Orange turns to Equinix to expand its telco cloud footprint

  • Orange is keen to accelerate the expansion of its ‘New Generation International Network’
  • Its Business Services division has teamed up with Equinix 
  • Orange will host telco cloud points of presence (PoPs) on Equinix nodes

Orange has brokered a new partnership with international data centre operator Equinix to expand its network and services reach and accelerate the development of its cloud-enabled ‘New Generation International Network’

While the usual approach for this sort of move might involve a deal with one of the hyperscalers, and much integration work as customers are onboarded, Orange has instead deepened its existing relationship with Equinix, which can provide the required network and cloud-based points of presence from which Orange can provision services for both wholesale and retail customers in far-flung parts of the world – or even near-flung locations in Europe.

Equinix is a substantial entity: The Redwood City, California-based company currently has 240 data centres in 27 countries all linked by an extensive global data network, so it might be thought of as a hybrid data centre/global network operator. Since 2020 it’s described itself as a digital infrastructure company. 

The arrangement with Orange involves Equinix’s ‘bare metal’ server platform, which is built into its network to provide neutral points of presence. That means Orange can quickly and easily propagate its service set wherever demand (and the Equinix network) takes it. Orange claims its telco cloud platform already has 40 SDN (software-defined networking) PoPs around the world and is aiming to have more than 100 by 2024. Each of its PoPs can host virtualised service functions such as voice, 5G, CDN (content distribution), SD-WAN and security services, according to the service provider.  

“We are delighted to partner with Equinix to deploy Orange Telco Cloud PoPs technology on top of Equinix Metal,” explained Jean-Luc Vuillemin, executive vice president of International Networks at Orange. “By embracing an ‘as a service’ infrastructure model and focusing investment in our SDN and VNF capabilities, Orange can provide a fully flexible and elastic solution to customers.”

For Equinix, the key to this sort of telco partnership arrangement is its prior investment in “automated digital infrastructure capabilities”, which enables its partner Orange, for instance, to greatly simplify the onboarding process for new customers. This next gen responsiveness can make all the difference in terms of winning customers, as the integration of a new telecoms PoP in a data centre might conventionally take several months. The goal is to get this time down to hours and days instead and to provide low latency (sub 10ms) performance.

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