Equinix brings edge to Sydney

Equinix is taking its Australian customers to the edge, providing Network Edge Services via Sydney.

Network Edge Services (NES) provides virtual network services, enabling enterprises to deploy network functions virtualisation from multiple vendors to connect their digital supply chains at Equinix, without a physical data center deployment or hardware requirements.

The Sydney metro availability of Network Edge is the first in Asia Pacific, alongside Singapore, which has also just been announced. NES was launched in the United States and Europe in June.

John Hanahan senior director of interconnections, told Telecom Times: “Customers have been trained by the clouds to consume things as a service and so what we have done here is effectively enabled customers to establish virtual points of presence in our facilities using industry leading network and security branded applications.”

Initial offerings include a Cisco virtual router, Versa SDWan and firewalls from Juniper, Palo Alto and Fortinet among the initial offerings available.

“Customers can select those applications out of our portal or via our APIs, deploy them on Equinix hosted infrastructure and then from there connect in real-time to the various destinations they want,” Hanahan says.

“We will continue to enhance the portfolio of vendors to really enable customers to use the software and hardware vendors their people are trained to use,” Hanahan says. “It’s important for enterprise customers to be able to leverage the same vendors they’re deploying in their branch offices, data centres and even in the cloud.”

Network Edge includes built-in integration to Equinix’s global on-demand, SDN-enabled interconnection service, Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric). The company says by combining Network Edge with ECX Fabric, customers can deploy virtual edge devices and interconnect them to clouds and network providers located in new global markets, extending their reach to new business partners around the world.

Hanahan says Network Edge’s use cases include cloud-to-cloud routing, migrating from one cloud to another, hybrid cloud firewall and branch to cloud SD-Wan.

“In a multicloud arrangement for example you might deploy a virtual router in our facility to be able to connect an application that might be sitting in Amazon Web Services, with the database within Oracle for example.

“Instead of connecting those two over the public internet where the performance might not be consistent and latency might vary, we have the edge presence for both of those customers and can very quickly connect them together via a virtual router the customer places in our facilities.”

Hanahan says one Australian multinational has already done just that, utilising Equinix’s US NES services. NES launched in the US and Europe in June.

“By doing a cloud to cloud application architecture in this fashion they’re able to deliver a much better performance to the end users while taking advantage of the best of breed capabilities of each cloud.”

Hanahan says other use cases include customers extending their reach into new markets to connect to new clouds, using virtual points of presence to enable multicloud connectivity to clouds resident in the another market.

Australia-US negotiate Cloud data sharing

Australia and the United States have begun negotiations which could see law enforcement and security agencies on both sides of the Pacific gaining access to data held on cloud platforms in the other country.

Formal negotiations for a bilateral agreement under the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act – otherwise known as the Cloud Act – began this week.

If formalised and approved the agreement will require service providers in Australia and the United States ‘to respond to lawful orders from the other country without fear of running afoul of restrictions on disclosure and thus provide more access for both countries to providers holding electronic evidence that is crucial in today’s investigations and prosecutions,” says United States Attorney General William Barr.

In plain English, the Cloud would require cloud and social network providers in Australia to hand over data relevant to serious crime when requested by US law enforcement agencies, and vice versa. The Act removes some of the barriers to gaining access to the data which the US says can take between six months to two years, with requests for data being submitted first to the relevant government for approval. The Cloud Act aims to reduce that to weeks or even days.

The opening of negotiations comes just a week after the US signed a similar ‘world first’ data access Cloud Act deal with the UK.

New legislation would need to be written and passed in Australia before the deal could become official.

Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, says “We have some way to go before the agreement is finalised, but once in place it will mean service providers based in the United States can respond directly to electronic data requests issued by our enforcement agencies under Australian law for data critical for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crime.”

Dutton current processes for obtaining electronic information held by service providers in other countries risk loss of evidence and unacceptable delays to criminal justice outcomes.

“When police are investigating a terrorist plot or serious crime such as child exploitation, they need to be able to move forward without delay, but within the law – and the Cloud Act strikes exactly that balance,” Dutton says.

“This is the way of the future between likeminded countries.”

The negotiations come as the Australian, US and UK governments call on Facebook to hold off on  its plans to deploy end-to-end encryption across Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp messaging.

Multi-cloud adding new challenges: report

Multi-cloud is giving CIOs headaches according to a new report, which found that application experience is suffering as a result of companies increasingly using more than one pubic cloud in conjunction with a private cloud infrastructure.

The survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of New York based application experience specialist Kemp Technologies, confirms that multi-cloud is fast becoming the standard for business with 84 percent of CIOs surveyed expecting multi-cloud will make up to half of their hosting environment in the next three years – up from an average of less than 30 percent today.

But the report – based on a survey of 150 companies across Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong – also found that as more critical applications migrate to the public cloud, the ability to achieve visibility and control is becoming crucial to maintaining resilience and availability as well as ensuring the optimum application experience.

“The migration of applications into public cloud environments or across multiple clouds can enable better application experience, control and flexibility when paired with load balancing infrastructure,” says Tony Sandberg, Kemp APAC regional director.

IT teams are predicting a more complex environment deploying applications in the cloud and are expressing a clear need to simplify deployment, get better management and control of those applications. Speed, agility, scalability, and automation are now the top requirements for these load balancers.

“Deployment of load balancing on a per-application basis that matches exact requirements will become more common to achieve the speed and agility required today,” the report says.

“Where load balancers were once configured and left to run for months or even years at a time, IT teams today are looking to automation to help build and deploy load balancers in desired states more frequently, ensuring applications can be scaled up and down, migrated to and from different clouds and to address failover scenarios.”

Nutanix names new APAC and Japan VP of Marketing

Nutanix has appointed Jordan Reizes as its new Vice President of Marketing for Asia Pacific and Japan.

Based in Sydney, Reizes will be responsible for driving the enterprise cloud specialist’s marketing strategy and sales support as the company continues its regional expansion.

Nutanix said Asia was a key market, tipping Reizes’ appointment a clear signal of its continued expansion, growth and commitment to the region. The role will see Reizes reporting to Nutanix CMO Ben Gibson, and leading the 30-strong marketing team across Australia and New Zealand, ASEAN, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

In A/NZ, he will work closely with the Head of Marketing, Liselle Porfirio, and country Managing Director, Jamie Humphrey, to help drive demand for Nutanix services in key verticals such as financial services, manufacturing, utilities and government, as the country’s enterprises increasingly move to hybrid cloud.

Reizes, who has about two decades of experience in senior marketing leadership roles, joined the company from Sitecore, where he was Senior Director APJ Field Marketing. Prior to that he had four years at SimpliVity as Senior Director, APJ Field Marketing and Global Programmes, and seven years at EMC.

“The explosion of data and the shift to cloud continues to create unprecedented opportunities for our customers and partners,” said Nutanix APAC SVP Matt Young. “Jordan’s leadership, experience and recognised expertise will be instrumental in helping Nutanix ensure they are able to capitalise on those opportunities.”

Reizes appointment is part of an increased investment in Asia by Nutanix that includes a new flagship regional office in Singapore, a rapid and continuing expansion of its sales team, and a greater focus on larger enterprises. Nutanix also plans to move into its new Sydney located, A/NZ headquarters in late October.


Cenitex ‘flips’ cloud security conversation to boost Australian uptake

Cloud adoption by Australian businesses is growing at a rapid rate yet still lags behind other countries. The slower adoption has been attributed in large part to increasing concerns around cyber security,  data privacy and capability as well as a widening skills shortage.

However, organisations like Cenitex, which was established by the Victoria state government to centralise ICT support its departments and agencies, say they have “flipped” the conversation around security, noting it’s no longer just about the data centre perimeter, but instead more about having security follow the user.

0 (14)Addressing a gathering of media and analysts in Sydney, Cenitex director of digital transformation, Nav Pillai, said security was no longer about protecting just the data centre, but also the devices used daily by the firm’s large workforce.

The organisation, which services some 36,000 users situated in 450 offices across the state, has adopted San Jose based IT security specialist Zscaler’s cloud platform to secure IT services.

“One of the biggest guidelines from the Victorian Government policy perspective, is [that] it wants to encourage people working remotely, working from home, and have diversity in what people can access and from where,” said Pillai.

“All these considered, we can’t keep doing what we were doing in the data centre,” he told Telecom Times. ‘The devices, when taken away from the office and into a home with WiFi or a café, then the user isn’t protected; only the data centre is protected – so we have to remove the interface.”

The Zscaler cloud platform supports the organisation’s use of cloud-based applications including Microsoft Office 365, and will also offer protection to Victorian Government guest WiFi users.

Pillai said the current model allowed the service provider to work with different partners when it comes to telecommunication needs.

“In Melbourne CBD we have a huge building with 1,000 people working in the City Department,” he added.

“That means we have to work with two big telco providers to provide fibre cable. When you go into our regional offices where there are only 10 people, it doesn’t make sense to actually have a fibre connection, that’s when you have to look at a cheaper option”.

Pillai acknowledged that the situation had become complex, because the company no longer dealt with just one service provider, but did emphasise that the “cost benefits and the business outcomes” for the customer meant it was far better than sticking with one provider.

Nutanix, HPE eye APAC hyperconverged infrastructure opportunity with rollout of HPE ProLiant DX appliances

Nutanix and enterprise IT specialist HPE are stepping up joint efforts to capitalize on rising demand for cloud ready architecture in the Asia-Pacific markets, flagging the general availability of the new HPE ProLiant DX series appliances.

The firms – which struck a global partnership agreement in April to target enterprises with an integrated hybrid cloud as a Service (aaS) offering – said hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and hybrid cloud continued to gain momentum throughout APAC with businesses replacing their aging IT infrastructure faster to meet increasing competition.

A key part of the collaboration is the newly developed ProLiant DX appliance series, built with HPE servers and factory-installed Nutanix software, for on-premises operations.

0 (11)“The HPE ProLiant DX series puts Asia’s enterprises are in the driving seat,” said Matt Young, SVP and Head of Asia Pacific and Japan, Nutanix.

“As international competition intensifies and the threat of a global economic slowdown continues, Asia’s enterprises will rely more and more on a future-ready infrastructure to provide the efficiencies and productivity required to survive and thrive.”

0 (10)“We are already seeing high levels of excitement and interest from A/NZ customers and partners now that Nutanix is available on HPE ProLiant DX,” said Jamie Humphrey, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Nutanix.

“Businesses understand that their technology infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose and cannot simply be ‘patched’ or tinkered with. DX now provides them with the means to modernise their data centre on their terms; with the hardware and software platform of their choice.”

Turbo charging collaboration in a cloud-first world

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By Graham Schultz, ANZ regional director for Silver Peak

Today, most enterprise CIOs are of in the midst of migrating more of their business applications and infrastructure to the cloud, including real-time voice calling, video conferencing and collaboration applications. 

In fact, Gartner predicts by 2021, 90 percent of IT leaders will not purchase new premises-hosted unified communications (UC) infrastructure because future cloud-hosted UC-as-a-service (UCaaS) offerings will be far ahead in terms of features, functions, analytics and dashboards.

Users now have access to tools to encourage collaboration and productivity across an organisation’s communications network from any device and any location, be that between branches or regional divisions, remote workers or offices on different sides of the world. 

While enterprises are increasingly adopting UCaaS to streamline voice, video and web conferencing, these services are particularly sensitive to packet loss, latency and jitter. Dropped calls, weak signals and degraded video connections with pixelated screens are relatively common occurrences. 

Most of these issues can be attributed to impairments in the underlying transport network, which is often the public internet. Voice and video quality problems can also be exacerbated when traffic must traverse multiple peering internet service providers, resulting in an unpredictable user experience, especially when accessing real-time services in distributed regions.

We regularly hear from organisations that employees often ignore expensive collaboration tools because the experience is too frustrating. Many are also using their personal mobile phones for work because the VoIP experience the company provides has become so unreliable.

Failed telephony and network connections are more than annoying. They result in negative user experiences, lost time and missed opportunities. Users often blame technical difficulties on conferencing technology or applications, the internet service or a “bad line.” In fact, it’s more than likely a network infrastructure problem the business must address. 

Solving frustrating performance challenges for voice, video and real-time collaboration tools is the crux of why the next big thing in UC is software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs). 

Deliver a turbo charged engine

An SD-WAN enables an organisation to avoid convoluted and inefficient network design because it gives users direct access to UCaaS services from any branch location. This is dramatically more efficient than having to traverse the corporate private WAN. 

According to recent research from Frost & Sullivan, more than half of Australian enterprises plan to implement SD-WAN this year or next, looking to deploy new branch sites faster, apply granular security policies and achieve superior WAN and application performance.

Most modern SD-WANs will provide basic path selection based on the performance needs of the application, to intelligently and dynamically direct traffic over the best available connection to realise improvements in application performance. 

However, to achieve specific, desired performance levels for cloud-based applications and services, improve the user experience and enhance collaboration opportunities, you must look for an advanced SD-WAN platform designed for these business requirements.

A business-driven SD-WAN platform is like a turbocharged engine in a car. It can accelerate performance and optimise the UCaaS user experience. So, what should you look for to turbocharge your UCaaS services offerings?

Dynamic path control for multiple connections to a site, which provides automatic seamless failover from a failed branch circuit for all voice calls, video calls and real-time collaboration.

Application visibility and control to enable better management of the underlying connectivity, eliminating the impact of possible UCaaS service packet loss/drop, WAN link congestion or failure.

Cloud hosted offering to give you the ability to do ruggedised/protected last mile with a cloud-based IaaS instance of the SD-WAN. This is one of the best ways to assure consistent UCaaS performance.

Local internet breakout to identify UCaaS applications on the first packet and automatically steers traffic to a local UCaaS service PoP without backhauling to a data centre, so users can always securely connect to their application from anywhere.

Business-driven application specific routing to automatically prioritise network resources to UC, steering traffic directly to the UCaaS service, thereby improving quality of service (QoS) and delivering the highest quality of experience to users.

Better performance means happy users

Don’t forget that you’ve given these UC tools to users to drive value for your business. By ensuring a superior experience, they can cut through silos and improve productivity. They can innovate and make better decisions together. 

Why ruin your chances for the best ROI possible, by not having the right network underneath your UCaaS? Support these tools with the right infrastructure and improve the user experience to help your employees get the job done. 

Graham Schultz is ANZ regional director for Silver Peak, responsible for accelerating growth and customer adoption of the company’s SD-WAN solutions. Schultz has over 20 years of industry experience, spanning cloud, virtualisation, networking, storage and business intelligence. For more information, visit: https://www.silver-peak.com