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Thursday, 10 May 2012 14:22

CIOs reclaim IP networks


Telstra has launched the first in a suite of tools intended to return CIOs to the IP network driving seat, wresting back control from consumer devices.

The Application Assured Networking service provides CIOs with a window on all the applications running over IP networks. Available as a service pack to customers of Telstra’s Next IP network, users of will be able to access a web portal which will provide them with live reporting of the applications running on their network.

Later this year Telstra plans to release a second tool which will allow users to set network usage policies via the portal which will then be used to allocate network resources to specified applications in order to optimise performance. Telstra is pitching the system as a tool to enable enterprises to lift their productivity by ensuring that business critical applications receive priority on the network, while use of applications such as BitTorrent and YouTube are deliberately limited.

Speaking at the launch of the new service, Telstra chief technology officer Dr Hugh Bradlow, said that additional network intelligence was imperative as businesses increasingly relied on IP networks for access to critical business applications delivered as a service.

Dr Bradlow acknowledged that to some extent the Telstra service was a response to the challenge being faced by enterprises because of the proliferation of consumer devices – the so called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement - which were being connected to corporate networks. While corporate productivity applications can be accessed using these BYOD tools, so can consumer content – often clogging up corporate networks.

Telstra is clearly seeking to put the control of network consumption back in the hands of the CIO.

It might of course lead to some uncomfortable times for end users as they find access to their favourite consumer applications from work is curtailed. As Philip Jones, Telstra executive director data, IP and network applications and services, noted; “A lot of organisations will discover some interesting stuff about what people are doing at the start of their day. You no longer have to stand behind people to work out what they are doing.”

However Telstra acknowledged that the tool is not designed to identify rogue network users, instead it looks at the traffic running over a corporate IP network at a more holistic level, which is enough to allow CIOs to prioritise corporate applications.

John Ieraci, director of Telstra’s IP, data and security portfolio, claimed that the Application Assured Networking service gave Telstra a commanding lead over other international IP network providers. “This is all about contextual based networking …there is enough intelligence so that the network makes policy decision on the fly” based on preset parameters provided by the client company’s CIO, he said.

This element of the service – policy setting and control – will be released later this year. To achieve this level of control the CIO will tag individual applications according to the network priority level that they should receive.

At the same time Telstra will make available additional functions so that customers can access “bursts” of additional network capacity at key times – for example to support a telepresence conference. According to Mr Ieraci, Telstra will “create the ability to burst beyond the notional bandwidth” consuming (and paying for) additional capacity on demand.

According to Mr Jones; “This is as much a commercial activity as a technical solution” and would allow Telstra to sell additional capacity on its network to existing IP network clients.

It will also according to Mr Ieraci allow Telstra to offer its cloud computing services with different service levels – bronze, silver or gold he suggested – and be able to charge for telepresence applications on a per minute basis. “This will change the way it is consumed,” he said.

At the heart of the service are a series of Application Assured Gateways which are already deployed in all major capital cities. So far Telstra has signed up nine companies for the service, which is available on an opt-in basis for an additional cost.


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