Telco Systems today announced that it will offer an open universal CPE (uCPE) pre-integrated with the VMware VeloCloud-based SD-WAN service. This new offering will allow service providers to deploy the VMware SD-WAN services on their hardware of choice.
The offering is part of Telco Systems NFVTime suite, which delivers a service-ready, plug-and-play uCPE. NFVTime includes an operating system, a marketplace of virtual network functions (VNFs) from third-party vendors (such as VMware), and a centralized management and control system, including a uCPE Controller.
The operating system is the main offering at play here as it allows service providers to remotely offer additional VNF service chains, including virtual firewalls and other virtual security services, with zero-touch provisioning. What’s unique about the operating system is that it can turn any x86-device, with either low or high resources, into a fully operational uCPE. It uses Intel processors.
NFVTime has out-of-box hardware support from white-box providers Dell EMC, Lanner, Advantech, Supermicro, Aaeon, Nexcom, Intel, and Arm; and has a VNF library that includes Cisco, Netrounds, 6Wind, Trend Micro, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Check Point, Certes, Silver Peak, Audio Codes, and now VMware-Velocloud.
A few weeks ago, Sanjay Uppal, the vice president and general manager of VeloCloud, spoke to SDxCentral about how it was broadening its definition of SD-WAN to the network edge, which included delivering SD-WAN as-a-platform.
“SD-WAN becoming the platform provides integrations with all these other companies out there so that there can be simplicity and cost savings for the enterprise,” said Uppal at that time. And in February, the company said that it was working with both Adva and Telco Systems to deliver uCPE offerings that consolidate services alongside its SD-WAN VNF on a single x86 platform.
Telco Systems announced a similar partnership with FatPipe Networks last July.
Growth of uCPE
Telcos are increasingly adopting the uCPE model as a way to save money, simplify operations, and deliver more choice and flexibility to customers. Last August, IHS Markit projected in its “uCPE Hardware Biannual Report” that this market would increase from $7.7 million in 2017 to $1.02 billion in 2022.
There has been some speculation as to whether uCPEs would be a viable option, but that conversation has shifted slightly with the production of platforms like Telco Systems’ NFVTime.
What was once “for the rich,” Uppal told SDxCentral, is now shifting. “Companies like Adva, Telco Systems, [and] Ekinops have been able to streamline that, so I’m actually seeing now at the end of the last four months or so that telcos in particular are gravitating at least a portion of their business toward the uCPE model — it saves a lot for them,” he said.
Many service providers are working on building their own uCPE offerings.
Jeff Lewis, vice president of product management at Comcast Business told SDxCentral in December that “The ability to provide multiple VNFs to a common uCPE is tantamount to success in the SDN world.”
Sprint, which offers a managed SD-WAN service, is also evaluating uCPE options because it adds more flexibility for its customers. Orange Business Services has also been looking at uCPE, but still sees the market as not ready yet. This is largely due to the high cost of hardware and software licensing for VNFs.