NFV Elements

Accedian Takes Virtual CPE to the Minimum

Accedian Networks is unveiling a new approach to service assurance for enterprise-to-data center connections in the NFV realm, based on small programmable hardware modules and intelligent software. The SkyLIGHT VCX is intended to be a virtual CPE deployment that can support a wide range of public and private connections for today's hybrid cloud world while supporting the service level agreements to which enterprise customers have become accustomed.

The programmable hardware devices, which Accedian is calling "bite-sized" (though not edible), are being billed as 70% less expensive, as they consume only about 10% of the power of a traditional CPE device and don't require rack space, says Scott Sumner, VP of solutions development for Accedian The devices can support the full range of network interface device functions and be programmed for more, depending on the service being supported. They can be deployed on fiber as Smart SFPs (small form-factor pluggables) or on copper for smaller businesses as Gigabit over Ethernet modules. (See Accedian Launches Virtual Assurance Modules and Accedian Introduces NFV Performance Controller.)

"It's about the size of a deck of cards," notes Sumner. "So it's like a mini-NID but it's more programmable and scalable because it is powered by an NFV controller. Instead of starting from scratch and building small programmable modules, what Accedian did is virtualize the entire ten-year history of the company into one small miniaturized end point."

Accedian's announcement is the latest salvo in the hotly contested field of virtual CPE, as former hardware players work to virtualize their endpoints, each adding competitive capabilities in the process. (See NTT, UBIqube Team on Managed Security DevOps, RAD Launches vCPE Platform for Hosting VNFs, ADVA, Brocade, Check Point Team Up on Virtual CPE, Telekom Austria Completes vCPE Trial, Procera Claims NFV Performance First, Overture Builds on NFV Foundation and NetScout: Service Assurance Still a Must for Virtual Realm.)

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More enterprises need services that connect them to multiple public and private clouds. Meanwhile, network operators are looking to NFV to help them provide multiple flexible services into the same customer, but still need to guarantee the performance of those services meets SLA requirements, Sumner says. Accedian's SkyLIGHT software includes a catalog of virtual network functions to provide programmability in the full range of service assurance requirements, which include: "service activation testing, bandwidth metering, multi-connection performance monitoring, real-time SLA reporting, bandwidth regulation and policy enforcement, and service quality analytics for hybrid cloud connections."

The new modules are easily self-installed and are then controlled, updated and programmed remotely by the Accedian software.

"This puts the minimum hardware possible on site, but you get all the functions and SLA monitoring of the past, for multi-flow Quality of Service, VLAN tagging and more -- the stuff you'd regularly see in a NID," Sumner says.

The idea is to make it easier for network operators to move to NFV with a virtualized CPE approach that is easy to deploy -- it is drop-shipped and installed by the customer -- and has maximum flexibility for support of a range of services and programmability to support future changes.

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

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