Virtualized Network Services (VNS), as Nuage calls it, is being announced today as part of parent company Alcatel-Lucent‘s Technology Symposium in Basking Ridge, N.J.
This could set up a scenario where remote enterprise locations could order their own network services “more like the way you get your cellphone or your broadband,” says Houman Modarres, Nuage’s senior director of marketing.
VNS extends Nuage’s network virtualization across any cloud or network, ideally tapping into open, off-the-shelf customer premises equipment (CPE). VNS can’t control a proprietary CPE device — a service router built by Cisco, say — but could sit behind that device to tap into the overlay network Nuage creates.
The result is that remote branches can stop being islands and can be hooked into the rest of the corporate network via a cloud network. It also means that network policy can be enforced at these remote locations, Nuage officials say.
Nuage’s customers for VNS will still be service providers, the idea being that by extending flexibility to the branch, Nuage is giving carriers another set of features to entice enterprise customers with. Carriers could offer self-service ordering of network services, a managed service for those enterprises that don’t operate their own networks, for example.
The WAN is getting increasing amounts of attention in software-defined networking (SDN). A plan similar to Nuage’s VNS is emerging out of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), which wants to set the groundwork for network-as-a-service (NaaS), a spontaneous network connection that could be set up across multiple vendors’ Ethernet gear.
The MEF’s target use case is similar to Nuage’s: connecting a remote branch or user to a cloud network. But the MEF is considering more ephemeral situations, such as the temporary connection needed for a conference call. Moreover, its work is just getting started; it’s going to take time to complete the APIs for coordinating different vendors’ equipment.