Category Archives: BT

BT outage impacts 10% of customers in capital

BT Sevenoaks workstyle buildingBT has confirmed around 10% of its customers experienced an outage this morning, which has reportedly been linked to a power incident at the former Telecity LD8 site in London, which is now owned by Equinix, reports Telecoms.com.

BT first acknowledged the outage this morning on Twitter, which took down broadband services for a number of customers in the London area.

The LD8 data centre in London’s Docklands currently houses the London Internet Exchange (LINX), one of the world’s largest Internet Exchanges with more than 700 members which include ISPs such as BT and Virgin Media, as well as content providers.

“We’re sorry that some BT and Plusnet customers experienced problems accessing some internet services this morning,” said a BT spokesperson. “Around 10% of customers’ internet usage was affected following power issues at one of our internet connection partners’ sites in London. The issue has now been fixed and services have been restored.”

While the comment has stated the problem was limited to London, BT’s service status page does indicate dozens of cities and towns across the UK experienced issues. These service challenges have not been directly linked to the same incident to date.

The LD8 data centre has been under control of Equinix over recent months since the US company acquired Telecity for $3.8 billion. Equinix claims it is now the largest retail colocation provider in Europe and globally, after the deal added 34 data centres to the portfolio, though eight assets had to be off-loaded to keep competition powers in the European Commission happy.

“Equinix can confirm that we experienced a brief outage at the former Telecity LD8 site in London earlier this morning,” said a Equinix spokesperson. “This impacted a limited number of customers, however service was restored within minutes. Equinix engineers are on site and actively working with customers to minimise the impact.”

During email exchanges with Telecoms.com, neither BT or Equinix named either party, though this is understandable as it is a sensitive issue. Despite BT stating all services have been recovered at the time of writing the service status page lists dozens of towns and cities who are still experiencing problems. Although not directly linked, as long as service problems continue BT is likely to be facing a mounting customer service challenge.

BT and Daisy announce £70mn partnership

BT Sevenoaks workstyle buildingBT has announced a £70 million partnership with Daisy Group which will offer customers of the latter to BT’s Wholesale Hosted Centrex (WHC) platform, reports Telecoms.com.

Daisy’s customers will be integrated to the platform over the next 18 months, which provides customers with cloud-based unified communications services including cloud call recording, HD voice services, call analytics and web collaboration.

“Many businesses are now hosting their communication services using cloud technology to make them accessible to all, using any fixed or mobile device, at any time, wherever they might be,” said Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT Wholesale and Ventures. “BT and Daisy Group have been pioneers of that trend, so I’m delighted that we’re coming together to bring customers a powerful combination of experience, scale and expertise.

“We believe the rapid pace of change will continue over the coming years, and we’re looking forward to helping both Daisy and BT customers reap the benefits that change will bring.”

The cloud of clouds initiative launched by BT has been one of the cornerstones of its enterprise business strategy for some time. Last month            , Oracle and BT announced a new partnership which allows customers to use features of BT Cloud Connect environment to gain direct connectivity to the Oracle Cloud.

The relationship between the two companies has been in place long-term, however was extended in 2011 when the pair announced a strategic partnership which allowed BT to sell wholesale calls, Ethernet and broadband products to Daisy’s customers. As part of the initial partnership, Daisy became a third party supplier of PBX telephone systems related maintenance and engineering services to BT.

“We are committed to supporting our customers and partners as the business digitisation journey continues to unfold,” said Neil Muller, CEO of Daisy Group. “This collaboration with BT ensures that we are at the forefront of providing the latest in cloud solutions, increasing customers’ levels of capability and confidence as they continue to manage the relentlessness of technological change. I am hugely proud of Daisy’s relationship with BT and this is a perfect opportunity to further enhance our capability and provide our customers and partners with an industry leading cloud solution.”

Oracle and BT team up to conquer the cloud

Oracle planeOracle has announced a new partnership with BT as the company continues its efforts to redefine its offering and penetrate the cloud computing market segment, reports Telecoms.com.

Through the new partnership customers will be able to use several features of BT Cloud Connect environment to gain direct connectivity to the Oracle Cloud. The offering will provide options for connectivity from hybrid enterprise data centres to the Oracle Cloud, of which there are currently 19 spread around the world.

“Direct and reliable access to data and applications hosted in cloud environments has become critical to organisations as they embark on their digital transformation journeys,” Luis Alvarez, CEO of Global Services at BT. “We are accelerating our drive to be the world’s leading cloud services integrator and I am proud that BT is becoming the first global network services provider to offer direct access to the Oracle Cloud.”

Both companies have launched new initiatives to capitalize on the burgeoning cloud computing industry. BT’s Cloud of Clouds offering was launched last year in April as part of the company’s new technology roadmap to move customers onto a cloud platform. The Cloud of Clouds offering allows customers to integrate BT’s private, public and hybrid cloud services, as well as services from partners including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Salesforce and Cisco.

Oracle’s journey to the cloud has been a more varied experience, though the team would appear to be prioritizing the market segment for future growth. The tech giant was seemingly very sceptical over the implementation of cloud initially, as Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison said in an analyst briefing in 2008, “The computer industry is the only industry which is more fashion driven than women’s fashion. I was reading W and it said that orange is the new pink. Cloud is the new SaaS.”

Since this comment the company has changed its direction, acquiring several cloud vendors to boost its position in the market. Oracle has however taken a slightly different approach from others in the industry, targeting organizations which have a vertical specific cloud offering. Opower, a company which provides customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services to the utilities industry, was acquired for $532 million in May, and Textura, a provider of construction contracts and payment management cloud services, was bought for $663 million in April.

Although Oracle has been late to the party, the company has committed heavily to the new market. During the quarterly call earlier this month Ellison claimed Oracle is in a strong position to grow in the IaaS, having invested heavily second generation data centres. Telecoms.com readers would appear to agree with Ellison’s confidence as we asked in a flash poll whether the company could break AWS, Microsoft and Google’s dominance in the IaaS market; 64% agreed it could in time.

Oracle has committed heavily to the cloud computing market in recent years after an initial period of denial, which could be linked back to the company’s reliance on revenue driven from non-cloud products. The partnership would appear to be a move to justify the company’s position in the cloud market as Oracle lean on BT’s credibility to push its cloud offering to BT customers.

What did we learn from BT’s 2016 CIO Report?

Office worker sitting on rooftop in cityBT has recently released its 2016’s CIO report, dissecting the challenges and opportunities available for enterprise organizations, and the CIO, following the mainstream adoption of disruptive digital technologies.

The 2015 edition of the report highlighted CIO’s role was shifting away from that of a technologist and operations guru, and more towards a strategic, creative and consultative one. As organizations are still identifying what digital means for their own business, the CIO is becoming ever more central in the boardroom as each enterprise continues on the path to understand how technology adoption and integration could ultimately define its success or failure.

Here, we’ve detailed a few of the lessons learnt from the 2016 report:

Security is now being dealt with

Cloud and/or cyber security has been a topic of interest throughout the industry, though there has been a difficulty in addressing the challenge as few have identified a means to do so. It would appear that as there hasn’t been a concise or even complicated answer to the security conundrum, conversations have been swept under the carpet.

Through conversations BCN has had at recent events we understand security is still a major challenge, though discussions around how to become more secure are less taboo. In general, it would seemingly appear CIO’s have accepted the idea 100% secure is never possible, but this is okay. You have to continuously evolve your security strategy to adapt to a dynamic threat environment.

The report highlights 33% of respondents believe the transition through to cloud computing will act as a catalyst to improve security throughout the organization. It would appear the implementation of cloud is forcing enterprise to deal with security – it is no longer a subject which can be put off for another day.

Changes to CIO roleCloud is no longer a choice

65% of respondents stated their current infrastructures are struggling to deal with the rapid adoption of digital technologies. There are still challenges to the adoption of a cloud model (security, legacy systems, time constraints and budget), though the CIO’s in questions realize cloud is no longer an option to become more successful, but a necessity to remain relevant.

The CIO role has changed and there’s no going back

Traditionally the role of the IT department has been to ‘keep the lights switch on’ and to ensure the business does not close down. It’s operational, it’s in the backroom and it’s all about keeping things running. Not anymore.

The operational role of IT will never disappear, but the decision making capability and the influence on the businesses strategy has been increased. In fact, 72% of the respondents believe the CIO’s standing in the boardroom has improved increased, 73% believe the boards expectations of the CIO has increased and 70% believe the board are now looking for a creative CIO, not just someone to keep everything ticking along.

A successful CIO will be able to bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the business, becoming more of a businessman as opposed to a technologist. The disruptive nature of digital technologies ensure CIO’s now have to be driven by flexibility, adaptive to new ideas, understanding of agile models and more receptive to alternative trends. This could be seen as quite a shift in what would be the current perception of a CIO.

BT Quote

BT beefs up Cloud of Clouds security with Palo Alto Wildfire

Security concept with padlock icon on digital screenBT is to install a cloud-based breach prevention security system from Palo Alto Networks (PAN) into its global Cloud of Clouds, writes Telecoms.com.

Under the terms of a new BT-PAN agreement, BT’s existing Assure Managed Firewall service will now include PAN’s cloud-based WildFire malware prevention system, described as a ‘key component’ of the security specialist’s Next-Generation Security Platform. In a statement, BT said the installation is part of a long term plan to roll out stronger protection for its cloud-based applications as it aims to encourage enterprise customers to benefit from its Cloud of Clouds.

Though enterprises are keen to embark on a digital transformation, security concerns continue to hold them back, according to Mark Hughes, CEO of BT Security. The most obviously profitable use cases for cloud computing, such as big-data analytics and access to more cloud based applications, are the very attractions that cyber criminals are most likely to target. In the rush to provide greater levels of security telcos and cloud service providers face an investment protection challenge, Hughes said.

While enterprise customers need to access these applications quickly and securely, they must also find future-proof tools that can go with the cloud and won’t have to be expensively replaced in a few years time. “Enterprises need security that can protect them against targeted and increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks. They need a tougher lining around their cloud services,” said Hughes.

Palo Alto Networks will provide intelligent security monitoring and management services to the BT Assure portfolio of security services. The Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Security Platform includes a Next-Generation Firewall, Advanced Endpoint Protection and a Threat Intelligence Cloud.

BT recently won two new cloud service contracts with the European Commission worth £24 million, bringing its total of EC contract wins to four in 12 months, BCN reported in January. With data security an increasingly sensitive issue with the EC (as reported in BCN), BT has taken on a challenging brief to provide public and private cloud services across 52 major European institutions, agencies and bodies.

BT uses Cisco IWAN tech for new SDN namaged service

BT cloud of cloudsBT has launched a new managed comms service that uses software defined networking techniques to automatically optimise network traffic, reports Telecoms.com.

The BT Connect Intelligence IWAN service will, it claims, cut networking costs, boost app performance and tighten security for clients. It unveiled the Walgreens Boots Alliance as a reference customer, which runs in the UK and 20 other countries. Clients can use IWAN as a bridging stage in its transition to full network function virtualisation and software definition in the cloud, it claims.

BT’s IWAN was created by integrating Cisco’s Intelligent WAN (IWAN) service within the BT Connect portfolio of network services. The new offering is a hybrid of public and private cloud and uses Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology to create virtualised functions such as application performance management and security.

Among the new options offered in this first version of Connect Intelligence IWAN will be a        Virtual Private Network (VPN), fast track application routing, higher rates of app performance and better intelligence on how the network is operating.

The VPNs will be created using MPLS technology and will secure interconnections across hybrids of private and public cloud, as well as fixed line and mobile networks. Meanwhile, despite the powerful levels of encryption set up by the VPNs, information from applications will be fast tracked across the network by the quickest possible route, thanks to intelligence based on real-time network performance. The faster performance of applications will improve productivity and user experience, claims BT. Meanwhile SDN will allow the service provider to gives customers deep insight into their application and network performance, BT claims. The telco claims customers can self-manage their networks through BT’s My Account portal.

The use of NFV and SDN paves the way for a new generation of services that are quicker and easier to set up and change, according to Keith Langridge, VP of network services at BT Global Services. “Customers all over the world can now deal much more effectively with their increasing bandwidth and traffic optimisation demands,” said Langridge.

BT wins £24 million worth of EU cloud service contracts

BT Sevenoaks workstyle buildingTelco BT has won new two cloud service contracts with European Commission worth £24 million, which brings its total of EC contract wins to four in 12 months.

The brief, to provide public and private cloud services across 52 major European institutions, agencies and bodies, is one of the largest government contracts in Europe. Among the clients receiving the cloud computing services are the European Parliament, the European Council and the European Defence Agency.

The two framework contracts, announced this week, were awarded in December 2015, and will run for a maximum of four years once legal details have been finalised. Once work begins BT will implement the contracted private cloud services, after which it will become one of five providers competing to run public cloud projects.

The two new deals are the third and fourth European Commission framework contract wins awarded to BT in 2015, all of which involved open calls for tender from all EC approved suppliers.

In August 2015 BT signed a seven year £11.5 million (€15.2m) framework contract with the European Commission to provide voice services across 21 major European institutions, agencies and bodies. This followed March’s award of a five year £42 million (€55.7m) framework contract for the delivery of dedicated internet access to all major European institutions, agencies and bodies across the 28 member states. BT has provided services to the European Union for more than a decade.

The newly contracted services will be hosted from a geographically diverse spread of data centres within the European Union and all customer data will remain within the Union. As part of the tender process BT had to prove it could meet strict EU requirements for data sovereignty, compliance, security and privacy.

BT will integrate and manage the data centre estate using its Compute Management System (CMS), a single, federated portal for IT services which, BT claims, is its ‘secret sauce’ for winning contracts.

“This is a milestone in our journey to be the leading global cloud services integrator,” said Corrado Sciolla, BT Global Services’ president.

BT Cloud Connect to give customer direct link to Salesforce

BT cloud of cloudsTelco BT is to give its corporate customers the option of a hotline to Salesforce’s cloud service through its BT Cloud Connect service.

The telco claimed it can provide a high performance link to Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform and give customers a more reliable and faster performance from the system, as part of its

Cloud of Clouds programme. BT’s global network connects 200 data centres, 48 of which it owns and operates itself.

The service will be rolled out incrementally from February 2016. The priorities for service roll out will be the US first, then Europe, followed by the rest of the world.

Clients desperately want the cloud to help them manage and access vast amounts of valuable data, but it needs to be made easier for them, according to Keith Langridge, VP of network services at BT Global Services. “Our Cloud of Clouds makes it easier by providing direct, secure and high performance connectivity to the applications. Salesforce is a true pioneer of the technology so this is an important milestone in the delivery of our vision,” said Langridge.

The methods that companies use to connect with the cloud needs to be refined, according to Salesforce’s UK MD Andrew Lawson. “BT is accelerating this shift for its customers,” said Lawson. The addition of Salesforce to its cloud of clouds roster will transform the way BT’s clients can connect with customers, partners and employees.

Riverbed says it’ll make apps respond faster on BT’s cloud of clouds

BT cloud of cloudsBT is to use Riverbed’s SteelHead application accelerator in its global telecoms network to bolster its cloud of clouds strategy.

BT and Riverbed will embed the service at global business hubs in Europe, North America and Asia. Installations are to be made at any location where BT has direct links to major cloud providers and high-capacity internet breakout. The service will be globally available from early 2016 and accessible through BT’s IP Connect VPN from 198 countries and territories.

Steelhead is designed to boost application performance and optimise bandwidth use. As a result customers should get faster responses from BT’s own cloud services and other vendors’ Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings. This partnership is the first time Riverbed technology has been installed into the core of a global telecoms network.

App acceleration and bandwidth efficiencies aside, customers using the new service will have greater control over their applications, a more commanding view of performance across the network and significantly more reliability and security from applications delivered over the internet, says BT.

The new service uses network function virtualisation (NFV) to help customers get a broader range of virtualised functions, such as application performance management and fast access to private and public clouds.

The inclusion of Riverbed helps BT tackle the performance and reliability of applications in the cloud, which have become a big issue for clients, according to Keith Langridge, VP of network services at BT Global Services. “This joint offering with Riverbed is a milestone on the journey to software-defined networks and creates an additional differentiator against our competitors,” said Langridge.

CIOs want the benefits of a hybrid enterprise without the challenges of application delivery that this complex environment creates, according to Paul O’Farrell, General Manager for SteelHead at Riverbed. “Riverbed invented WAN optimization in 2004 with SteelHead and now it’s the leader in application performance infrastructure,” said O’Farrell, “we’re offering an easier on-ramp to cloud computing with BT’s Cloud Connect service.”

BT offers customers direct connection to HPE’s Helion managed cloud

BT Sevenoaks workstyle buildingBT is to give its IP VPN customers direct connections to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Helion Managed Cloud Services.

BT’s service currently uses HPE’s Rapid Connect to bypass the public internet when it connects to HPE Helion Managed Cloud Services. Now the new direct connectivity gives BT customers access to HPE’s portfolio of services when they need to build and consume computing workloads. It gives BT customers more reliable and secure access, better performance and lower latency, according to Keith Langridge, VP of the Connect Portfolio at BT Global Services.

It also simplifies the process of using cloud services, when a lot of companies are coming to terms with a mixture of private public and hybrid clouds, said Langridge. “We have already optimised our network to help customers take advantage of multiple cloud services through our Cloud Connect portfolio of services,” said Landgridge. “By adding direct connectivity to HPE Helion through BT’s global network, customers will benefit from a solution that is consistent, secure and reliable, wherever they operate.”

BT’s direct connectivity to HPE Helion Managed Cloud Services via Rapid Connect is already available in Germany, France and the UK. This will be followed by additional connections at key business hubs around the world. The services are managed by customers through a single service catalogue using BT’s Compute Management System.

Customers want high performance from the cloud, but there is an evolving regulatory and threat landscape, said Eugene O’Callaghan, VP of Enterprise Services Workload and Cloud at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Our partnership to deliver these services with BT will bring a whole new level of confidence to global organisations,” said O’Callaghan.