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Telco Systems Plots Transition to SDN/NFV

Carol Wilson

CHICAGO -- Light Reading's Big Telecom Event -- Telco Systems today unveiled its virtualization strategy, launching new technology for the metro edge that is based on software-driven open platforms and laying out a migration strategy for network service providers to ease their current base of Carrier Ethernet services into the world of NFV and SDN. (See Telco Systems Launches SDN-NFV Strategy.)

The Telco Systems (BATM) Open Metro Edge (OME) approach marks the company's transition to more software-based technology but also recognizes the need to continue supporting today's network requirements, including high Quality of Service, data plane processing, resiliency and traffic engineering, says Moshe Simon, VP of product management.

For that reason, the Telco Systems' customer premises equipment will combine dedicated Carrier Ethernet capabilities with new multi-purpose computing blades and telco virtualization engines that are open and capable of running virtualized applications, including those from third parties. The company is launching what it calls Cloud Metro, a family of distributed NFV demarcation and aggregation products that tap its traditional strengths in the space, but add open hardware blades to support virtualized functions.

In addition, Telco Systems OME includes a TelcoController SDN orchestration system and its own set of TelcoApps that can run on its hardware or third-party systems.

That gear is part of the overall strategy that includes CloudMetro, a distributed NFV product. Telco Systems is also developing its own set of TelcoApps that can run on other third-party hardware, and adding OpenFlow to its current Edge Genie and Carrier Ethernet products so that they are open to management by third-party devices.

The focus is on shortening time to market for new value-added services that help network operators monetize their investments, Simon says. The strategy is designed to give network operators a way to move forward today and prepare for a longer-term, more virtualized future.

"We are creating smart demarcation," he says. "We believe the access layer continues to play an important role in the new SDN/NFV evolution -- it's not just about the core of the network."

New CPE/demarcation devices must be multi-purpose devices, however, that are optimized for what works best at the premises, but able to be upgraded via software as demand changes. Telco Systems has developed service management capabilities using Netconf that are very similar to SDN controllers and, with the addition of OpenFlow, will be able to manage third-party devices, Simon says.

In addition, its new TelcoApps will be designed as supporting network applications for its own or other third-party devices.

For example, the new multi-purpose CPE will be able to run applications such as such as virtual CPE, virtual firewalls, virtual tunnels and more to enable managed services without the need for dedicated appliances.

One of the ways Telco Systems intends to differentiate its approach -- since other CPE vendors are offering similar combo devices at the edge -- is by enabling everything that runs on its CPE to also run in network aggregation points for additional flexibility in deployment.

"That allows each operator to decide, even on each service, what is the optimal place to run a specific function," Simon says. "For a firewall, an operator may take a decision that it is more optimal to run it at an aggregation point."

Telco Systems is demonstrating its new capabilities here at BTE, using a Checkpoint firewall running on its new edge device.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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