Orange Adds Cisco to SD-WAN Offering in Automation Push

Orange Business Services says it has incorporated a virtual function from Cisco into its SD-WAN offering in a move that should support further automation of its enterprise offering.

Orange Business Services will support the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) technology using its recently developed universal customer premises equipment (CPE), which is basically a next-generation CPE incorporating virtualization capabilities.

Essentially, that means Orange will be able to deploy the Cisco SD-WAN technology in just minutes at remote enterprise sites.

The French operator has made an aggressive push into software and virtualization to support its development of on-demand network offerings for enterprise customers. The move, which has major implications for Orange's relationships with customers and suppliers, comes in response to growing customer demand for speedier service delivery and greater control, says Orange.

Using the Easy Go brand, it launched its first network-as-a-service offerings in 2016, making it one of several telco pioneers in this market, and began working with a vendor called Riverbed on an SD-WAN offering last year. (See Orange Plots Mass Network-as-a-Service Rollout, Orange Plots Wider Rollout of NFV for SMEs, Orange Unveils NFV-Based Offering for SMBs and Orange Adds SD-WAN to Hybrid Net Strategy.)

It also kicked off customer trials of a universal CPE last year, saying this would become a platform for new types of virtualized service. (See Orange Kicks Off 'Universal CPE' Trials.)

In a statement on today's deal, Orange said the Cisco SD-WAN technology would strengthen its SD-WAN offering and tie in with efforts to build more automated and "intent-based networks" -- an expression that Cisco has been using to promote its own automation activities.

"These developments will help realize the promise of intent-based networking, which will use artificial intelligence to automatically orchestrate networks based on predicted user demand," said Pierre-Louis Biaggi, the vice president of connectivity for Orange Business Services, in today's statement.

Want to know more about the emerging SDN market? Check out our dedicated SDN content channel here on Light Reading.

Cisco's SD-WAN function is based on technology it acquired with its takeover of SD-WAN specialist Viptela in August last year. (See Cisco Snaps Up Viptela.)

SD-WANs have frequently been touted as an alternative to old-fashioned MPLS technology for companies that want to slash expenses by running applications over lower-cost Internet connections. Various service providers looking to automate operations and reduce service costs have seem them as a priority in the last couple of years.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of vendors targeting the SD-WAN opportunity has already triggered some consolidation, including Cisco's takeover of Viptela.

— Iain Morris, News Editor, Light Reading

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