Digital Infrastructure

Orange and Equinix expand virtualized network services to customers in Europe and US

Service provider Orange is expanding its Telco Cloud platform into Amsterdam, Madrid and Seattle, together with data center company Equinix.

Orange EVP Jean-Louis Le Roux told Light Reading that about 20 of the operator's existing 40 Telco Cloud points of presence (PoPs) are deployed in collaboration with Equinix but utilize Orange's hardware. Le Roux said the three new PoPs will rely on Equinix hardware instead of deploying Orange's own compute and storage hardware.

Equinix Metal infrastructure. (Image source: Equinix.)
Equinix Metal infrastructure. (Image source: Equinix.)

"We keep control because on top of this hardware, we deploy our own SDN [software defined network] stack," said Le Roux. "So we keep control over our digital transformation. This elasticity is really useful for us; we can easily add or remove a compute server or storage server, really following the customer activity."

In addition, Le Roux said that by partnering with Equinix in this way, Orange can move the needle on its goals of being carbon neutral by 2040 and reducing its carbon emissions by 30% by 2025.

Within the Telco Cloud Platform, Orange provides customers with access to virtualized network functions and software-defined networks (SDN). Each Telco Cloud PoP can host virtualized network service functions such as voice, 5G, CDN, SD-WAN or security services, and connect customers to cloud service providers.

Equinix's Bare Metal as a Service capability, Equinix Metal, will support Orange in providing its business and wholesale customers access to virtualized network service functions within an expected latency under 10 milliseconds.

Iiro Stubin, principal product manager for Equinix Metal, told Light Reading that Equinix Metal provides pre-installed storage at Equinix locations that is ready for customers to access when additional network capacity is required. Equinix Metal also integrates with a library of application programming interfaces (APIs) for "an element of automation," said Stubin.

"That's kind of been in the heart of our service portfolio to build more data center locations into different regions, where our telco customers can then expand and we've been working with Orange very closely to let them expand their PoPs globally with us," said Stubin.

Le Roux added that a "pay-as-you-grow" model provides Orange with the ability to deploy storage for its customers without upfront capital expenses or the worry of navigating a troublesome supply chain.

Orange said the partnership with Equinix will provide the operator with the ability to "meet customer demand for growth" in weeks versus months.

"IDC research shows that enterprises look to telcos and digital infrastructure providers as key partners for digital hybrid IT infrastructure and cloud networking requirements," said Courtney Munroe, VP at IDC, in a statement. "Furthermore, the enhanced Telco Cloud Platform will improve Orange's operational efficiency, and flexibility, and most importantly will allow it to offer enhanced low-latency performance and on-demand requirements for enterprises around the world."

Orange plans to deploy over 100 Telco Cloud PoPs globally by 2024 as part of its eNGINe (New Generation International Network) program.

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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