Metaswitch today announced a new cloud service option, which allows service providers to move away from operating their own voice networks and instead buy these as a cloud service from the software vendor.
That was one of seven major product announcements released today at the Metaswitch Networks customer event in Scottsdale, Ariz. The others include an NFV starter kit, new analytics tools, an expanded Unified Communications solution and a security review service, among others. (See Metaswitch Launches Major New Product Rollout.)
Letting service providers deliver their own residential and business services from a cloud that is maintained and operated by Metaswitch -- the product name is MetaSphere Cloud Service -- is the next logical evolution of where the company sees its service provider customers going, says Steve Gleave, VP of marketing. The approach moves Metaswitch's call feature server and enhanced application server into the cloud, where it becomes the voice core operators use to deliver their services.
"We know things are moving to the cloud, and people don't want to just keep buying hardware," he tells Light Reading in an interview. By moving to the cloud, Metaswitch can keep software and upgrades constantly up-to-date, take the operations burden from their customers and enable them to offer new features faster.
"It's the last switch you'll never buy," Gleave jokes. "When you want a new feature, it's just a matter of saying you want it and we can add it on. It can act as a replacement for what you have or a geographical redundant platform on day one, or it can be an expansion switch, day one so you expand new subscribers onto that switch instead of running your own."
Having already written most of its software to be virtualized, Metaswitch didn't find the latest move that hard although it did require work on the multi-tenancy aspects. Gleave also admits it's a work in progress that will evolve as customers begin to deploy, to make sure the product matches their needs. The platform has been developed to account for the fact that hardware can fail, and to build in safeguards that deliver the five-9s performance voice products require from the cloud.
Other products on the long list of introductions today include the NFV starter kit, called vNOW, intended to get service providers past what can be an overwhelming set of choices in setting up network functions virtualization (NFV) but giving them the core capabilities on which they can start experimenting.
"People are still a bit hesitant," Gleave notes. "We'll just bring it all in, a regular server, its software stacks you are familiar with, like VMWare, and our virtual network functions," such as session border controllers, switching, telephony applications server. "We bring it in and support it for you until you are comfortable with it."
Gleave, who has been proselytizing virtualization among Metaswitch's many small and rural telcos for a while now, says this is one way to get folks over the hump and get them to start experimenting to see what they can actually do with NFV, and to build their comfort level.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading