Windstream BusinessWith Windstream SDNow, Windstream continues its push into wholesale and enterprise markets by targeting optical wave orchestration opportunities in the data center, and ultimately the cloud. SDN orchestration automates network functions, including provisioning, and removes human intervention with equipment to accomplish networking tasks, often involving multiple vendors.

Windstream will use SDNow for optical wave services in the data center and in long haul networks. The service will provide automated provisioning and other functions in the network for 1G and 10G optical wavelength circuits, according to a company spokesperson.

“We are investing in strategic technologies that enable us to deliver flexible, on-demand services across our multi-vendor network,” said Mike Shippey, president of Windstream Wholesale in a press release. “Consumers of SDN-provisioned services will see improvement in their customer experience through the removal of human touch-points in the service fulfillment process, and improved accuracy through automated standard configurations.”

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Windstream SDNow
SDNow is an example of the type of SDN-based service being pursued by many carriers. SDN turns the network into a programmable resource, with legacy hardware functions now achieved through software and SDN controllers. In theory, it removes complexity from the network and allows for more on-demand type services and flexibility in a multi-vendor environment.

windstream earthlink deal network map
Combined Windstream- EarthLink Network (Source: Windstream)

An example is an enterprise customer ordering an optical wave circuit through an online customer portal. That circuit can touch numerous networks, domains, and firewalls, which historically would require service order provisioning that could touch multiple parties and may take weeks. With SDNow and platforms like it, Windstream hopes most, if not all of that process is automated and could be turned up in a matter of minutes, despite touching those various multi-vendor network elements.

Windstream is using Ciena’s Blue Planet platform as their multi-domain service orchestration (MDSO) orchestrator, interoperating with multiple platform vendors and their controllers to provide the solution. For the data center interconnect (DCI) solution, Windstream utilizes Infinera.

A Windstream spokesperson tells Telecompetitor that several wholesale customers are already using SDNow, but declined to reveal who. Windstream will initially deploy SDNow in third-party carrier neutral data centers in Chicago, Dallas, Ashburn (VA), Miami and Atlanta. Expansion to an additional 50 locations is planned for later this summer.

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