Delivering what is possibly one of the largest global SD-WAN deals, [Orange] have successfully migrated 80% of Siemens AG’s global sites to the network as part of its large-scale digital transformation program.

This era of technology could be called the “software-defined” era. The push for software-defined control has re-ignited with the Open Process Automation efforts. The discrete-side effort sort of fizzled, although many in Germany believe that the companies building controllers with CODESYS software platform qualifies. I think much work remains to fulfill that vision.

Software-defined has also invaded networking. Orange Business Services, the European telecom company, sent a blog post by Axel Hinze regarding a project for Siemens AG about implementing a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN).

This project has proceeded at pace even during the global pandemic, where the demands on the Siemens WAN have increased with virtual teams and teleworkers collaborating on global projects. We have met Siemens’ requirements by combining SD-WAN technology with cloud- and web-based services and solutions.

As a global business with subsidiaries and divisions all over the world, Siemens “needs a reliable and flexible communication network that is a critical business enabler and can evolve with our growing business”, as its VP of IT Strategy & Governance Frederik Janssen has said.

Siemens has put SD-WAN at the heart of its Siemens Digitalization Network (SDN), which is designed to strengthen its’ IT infrastructure and increase network performance across the organization. It provides centralized cloud control with combined communication capabilities, enabling customers to increase flexibility and performance alongside cost efficiencies. SDN will also allow the multinational to take advantage of advances in digitalization to enhance Industry 4.0 processes.

Flexible SD-WAN also provides the foundation of the Siemens “zero trust” security framework, which improves security by authenticating and authorizing every device wanting to connect to the network irrespective of its location. This will enable Siemens to effectively mitigate, detect and respond to risks across its entire infrastructure.

Business benefits already being seen

The Siemens locations that have been connected to the SD-WAN network are already seeing the benefits of this new approach, including greater business flexibility and agility. They can use bandwidth more efficiently, helping ensure high levels of performance for critical applications without forfeiting on security. In addition, operational costs have been reduced through internet-centric traffic management.

Greater network visibility also makes it easier for Siemens to see where upgrades are necessary to ensure its connectivity is always optimized. Three large sites in Brazil have seen substantial cost savings switching to SD-WAN, for example, while sites in the UK and Mexico have noted a reduction in the load on the MPLS Siemens intranet.

Global network integration and delivery

Orange Business Services was engaged to migrate Siemens’ entire global infrastructure to a dynamic and flexible SD-WAN network to connect cloud applications and IoT devices in 2018 in a six-year contract worth 240 million Euros. The contract spans 94 countries on five continents, and the scope has been streamlined to connect 1,000 sites and campuses.

By consolidating network design and maintenance with a single digital services provider, Siemens has been able to reduce overall complexity and improve application competences and agility. We work closely together as trusted partners to deliver seamless worldwide SD-WAN coverage with the highest degree of security.

As a trailblazer in innovation and technologies, Siemens set the highest benchmarks for this project. Our success in delivering, migrating and implementing this huge digital transformation project and managing Siemens’ critical global communications infrastructure highlights our end-to-end integration expertise to deliver global projects at scale.

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