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Verizon wants to replace your net gateways with 'a simple mux'

And then pipe in virtual network functions from all the big bit-movers

Verizon has launched the next piece of its seven-year strategy to virtualise its enterprise services, announcing a bunch of multi-vendor virtual security, WAN optimisation, and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) services.

And Friday's launch has an unusual characteristic: it breaks the decades-long practice among telecommunications carriers of awarding their new network or service to one or two vendors.

For each of the virtualised services, Verizon has spread the net wider, something director of network product technology and strategy Helen Wong told The Register reflects customers' different needs both in terms of features and prices.

Wong said the groundwork for the services “happened over the past six to twelve months”, during which “we evaluated 20 or 30 vendor offerings – to demonstrate what the vendors can do.”

Instead of a single-stack solution, she said, the company “put a lot of effort” into assessing the offerings from different vendors, so customers can tick different boxes in their security, WAN optimisation, and SD-WAN services.

Within the current portfolio, Wong said, Verizon plans to add more partners over the next 12 to 24 months, and still more partners will help it expand the services it's taking to the market.

For now, the partner lists are:

  • vSecurity – Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper Networks, and Palo Alto Networks;
  • vWAN Optimization – Cisco and Riverbed;
  • SD-WAN – Cisco and Viptela.

Also on the virtualisation list is the customer premises equipment (CPE), and this deserves a little explanation. Obviously every premises needs some sort of physical connection to the network providing the services. What CPE virtualisation refers to is making the CPE as generic as possible.

The current service is based on what Verizon's calling a “universal CPE” in the customer premises (Cisco and Juniper are the vendors). By the end of 2016, Verizon plans to have more CPE functions in the cloud, with the premises connection served by what Wong called “a simple mux”.

Customers will also be able to mix “fat” CPE with the virtualised options in a hybrid model.

Orchestration via Verizon's Openstack-on-KVM software-defined network (SDN) implementation will give customers the ability to spin up new services in minutes, with support for service chaining (that is, the customer has the ability not just to deploy a virtual firewall and WAN optimisation, but to define the order in which flows are passed to different services). ®

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