickly becoming the supplier of choice for many customers that have recognised the lengths in which the company has gone to provide a state-of-the-art networking solution that is easy to engage with, flexible, highly scalable and capable of delivering positive results on a consistent basis.

Though SDN offers many benefits to those who use it, for many other service providers in the market who are still running on a traditional network, Virtual1 has become a highly disruptive force that challenges those typical conventions by offering services that nobody else can compete with and are leading the way along the path towards a future dominated by software define networking.

“The capabilities SDN offers puts us years ahead of any other carriers, significant advantage that we are going to capitalise on throughout 2018.”

Whereas 2016 was all about raising funds and implementing their SDN plan, and 2017 was all about building their network, O’Hagan informed us that 2018 will be dedicated to pushing Virtual1 further out into the market and informed us that the they will begin looking at incorporating richer SD-WAN capabilities into their proposition.

Judging by Virtual1’s success in the market over such a short period of time, it’s clear why the demand for those unique services SDN can offer – better provisioning, more efficient service, greater customer experience (CX), reduced deployment/installation costs – is increasing at such a rapid rate.

Considering this, for those big operators that are still running on traditional networking systems, finding a way to move across to an automated, software defined platform is going to be essential in order for them to stay relevant in the future market.

SDN Series

Over the last few months we have been running our biweekly Virtual1 sponsored SDN Series where readers can learn about what Software Defined Networking is, why it is currently experiencing huge growth and how it can help improve business communications on a number of different levels.

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