Telco Systems has joined the rush of vendors creating an NFV/SDN ecosystem, but is focusing its efforts specifically at the network's edge.
The Open Edge Alliance is a bit different in that it is intended to enable smaller companies to get their applications certified to be part of a carrier-grade virtualized edge solution aimed at service providers. Network operators who deploy Telco Systems (BATM) 's CloudMetro platform can then easily launch services that make sense at the edge of the network.
The early players in the new alliance include Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), AudioCodes Ltd. (Nasdaq: AUDC), Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) and Netrounds , a Swedish company that does workflow automation software, which can run on a PC. Telco Systems intends for the Alliance to have an online store of applications that can run on its CloudMetro distributed NFV platform.
That platform can be deployed either on the customer premises or in a colocation point or Central Office in a metro area that is within 1,000 feet of the end customer, so it meets both common definitions of the network's edge, notes Gal Offel, Telco System's vice president of product marketing.
"We are providing both a carrier Ethernet switch and an Intel CPU environment so that service providers can instantly launch an IaaS service and add the services that make sense at the edge, like firewalls, VPNs, end-to-end monitoring," Offel says. The new capabilities can be deployed alongside the existing customer premises equipment or can replace it.
Since announcing CloudMetro last June, Telco Systems has been running trials and proofs of concept with carriers in Europe and APAC and has plans for North America PoCs as well, Offel notes. Through these trials, they have identified what capabilities service providers most want to see added to the edge. By creating an off-the-shelf commercial platform that will support mix-and-matching of service capabilities, the Open Edge Alliance would help network operators generate new revenues faster. (See Telco Systems Plots Transition to SDN/NFV.)
This is all based on the deployment of NFV and SDN, which Offel admits is not a likely commercial reality this year. But creating commercial service deployment opportunities at the edge helps advance that cause.
On the back end, the Open Edge Alliance is working to interface with multiple orchestration systems so it can be integrated into a network operator's preferred network management approach. Initially, the group is working with Cyan Inc. and TailF, now part of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).
"We have our orchestration tools, but we understand the whole game here is working with other orchestration tools or allowing others to work with our orchestration," Offel says. "We are an expert in Carrier Ethernet and, now with virtualization, we understand that probably with Tier 1 customers, they already have their management, which will be extended to orchestration, so we have to work with somebody else. With smaller companies, they may want us to provide the orchestration."
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading