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VoIP Systems

Metaswitch Goes Virtual With Its SBC

Less than six months after it thrust itself into the session border controller (SBC) market, Metaswitch Networks has unveiled a more flexible version of its Perimeta product that can run on generic servers and be hosted in a "virtual machine environment."

Metaswitch announced its ATCA platform-based, decomposed (independent signaling and media) product in September 2011, a move that drew an instant response from SBC market leader, Acme Packet Inc. (Nasdaq: APKT). (See Metaswitch Picks a Fight With Acme Packet and Acme Packet Buries Decomposed SBC.)

Now, with 60 customers already signed up for the SBC product, Metaswitch CTO Martin Taylor says the vendor has taken "the logical next step" by enabling the Perimeta SBC to run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers and across private cloud environments where the SBC becomes a "virtual appliance."

Taylor believes this move ties in with two industry trends: network operators looking to take advantage of private cloud networking capabilities to improve their own operational efficiencies and flexibility; and operators' desire to extract the control plane from network elements and run it as software to "gain greater control and lower costs."

The Metaswitch man believes operators will be interested in this approach because it will make it easier to add extra capacity without having to buy, wait for and then install new boxes (as long as they have enough spare capacity in their virtualized IT infrastructure, that is).

Taylor is keen to point out that this is not about network operators offering SBC as a cloud service, but about operators using their own private cloud environments to deploy and manage their own SBC capabilities.

The new version of Perimeta that runs on dedicated COTS servers is available immediately, but there's "still some work to do" on the virtualized version of the SBC that runs on shared processing platforms, so that will become available during the second half of 2012.

Trials are just about to get underway with operators, the CTO adds.

Why this matters
This is notable as another shift toward the virtualization of wide area network elements, a vision that's shared by industry giants such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Nokia Networks (with its Liquid Net strategy). (See NSN Hangs Its Future on the Liquid Net.)

It also adds to the competitive edge in the SBC market that is undergoing a new resurgence as mobile operators migrate toward IP architectures and run IP applications. "We're working on a number of emerging possibilities for Perimeta, especially around the impact of VoLTE [voice over LTE]," states Taylor. (See Metaswitch SBC Used in VoLTE Test.)

For more:
The SBC market is heating up again.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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