Virtela Communications leverages existing infrastructure
to provide a global network backbone. Deepali Gupta reports
Service provider Virtela offers managed network services, managed security
services and business network consulting across 190 countries, including India.
It promises 100 percent availability, zero percent packet loss, less than 200
ms of latency, and less than 15 ms of jitter. The company differs from its competitors
in that it operates a network operations centre (NOC) in India, and another
mirrored centre outside the country.
Virtelas multi-carrier architecture, the Internet Protocol Service Fabric
(IPSF) and MPLS Service Fabric (MPLS-SF) use proprietary routing algorithms
that dynamically direct customer traffic based on real-time performance metrics.
Virtelas underlying infrastructure was designed from the ground up to
be carrier-, access- and vendor-neutral, enabling the company to mix-and-match
the best products and services on an ongoing basis to deliver the best performance
and access options to customers worldwide.
In India, we are focusing more on providing multinational and local companies
with more services, rather than focusing on the infrastructure. There is plenty
of infrastructure already available in India that can be leveraged, says
Vab Goel, chairman of the company. Virtela has developed relationships with
over 200 carriers around the world and uses them to service its clients.
The IPSF is a worldwide network of high-performance equipment and bandwidth
provided by Tier-1 carriers, including Asia Netcom, AT&T, Bell Canada, Bharti,
British Telecom, Cable & Wireless, China Netcom/CNC, Comindo, DYX, HCL Infosystems,
IFX, Interoute, Level 3, Linx Telecom, NTT, Qwest, Radiant, Reach, Reduno, Singapore
Telecom, Song/Telenor, Telephonica, Telus, UUNET/MCI, and VSNL.
Systems, tools and automation are critical to delivering seamless service. Virtela
says it has a sound grounding in all three. The Virtela Operations, Service
and Support (OSS) is a customised integration of best-of-breed application software
for order entry, service turn-up, and CPE tracking. The OSS also plays a crucial
role in the best-path route optimisation used to ensure fast routing between
customer endpoints in the network. It is built specifically to support global
The Mumbai NOC
Spanning an area of 25,000 square feet, Virtelas NOC in Mumbai has multi-tiered
measures to ensure physical security. Trained guards protect the facility round
the clock. Continuous video camera surveillance (archived to tape) and infrared
motion detectors throughout the premises are also used to keep watch. All the
entrances to the facility are equipped with access control devices, including
biometric scanners that map and verify the bone structure of a persons
hand. The facility has a Mantrap designed to ensure that no unwarranted entry
or exit takes place. This means that even if a person sneaks into the main entrance,
he or she will be caught in a hallway that connects the main operations area
to the reception area. All areas are protected with proximity card readers so
that only authorised personnel are allowed inside. As far as electronic security
is concerned, each new NOC engineer is educated about the companys documented
policies, and periodic awareness refresher courses are conducted. External consulting
firms are employed to conduct annual business control reviews to ensure that
security standards are met.
Servers are not physically housed onsite. The NOC has virtual access to servers
residing throughout a global network policy centre infrastructure, all of which
are monitored on a real-time basis from the Mumbai NOC over multiple gigabit
Whos using what
Virtela targets mid-to-large-sized enterprises. Its current clients include
Sony, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Deutsche Bank, Honeywell, Coca-Cola, IBM, Daimler
Chrysler, EMC, webMethods and Extreme Networks. Virtelas model has attracted
companies expanding their service portfolios and network reach, including IBM
Global Services, SingTel and NTT.
Beacon Global Services (BGS), a global supplier of turnkey outsourced call centre
services and contact management solutions, uses Virtelas fully-managed
network linking call centres based in the US and India. The benefits they have
derived from it include:
- Voice, data and video all converge on an IP network.
- Proactive Virtela 24x7 monitoring and management
that reduces day-to-day enterprise network administration.
- Advanced call centre functionality support (web
call-back, IM, co-browsing).
- Always-on, always-optimised international network
via Virtelas multiple carriers.
There was no other network service provider who could deliver voice quality
and state-of-the-art call centre functionality that our project required,
says Sudhir Seth, vice-president and general manager, BGS, explaining why Virtela
won the contract.
Getting on board
the time of signing customers, Virtela goes through an intensive consult-build-manage
cycle. Here is how it works.
Consult: This comprises a five-step Rapid Network Assessment (RNA) followed
by a plan of action. Representatives from Virtela do an onsite analysis of the
existing network. They determine the present and future network requirements
based on the clients business goals. The Virtela team then develops a
specific solution for the customer. It then creates the business case in terms
of ROI and TCO before delivering an implementation plan.
In addition to the RNA, Virtela offers some Business Network Consulting services
that include Offshore Outsourcing, Mergers and Acquisition Integration, Contract
Negotiation, Cost and Performance Benchmarking, RFP (Request for proposal) Management,
Programme Management, Network Assessments, Advanced IP Addressing, Advanced
Traffic Consulting, Security Consulting, Contact Centre Consulting, Convergence
Consulting, Business Continuity Planning, Performance Out-tasking, Security
Out-tasking, and Cost & Contractual Compliance.
Build: After gaining customer approval of the design and implementation plan,
Virtela project managers build the services in phases. With its IPSF network
and OSS software infrastructure, Virtela can rapidly execute the implementation
Manage: Virtelas management capabilities are displayed
in the VirtelaView interface for customer access to critical network information.
It is an online interface that customers can use to view network performance
criteria such as latency and jitter. They can also enter, view and track trouble
tickets, place orders for new services, view invoices, and perform many other
network administration and management functions.
The company has a pro-active warning system for impending
problems. The outage notification is a mere 15 minutes, but the company assures
its customers 100 percent remote log-on and 100 percent availability.
Proprietary class-of-service mapping database: Virtela maintains end-to-end
class-of-service performance based on its proprietary database for mapping
class of service attributes between carriers to ensure that the fastest
route is traversed between carriers.
Proprietary routing algorithms: The mapping database is, in effect, a
series of routing algorithms that provide the parameters from which the
routing decisions for the MPLS traffic are made.
Inherent automatic multi-network failover: Virtela's MPLS SF has the ability
to re-route traffic automatically when any carrier backbone fails.