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Vodafone Ireland launches new SD-WAN service in partnership with Ryanair

February 10, 2020 / Oshine

  • Vodafone for Business becomes first to deliver new Cisco SD-WAN technology in Europe

  • Vodafone Ireland announces an SD-WAN customer win with airline Ryanair

  • The launch comes on the heels of Vodafone’s multimillion euro deal with Ryanair to manage the airline’s digital infrastructure.

Vodafone Ireland has recently launched Cisco SD-WAN service, announcing an SD-WAN customer win with airline Ryanair. Vodafone Ireland stated that the newest SD-WAN offering targeted at medium-to-large organizations is virtual and that it sits on both existing and new networks.

Customers will also be able to manage applications, devices and bandwidth usage via a single self-service portal. What sets Vodafone Ireland apart is how customers will be able to choose the SD-WAN service managed and certified by a team of Vodafone experts and engineers, which allows IT teams to focus on other critical tasks.

In addition, Vodafone Ireland's new SD-WAN service will enable customers to manage applications, devices and bandwidth usage via a single self-service portal. It also optimizes network performance by switching over to MPLS, lower-cost internet or mobile connections as needed.

What enterprises should look forward to?

Cisco SD-WAN provides global enterprises with an application-driven network that constantly adapts to the real-time demands of their cloud computing, mobility, and digitization needs. The product intelligently steers traffic over a preferred network path from a combination of IP-MPLS, Internet, and 4G transports, in order to meet policies set by the Enterprise for critical applications performance (e.g. Skype for Business, Salesforce).

Enterprise benefit from a more dynamic and reliable wide area network solution that enables higher business agility through the ability to self-adjust application priority and routing policies within minutes through a self-serve portal and hence roll out new applications quicker and easier.

Both service providers and cloud providers alike are ramping up their launches of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) managed services to take advantage of booming demand from enterprises that see several benefits.

In a survey of 121 network and IT managers, it was found that 64% are looking to add an SD-WAN managed service in the next two years, according to the results of the Futuriom SD-WAN Managed Services report.

Futuriom's survey research, targeting director-level and above professionals in IT and network management, indicates that SD-WAN is in high demand because end-users believe it will deliver better security, improved cloud applications performance, and more flexible management.

This demand has pushed scores of global cloud and service providers to line up in order to present their SD-WAN offerings, which offer enterprises a way to purchase hardware, software, and regular management of their networks from a third party.

In addition to surveying end-user needs, Futuriom delved deeply into the offerings of more than 20 service providers worldwide. They range from cloud-based providers such as Aryaka Networks and Cato

Networks, traditional service providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Deutsche Telekom, as well as business-services specialists such as Colt Network Services and Masergy.

Learn more:

Industry Voices Raynovich: Key trends for SD-WAN managed services

What preceded it?

The launch comes on the heels of Vodafone’s multimillion euro deal with Ryanair to manage the airline’s digital infrastructure. The deal from late last year gave away no financial details of the agreement, while industry sources estimated the contract to be in the region of €40 million.

The outcome-driven agreement provides services that touch every point of the Ryanair passenger journey, driving continuous innovation to deliver digital transformation, business growth, and operational efficiencies. Under the agreement, Vodafone Business will transform Ryanair’s information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure using every part of Vodafone Business’ solutions including cloud, unified communications, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), Internet of Things (IoT) and security services.

Under the new deal, which builds on a previous, smaller partnership, Vodafone is to provide technical support for 300 Ryanair sites and 200 million passengers across 40 countries, providing a range of solutions covering the cloud, unified communications, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN), Internet of Things (IoT), and security services.

Vodafone Business will support 300 Ryanair sites and some 200 million passengers across 40 countries, meaning that up to 95 per cent of Ryanair’s telecoms will be managed directly by Vodafone Business. This includes the hosting of its core infrastructure that maintains Ryanair’s core business processes from online booking, passenger boarding and in-flight transactions, to training centres, offices and data centres.

Airlines, like any other business, are under immense pressure to respond to fast-changing customer demands and putting the right technology in place today allows any organization to be future-ready. Vodafone Business’ Connected Airport offer allows Ryanair to connect a new airport or site in just 10 days, giving them the ability to adapt quickly and provide new options for their customers. Having the right technology in place also supports the fast turnaround of planes, which is an important factor in an airline’s profitability. Ryanair currently has 20,000 global IoT connections with Vodafone Business used by their aircrew to connect their tablets and handheld devices.

“This new partnership agreement not only highlights the strength of Vodafone’s global ICT offering, but shows the trusted relationships we build with our customers. By working closely with Ryanair, our technical, product and account management teams in Vodafone Business will deliver against their business and technology requirements. This new agreement also represents Vodafone’s largest rollout of SD-WAN to date, which I’m delighted to say, is being managed in Ireland for delivery across 40 countries. SD-WAN provides customers with a greater level of control and autonomy over their network and greater insight into its performance while saving time and cost. Furthermore, the beauty of the software element of this new network is that it will allow Ryanair to deploy quickly, securely, and without major disruption to existing network architecture and activities.”

- Anne O’Leary, Chief Executive, Vodafone Ireland

The contract also represents Vodafone Ireland’s largest ever rollout of SD-WAN, a technology that simplifies the management and operation of a wide area network by separating the hardware from its control mechanism.

“Over the last 30 years, Ryanair has revolutionized and democratized air travel for European citizens, growing to become Europe’s largest airline with the widest route network, connecting more than 200 destinations in 40 countries on the lowest fares. As part of our commitment to low fares, more choice, and great care, we’re continuing to enhance the Ryanair experience for our 153m annual customers, and this extended partnership with Vodafone will provide us with the technical support to allow us to make improvements quickly and seamlessly, including migration to a new wide area network that will enable Ryanair to be more agile in its connectivity”

- John Hurley, Chief Technology Officer, Ryanair

By using its SD-WAN service, Vodafone Ireland said that Ryanair could turn up a new network airport site in 10 days. The service gives Ryanair the agility and flexibility to respond quickly to customer demand when launching new route offerings.