BT and Cisco expand partnership with two new solutions

In another move toward network virtualization, BT announced it is extending its partnership with Cisco with the deployment of two new products: a Cisco-based customer premise equipment virtualization solution headed by BT dubbed BT Connect Edge; and the integration of Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) software platform for network automation into BT’s networking offerings. According to the company, the combination of Connect Edge and Connect Services Platform will reduce the time and money coupled to the deployment of network functions.

“Our 25-year partnership with Cisco is one of the strongest in the industry and a key cornerstone of our customers’ future networks,” Keith Langridge, vice president of network services at BT Global Services, told RCR Wireless News. “By combining BT’s strong virtualisation, service management and security expertise and new Cisco technologies, we are reinforcing our position as a trusted partner to our customers, guiding them on their digital transformation journeys.”

Connect Edge is a kind of virtualized customer premise equipment (vCPE) service founded on Cisco’s Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS) platform, which enables network functions virtualization (NFV) for the branch. BT Connect Edge is responsible for running these virtual network functions (VNFs).

“There is a lot of hype in the market at the moment about the mass migration of network services to the latest vCPE based solutions, but it is still early days and the technology and associated standards and commercials plus the customers’ requirements and expectations are all maturing,” said Langridge. “BT & Cisco have rich history of developing solutions for our customers, our customers are looking to us to provide the expertise and ability to deliver to ensure the successful evolution of their network to this new environment.”

The Connected Services Platform, on the other hand, is a managed services solution that allows BT customers to launch network functions, including routing, acceleration and security, at branches and remote locations in hours. Service activation is pivotal to enabling this process, which integrates both BT and Cisco technologies, including Cisco’s ENCS platform and BT’s global service management.

The new services are part of a wider initiative by BT’s Dynamic Network Services, which is focused on creating network solutions leveraging NFV and SDN services. BT intends to roll out Connect Services Platform and Connect Edge early next year to customers dotted across 180 countries.

Commenting on the hurdles customers ought to be aware of in setting up this kind of technology, Langridge said: “Security is a key consideration for any network solution and is part of every network conversation we are having. We offer market leading security services to back up the increased threat associated to a Dynamic Network Service. These services also offer an opportunity for us to deploy security services in a virtualised way, making it much simpler and faster to deploy.”

“The additional hurdle they face is the ability to deliver the right solution successfully, the choice of different options and approaches for a very new technology creates a problem in its self for our customers. They don’t necessarily have the skills in house to make the right choices and the skills to enable a successful deployment, so they look to an organization such as ourselves and especially our professional services arm, to support them in this change.”

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