Verizon taps into open source, white box fervor with new CPE offering

Verizon this week said it would begin offering x86-based servers with OpenStack software aimed at customers looking to support all manner of advanced cloud, software defined networking and network functions virtualization (NSF)-based enterprises.

Verizon this week said it would begin offering x86-based servers with OpenStack software aimed at customers looking to support all manner of advanced cloud, software defined networking and network functions virtualization-based enterprises.

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According to Verizon, letting customers use a combination of off the shelf hardware over a distributed deployment of OpenStack will let them decouple hardware from software and frees them from proprietary hardware. OpenStack is developed by some 150 companies from AT&T to IBM and Red Hat to Cisco, Dell EMC and others. The open software controls large pools of compute, storage, and networking resources throughout a data center, managed typically through a single dashboard.

Such flexibility helps control costs, simplifies physical network architectures, and gives customers the independence to pick the right mix of hardware and applications, Verizon stated.

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The idea with virtualized business services, including Verizon’s universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) lets various carrier services run on standard infrastructure at either customer sites or service-provider facilities. Because the services are virtual, companies can order and change service amenities quickly.

Verizon said its uCPE package incorporates service chaining and Enterprise Orchestration for automation of onboarding and provisioning. Ensuing Enterprise Orchestration releases will include service assurance capabilities for fault and performance monitoring, as well as closed-loop healing and a VNF factory. Integrating a full-service life-cycle orchestration solution into Verizon's uCPE will enable enterprises to deploy near real-time SDN technologies.

The uCPE offering is available through Verizon’s Virtual Network Services program.

Verizon isn’t the only carrier getting in the uCPE arena. In March AT&T wrote that its engineers successfully completed field trials of a multi-supplier open source white box switch carrying customer traffic. What this means is we used a common, uniform open network operating system across multiple merchant silicon chips to build a piece of network equipment that met our stringent real-world data needs.

“The boxes we tested provided high performance telemetry into our ECOMP platform to monitor the traffic as it zipped from Washington DC to San Francisco. It’s early, but we think this technology could accelerate innovation on almost any device that requires connectivity. It’s like how bringing reliable GPS tracking and navigation to smart phones enabled entirely new applications, and even industries,” AT& T wrote. “Creating this white box switch was a group effort. Several visionary companies helped us bring it to life. Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Delta Electronics, Edgecore Networks, Intel Corporation, and SnapRoute provided the standardized hardware and open source software that powered these new network switches.”

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