Milan-Based Enter Launches SD-WAN Based on Ethernet Backbone

Milan, Italy-based network and cloud services company Enter launched its software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) based on its national and international network infrastructure. The SD-WAN leverages components of Enter’s footprint — including its MPLS, VPNs, dark fiber, and IP assets — and its Ethernet backbone, which provides a reliable, low-latency route for the SD-WAN.

“We just put all of the pieces together to create our SD-WAN service,” said Milko Ilari, Enter’s head of business and strategy. “It’s almost a natural evolution because we already have the software-defined network for our cloud services, the networking inside the cloud, our footprint, and international backbone.”

The SD-WAN builds upon the company’s existing hybrid WAN offering that’s distributed across 35 points of presence. “We needed to improve our WAN service to the enterprise customer,” said Ilari.

Enter’s SD-WAN is fully managed and automated. The platform allows its enterprise and carrier customers to manage multiple branches, prioritize business-critical applications, and monitor application performance.

It also enables multi-operator interconnection opportunities. This interconnection is a replication of the MPLS network-to-network interface (NNI) model, with SD-WAN technology and software, according to Ilari. However, he said that the SD-WAN is not yet automated between multiple vendors, “because there is not yet a standard language and interoperability platform that enables disparate platforms to work together.”

With the SD-WAN, Enter’s customers can connect to the network and request their required services — including network security, packet inspection, rules, and upgrades to bandwidth. This network virtualization and dynamic bandwidth gives customers end-to-end control over all their services.

While some SD-WAN offerings from other vendors are completely cloud-based, Enter instead uses several aggregation points connected to Enter’s Ethernet backbone so customers can benefit from both the connection of these points and the SD-WAN service, guaranteeing quality and low latency, according to Ilari.

Enter’s infrastructure is built on its OpenStack-based cloud platform and services. Through OpenStack, the company has created network automation capabilities, which now integrate with its SD-WAN platform.

“The full management of our network, legacy network, most of the SD-WAN, and the cloud are fully controlled by OpenStack orchestration,” said Ilari.

He also noted that there was some hesitation to adopt the technology among the company’s customers. “Many customers are interested, but are not yet ready to fully remove the old MPLS network for the SD-WAN,” said Ilari. “They are very interested to evaluate the SD-WAN because it can offer them a new solution that can offer them more services or more network possibility and ability, price reduction, and monitoring and visibility in the network. The customer needs a little bit more time to understand this solution can replace, over time, the old MPLS.”

The company has selected multiple operators to test the NNI interconnection service. And it has also selected an SD-WAN vendor for the hardware, fabric part of the solution, though the company would not disclose the vendor as it has not yet reached a final agreement with them.

“Due to SD-WAN being an evolving and ever-changing technology, we expect that its vendors will also change and evolve with its solution,” said Ilari. “Having a vendor that mirrors the company and the solution’s compliance and open platform requirements will also be key as its SD-WAN solution evolves.”

This article has been edited to reflect that Enter is only beta-testing its SD-WAN solution for carriers, the primary solution is fully operational.