Injecting open networking and virtualisation into access networks

via Flickr © chipgriffin (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © chipgriffin (CC BY 2.0)

  • Dell EMC and ADVA have joined forces to create a properly open universal CPE offering
  • The venture bundles ADVA’s Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem with Dell’s Virtual Edge Platform
  • The aim is to steer service providers and enterprises to digitalize their infrastructure and automate their processes

The last couple of years has seen the well-worn ‘virtual CPE’ (vCPE) concept smartened up and presented as Universal CPE. The stress here is on virtualisation as a way for the network end-point connectivity to be more fluid and flexible and above all ‘open’ in dealing with applications and other connections on user premises - home or business.

ADVA and Dell EMC say they’re collaborating to deliver just such an open virtualized uCPE  solution for service provider and enterprise customers.

It’s built on ADVA’s Ensemble Connector NFVi platform and the idea is that network operators will be able to use it to invoke or revoke virtual network functions (VNFs) on white box CPE and thus serve a whole range of residential and business needs with different sets of VNFs (hence the ‘universal’ tag). Things like  software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) for business or, in future, in the case of residential, entire media and entertainment environments could be fired up as a set of virtual functions and, just as importantly, swapped out again if the user or user organisation wants to move on to something new.

Dell says Verizon is already using the solution to deploy multiple software-based services on a single uCPE installation.

“There is a real need among service providers and enterprises to update network operations to address distributed and cloud-based applications to capitalize on changing economics enabled by cloud models,” said Tom Burns, SVP and GM, Networking and Solutions, Dell EMC. “By infusing Open Networking into access networks to the cloud with the Virtual Edge Platform family, Dell EMC can help customers modernize infrastructure and transform operations while automating service delivery and processes.”

Thinking forward, residential fibre users are going to want the ability to change out their bandwidth or Internet service providers just as they currently do with ADSL and virtual ADSL services. Here the ability to switch easily between service providers is underpinned by regulation and the promotion of supplier switching, all in an effort to keep pricing keen and users unlocked. No reason to suppose that a similar requirement won’t emerge for complex network applications running over fibre access.

Dell EMC and ADVA claim their collaboration gives more businesses access to Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem via Dell’s Virtual Edge Platform, a multi-vendor environment which enables customers to avoid vendor lock-in and increase their own agility by exploring different product offerings on a ‘try before you buy’ basis.  

“Today’s network operators need solutions that are optimized for uCPE. Dell EMC’s new uCPE platforms are the answer to that challenge. Combined with our high-performance Ensemble Connector NFVi software, it provides an open architecture to support multiple simultaneous VNFs. By connecting the enterprise edge to the cloud, it provides unrivaled choice, drives growth and significantly improves end-user experience,” comments James Buchanan, GM, Edge Cloud at ADVA. “By joining forces with Dell EMC we’re enabling more service providers and enterprises to digitalize their infrastructure, both in data centers and out at the branch IT edge.”

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