While the focus of cloud computing has been servers, storage, apps, databases and middleware, the reality is that without the network, the cloud would not exists. Just as the network wires the datacentre together, so too the world depends on a vast complex of connected networks to connect users and businesses.
The 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global (NSP) says that “enterprises' global network needs are evolving rapidly, driven by cloud IT adoption and the growing importance of emerging markets. It is, therefore, vital for enterprises to review their global network sourcing to ensure they are still getting the optimum service for their needs.”
In the competition for the world’s need to connect to the cloud, service providers are expanding their networks through a combination of owned infrastructure and partnerships with regional and local carriers, including fixed national backbones.
Poster child for network connectivity to the cloud is BT Global Services, which received recognition from Gartner for the eleventh time as one of the leaders in the Magic Quadrant for Network Services. The analyst uses seven criteria to evaluate vendors in this space.
BT also received the highest product scores in 5 out of 5 use cases in Gartner’s Critical Capabilities for Network Services, Pan-European report for the second consecutive year. In that report, BT receives the highest score in the Product Score for Overall use case (4.73 out of 5) and in each of the four product use cases for Midsize European Network (4.78 out of 5), Large European Network (4.77 out of 5), Multi-country Branch Network (4.80 out of 5) and Core City Backbone (4.65 out of 5). The report evaluates 11 vendors, including BT Global Services, against seven critical product capabilities: managed MPLS VPNs, Ethernet Services, managed Internet VPNs & hybrid WANs, Internet Access, SIP trunks, managed WAN optimisation and application performance management, managed LAN and WLAN.
Gartner says the number of organizations requiring global networking services continues to grow, due to globalization and the growing adoption of cloud services, which are often hosted in markets that differ from the point of consumption. Organizations' appetite for more bandwidth shows no signs of diminishing. IT centralization, cloud adoption and the continued growth of applications such as video, machine-to-machine communications and big data are the primary drivers.
Reliability and performance control are growing in importance, as business processes become ever-more IT dependent. Gartner says vendors in the Leaders quadrant deliver comprehensive portfolios of network services, across broad geographies, with good service quality. These providers address the global networking needs of a broad range of enterprises in terms of size, geographic distribution and vertical industry. Leaders shape the direction of the market by extending their coverage, developing new class-leading capabilities and new commercial models, and deploying these at scale.
Gartner also states that “Enterprise IT and networking leaders should specify their Pan-European WAN service needs based on their required outcomes, such as application availability and performance, not technologies, as well as evaluate each provider's ability to deliver service levels that meet these objectives for each location.”
BT CEO Luis Alvarez is quoted in the BT press release that the company will continue to add new capabilities including expanded reach, enhanced performance in the cloud and new services to address the opportunities of the future. BT is investing in portal enhancements designed to improve the customer experience and speed of delivery. BT is recently undertook service trials of Virtual customer premise equipment (CPE), Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) deployed with customers, with the aim to introduce them as standard solutions within the next twelve months.“