Many network professionals saddled with legacy equipment dream of building a new network based on software-defined technology. But building such a technology business from the ground up is both “a luxury and a challenge,” says David Robinson, Chief Technology Officer of STT Connect. Based in Singapore, STT Connect is the cloud management arm of ST Telemedia, a Singapore based technology investment company.

At STT Connect, Robinson was charged to build the infrastructure to support a web-scale cloud offering for enterprise customers and reseller partners. After considering a range of options, both commercial and open source, STT Connect chose Big Switch Networks’ Big Cloud Fabric (BCF) and Big Monitoring Fabric (Big Mon) as foundation technologies for its OpenStack-based software-defined cloud.

Building a greenfield network

“When we set out to build our private cloud business, we outlined three customer-focused tenets to abide by,” Robinson says. “One, the foundation must be secure. Two, it must be managed in an automated way. And three, of course, it needed to be high performing today and tomorrow.” Guided by these principles, Robinson and his team made a strategic decision to embrace open solutions, and to have everything software-defined.

With superior automation and flexibility in mind, David and his technical team wanted to manage the environment via API as much as possible, which led them to look at OpenStack. After setting up an OpenStack cloud, they decided to add an enterprise-class software-defined networking (SDN) solution to further advance its private cloud offering.

After testing multiple vendors and solutions, Big Switch came out to be the best suited solution. “What really impressed us is that, unlike other SDN providers, Big Switch puts engineering first,” he continues, “that being said, the only concern we had upon completing training was that Big Switch product looked too simple.” STT Connect was told this is something the company hears often, to which it responds, “BCF is designed to be simple, but powerful,” and according to Robinson, “it is.”

Fast deployment of a repeatable reference architecture

After completing a proof-of-concept project in February 2016, STT rolled out its first platform. Multiple customers are now using the web-scale cloud offering in Singapore. Other markets in South East Asia are on the near horizon and Big Cloud Fabric (as well as Big Monitoring Fabric) is part of the reference architecture that will be used globally at STT Connect locations. “We’ve got two data centers at the moment,” Robinson says. The facilities, which are high-availability and fully redundant, feature Big Cloud Fabric and Big Monitoring Fabric as key components.

The only option for modern networks

In retrospect, Robinson says, “We couldn’t have achieved what we wanted to do with traditional network gear and design.” He sums up, “We’ve been very satisfied with Big Switch. What really impresses me is the tech and engineering depth they’ve demonstrated. From a CTO perspective, that’s very important because when we ring up the company with questions, which we do, we have the utmost confidence that the people at the other end of the line know how to get an answer quickly. We have a great relationship with Big Switch, and it’s one for the long-term.”

To learn more about how STT Connect built its dream network, register for the Feb. 14th webinar, “Case Study: STT Connect Builds Nimble Cloud Infrastructure with Next-Gen SDN” (we will produce this for APAC and Americas time zones):

*If you are unable to attend live, register and we will email you a link for on-demand viewing post-webinar.

Luke Turner

Director, System Engineering - APACJ at Big Switch Networks