The headaches involved in setting up a VPN are similar to making wedding arrangements - extensive planning and coordination with multiple vendors, plus a million things that can go wrong. Global Network Technology Solutions (GNTS) wants to make VPN rollouts more like making dinner plans for two.
GNTS, a network integration firm spun out of Cabletron Systems' former services division, is offering a VPN implementation service to help firms install site-to-site and dial-up VPNs from start to finish.
The keys to GNTS' services are its partnerships with UUNET Technologies and AT&T to provide VPN services to customers, and VPNet for its VSU line of gateway products, says Ted Watson, program manager for GNTS' VPN business.
On top of wrestling with complex VPN technologies, many customers who install VPNs on their own can get bogged down in coordinating the delivery of VPN equipment and an ISP's services, Watson says. This can cause a sound project plan to languish with delays and technical problems.
"Customers say the reasons they want to deploy a VPN is to save money and strengthen their networks," Watson says, "but if it takes 18 months to do it, they haven't gained anything."
The VPN services market is expected to grow from $US5.1 billion to almost $40 billion by 2004, according to Infonetics Research in the US.
Infonetics also says in four years customers will spend almost 10 times as much on VPN services as they will on equipment.
GNTS' VPN consulting service costs $3125 per site for site-to-site or extranet VPN installations, not including VPN equipment or Internet service. Included in the price are site evaluation and project planning services, on-site assistance with equipment installation and configuration, as well as post-install support and monitoring services. Individual VPN end-user installation costs $39.95, which includes VPN client software from VPNet, a dial-up account from UUNET or AT&T, and set up assistance from GNTS. VPN services from GNTS are available now.