Performance Optimization Services from Swisscom and Telindus

Improving application performance as a service is hot among European carriers. We already profiled offerings by Orange, BT and Vanco - and today we examine offerings from Swisscom and Belgacom's system integration arm Telindus.

Announced in January and now in play at 10 customers, Swisscom's Application Performance Management (APM) offering is a value-added service layered onto its LAN-Interconnect International IP VPN offering. Swisscom expected robust initial uptake among large customers, but a company spokesperson told us they were surprised to find small to medium sized enterprises strongly represented among the early takers.

A packaged service designed around the Ipanema Technologies platform, APM includes an initial performance audit, service rollout, and ongoing monitoring, reporting and consulting. The APM "measurement audit" includes installing Ipanema gear to measure data flows per application (usually at three sites), reporting the results, and recommending the design and configuration of the service delivery system.

Swisscom then installs the Ipanema appliances, collaborates with customers to define how to handle individual traffic types, dynamically optimizes performance by adjusting throughput to favor critical applications, accelerates applications, monitors the results, and works with customers to tune the system. Once the system is tuned, Swisscom manages the equipment, monitors application performance, and holds monthly customer meetings during which its consultants review application performance reports and recommend improvements.

Swisscom told us that so far they have been pleased with customer response, and believe they "are on the right track for future application based SLAs."

The Telindus performance optimization service, delivered under the name Real Time Application Control (RTAC), is unique in that it has two flavors - one delivered directly to its own customers - and another delivered on a so-called ‘white label' basis to service providers who resell and rebrand it. Aside from the fact that RTAC is independent of any particular IP VPN service, it is largely indistinguishable from the Swisscom offering.

In a curious twist, Telindus' collateral appears to claim it is under the hood of the BT Application Centric VPN service we described in an earlier entry. According to a Telindus white paper entitled Beyond Classes of Service - A New Opportunity for Service Providers: "In 2006 a major UK Network Service Provider became the first to pioneer a new generation of network services by launching its Application Centric VPN. This is being provided via Telindus as a ‘white label' offering using the RTAC service and allows the Service Provider to offer its clients dynamic bandwidth allocation whereby each application session is assigned a minimum bandwidth according to the business criticality of the application. In addition, the Service Provider can offer extensive application monitoring services."

If true, we find this surprising because we would have expected BT's Infonet acquisition provided sufficient resources for it to deliver its Application Centric VPN service without outside help. Also, Bob DaGiau BT's Vice President of Enterprise Management service told us recently that BT was the first service provider to deliver its distributed application delivery service in April of 2005 - yet Telindus claims pioneering involvement in 2006 and did not publically announce its own RTAC service until July of 2007. Could it be that Telindus provides/did provide support in some hard-to-reach global cranny? We would love to know the real story. When we asked Telindus if it provides performance optimization service outsourcing to BT, a Telindus spokesperson replied, "I don't believe that we provide this".

It seems odd. Let us know what you think.

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