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CenturyLink Augments Government Contract with NFV

By Steve Anderson January 13, 2017

Trying to get a little more life out of a contract isn't exactly new, nor is it a bad idea. By offering more services, more hardware, or even consulting services, a company can step up the income realized by a contract and give the contracting firm a little more value as well. Recently, CenturyLink augmented a contract with the Department of Defense (DoD) to bring both software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to its arsenal.

More specifically, CenturyLink will be adding these services to the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) III contract that's currently in place with the DoD's High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP). Under the terms of the arrangement, CenturyLink will offer research and development facilities that are sufficiently secure to work with the DoD, as well as able to handle implementation practices for what's developed as well at DREN sites. Plus, CenturyLink will be developing the necessary security standards for the DoD to put both SDN and NFV in place.

These two systems are often regarded as the future of network infrastructure—especially since in many cases they reduce the amount of infrastructure needed to carry on—and as such, having security standards in place to protect these operations from potentially hostile forces will be vital. Especially given how, so often these days, cyberwarfare methods are brought into play on all sides.

Further, such security will be vital to the overall operation of DREN, which represents a complete fiber-optic network in its own right. Since DREN connects five major DoD supercomputer facilities to 150 separate agencies, it's a potentially massive failure point, and one that needs top-notch protection along with its services. CenturyLink is likely up to the job, having supplied government contracts for some time and working its way up to No. 34 on Washington Technology's 2016 Top 100 list for IT contractors.

The private sector has known for some time the kind of value that SDN and NFV can deliver in terms of paring down infrastructure requirements and adding extra capability to systems. It's not a surprise to see the public sector take a similar notice in a bid to help pare down some of its own expenses without harming overall service levels. While both public and private sector systems will demand excellent security, the public sector may arguably need such systems more.  CenturyLink, however, seems amply up to the task.

NFV—and by extension SDN—has no small value in the field, and with even government organizations getting in on the action, the end result is an even greater demand to come. That should open up even more advances, and from there, more demand for these advances to make NFV a major market sector.

Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Writer

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