The FlexWare service utilizes AT&T’s Integrated Cloud (AIC) platform for service orchestration. It taps software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies in targeting software control of VNFs for enterprise customers.
AT&T said FlexWare can now use VPN (MPLS), dedicated Internet, and broadband connectivity options in addition to its original Ethernet support. Connections can be through AT&T or from another provider, and domestic deployments can use wireless connectivity for redundancy.
Roman Pacewicz, SVP at AT&T Business, explained the connectivity flexibility has been key for many enterprises adopting the platform.
Security updates include availability of three new virtual options in the form of Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation Security Platform, which can be either managed by AT&T or self-managed; Juniper Networks’ self-managed virtual firewall; or Check Point’s self-managed vSEC service. FlexWare continues to support Fortinet’s self-managed or AT&T-managed firewall.
Pacewicz said FlexWare has been deployed on more than 2,000 sites globally, with availability of the platform expanding from 150 countries last October, to more than 200 countries and territories. Those deployments are somewhat tied to the carrier’s AIC footprint, with initial configurations running through local AIC zones. But, once the configuration is complete, FlexWave relies on the enterprises’ specified connectivity mode.
Deployment is said to take a couple of hours, with an AT&T technician onsite to assist in the initial configuration and working with the customer on use of the platform. Pacewicz said the carrier’s customer focus has migrated from larger enterprises to mid-sized and small businesses.
As an example of the latest expansion, Ericsson, which is a long-time vendor for AT&T, said it has deployed the FlexWare service across its global corporate network.
AT&T last year rebranded its previously offered Network on Demand (NoD) service to FlexWare as part of broader overhaul of the service. Shortly thereafter AT&T last announced a deal with IBM to use FlexWare to support the set-up and running of VNFs for services sold to clients and for its own internal operations. AT&T in turn said it will look to run applications on IBM’s cloud, cognitive, analytics, and security infrastructure.