CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) recently added Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) services to its Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) III contract with the U.S. Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program (DoD HPCMP).
CenturyLink will provide a secure research and development, production-like environment for the implementation of SDN and NFV services at DREN sites, which will be some of the first DoD sites to adopt these services. This project will establish the necessary security standards for the agency to use in its own implementation of SDN and NFV, which is the future of network infrastructure.
SDN and NFV implementation will also help DoD move beyond traditional network technologies into a more dynamic, scalable software workload that allows the agency to more easily add new on-demand services and additional capacity. All applications—including multi-label protocol switching, firewall, encryption and orchestration services—will run on software instead of costly hardware, thus speeding up the testing and review of applications. The project will also help reduce the number of network devices DoD has to buy and manage.
“Adding SDN and NFV to our DREN contract allows DoD to implement new technologies faster and with a lower cost of entry,” said CenturyLink Senior Vice President and General Manager of Federal Solutions Erich Sanchack.
CenturyLink is helping DoD and DREN implement this new technology to support their mission at four sites—two CenturyLink network sites in Sterling, Va., and Highlands Ranch, Colo., as well as two DREN sites in Dayton, Ohio, and San Diego, Calif.
The SDN and NFV project is based on the same technology that CenturyLink is using to manage its own network, except customized for DoD. CenturyLink operates a Programmable Services Backbone (PSB) platform that places cloud capabilities and NFV services at the edges of the network, thus enabling better management and dynamic on-demand delivery of modular services. CenturyLink’s PSB is already live in more than 50 locations in seven countries.
CenturyLink is aggressively working to transform its existing core network into an SDN and NFV-based environment and plans to have full global virtualization coverage in its IP core network and data centers by 2018.
DREN is a high-speed, fiber-optic network that connects five DoD supercomputing facilities to 4,300 scientists at more than 150 agencies and research sites within the U.S. CenturyLink provides DREN speeds ranging from 50 megabits to 40 gigabits per second, depending on the site. These speeds are delivered through a combination of Ethernet, Internet Protocol and optical wavelength services via a Virtual Private Local Area Network Service that links defense scientists and engineers at leading research institutions, laboratories and test facilities.
DREN enables researchers to design solutions to complex problems and develop new technologies critical to the defense industrial base and national security. In addition, DREN is an ideal national test bed to accelerate the development and deployment of ultra-high-speed bandwidth applications and is a leader in the deployment of next-generation networking and security technologies.
CenturyLink was awarded DREN III, a 10-year lifecycle indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $750 million, by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency’s Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DISA DITCO) in December 2012.
By supplying managed hosting, cybersecurity, cloud and IT services over its carrier-class network, CenturyLink provides government agencies with the security and reliability they need to carry out their important missions.
CenturyLink has been steadily climbing the rankings and is currently ranked No. 34 on Washington Technology’s 2016 Top 100 list of federal government IT contractors.