NetElastic enters SD-WAN market
California-based startup NetElastic recently rolled out an integrated suite of network functions virtualization (NFV) software products specifically geared toward telecom carriers.
NFV is a process of decoupling software from hardware, which enables service providers to virtualize network services that traditionally ran on proprietary hardware. While several carriers are embracing NFV, NetElastic noted question remains about whether NFV networks can scale to meet increasing network bandwidth demands using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware.
“Carriers are increasingly adopting NFV due to its many benefits, but they’re also facing challenges in realizing the benefits of NFV,” said David Williams, NetElastic’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, in a statement. “Based on input from carriers throughout the world, NetElastic’s NFV products were built specifically to meet the needs of carriers and include market-leading scalability and performance, massive multi-tenancy, core network integration, and always-on high availability clusters.”
To address this challenge, NetElastic said it developed its NFV software from the ground up to provide carrier-grade scalability. Among the company’s NFV products include the virtual Broadband Network Gateway (vBNG), which CenturyLink is currently trialling. The company said it incorporates the features of a traditional BNG solution, along with the flexibility and cost benefits of a virtualized solution.
NetElastic is also rolling into the SD-WAN market with its suite of NFV software products. What makes NetElastic’s SD-WAN unique is it was built from the perspective of a carrier core network, which contrasts with other SD-WAN platforms made for enterprises. The company says its SD-WAN and virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) provides scalability and performance with throughput up to 160 Gbps per gateway.
“We heard from carriers that there was a need for an SD-WAN solution for several use cases that weren’t adequately covered by current vendors. For example, most vendors solutions are built for Enterprises, while some have been adapted to (but not built for) carrier/service providers,” explained Williams in an email exchange with RCR Wireless News. “NetElastic’s focus on carriers and our core competencies in high performance data planes and IP/MPLS routing made SD-WAN a great fit for us to pursue,” he added.
The company also unveiled its vRouter, which can replace or augment hardware-based CE and CPE routers, core MPLS P routers and internet peering routers. Additionally, NetElastic introduced what it said is the industry’s first virtual MPLS Provider Edge router (vPE) at scale, which enables carriers to extend their MPLS capabilities using commercial x86 hardware.
As a startup, NetElastic has around 30 employees. In addition to CenturyLink, the company’s product line has gained the attention of other large carriers. As to what has attracted carriers to the startup’s suite of NFV products, Williams suggested, “Carriers have told us they previously trialled major vendors’ NFV software (which were legacy products ported to software) and found them inadequate, particularly around performance and scalability. In contrast, NetElastic doesn’t have a hardware-based solution to protect, so we have invested in the innovation necessary to deliver on the promise of NFV.”
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