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Colt Bigs Up the Benefits of Virtual CPE

Ray Le Maistre
1/27/2015
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Colt's virtual CPE strategy has been an unqualified success leading to financial and resource efficiencies and enhanced customer experience, according to a senior executive from the European service provider.

Speaking on a recent webinar hosted by Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin, SDN in the WAN: Service Provider Opportunities & Challenges, Nicolas Fischbach, director of strategy, architecture and innovation at Colt Technology Services Group Ltd , noted that Colt has already learned a lot from its early SDN and NFV experiences over the past few years' experiences -- it was an early mover in the service provider virtualization world -- but that major challenges lie ahead, particularly in relation to OSS, service creation and delivery and customer adoption.

With customer adoption such a major issue, introducing a virtual CPE option to its services portfolio was the "use case that was most sensible," in terms of introducing and trying out the benefits of NFV. "People can grasp the benefits" of having a standard, multi-purpose server hosting virtualized IP applications rather than multiple bespoke hardware elements in their buildings. "We started doing that before anyone was talking about NFV," noted Fischbach.


For more NFV-related coverage and insights, check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.


With more than two years of experience under its belt, Colt is now reaping the benefits of its SDN/NFV strategy that has been built around Carrier Ethernet, SDN and IP technology from Accedian , Cyan Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR). Fischbach said there are financial gains to be had from the lower unit cost of providing IP access and VPN services using virtual CPE as well as operational gains. "There are fewer truck rolls, only one CPE unit to manage, upgrade or repair and overall there are fewer assets to manage," he noted.

And customers are getting what they want. "It has improved customer experience levels" because of the greater flexibility in delivering higher bandwidth. "We can change things on the spit, it's instant -- it does not take days," stated the Colt man.

Colt's customer base has recognized the benefits too. "About 70% of new IP-based services are delivered using the virtual CPE concept," added Fischbach, who said Colt is in the final proof-of-concept stages of moving its virtual CPE capabilities into the cloud (in addition to hosting them in Colt nodes near the edge of the network) and adding additional virtual network functions. The network operator is also working towards "end-to-end automation and orchestration" of its network functions and the rollout of a packet-optical transport network.

For more on this topic, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Ray@LR
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1/27/2015 | 2:34:09 PM
One small step...
This is so early in the game that it's hard to tell just how significant Colt's work is BUT consider that Colt has had to develop this pretty much with its own ideas and R&D, backed up with the SDN functionality fro the Cyan platform it has deployed. Its experience will be vital in helping to steer the industry in the right direction in terms of orchestration and next gen OSS, in my view.
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