Versa is decoupling software from hardware for three primary use cases: virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE), software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), and virtualized branch security. Ultimately, though, there is only one market, which is the CPE market, says co-founder and CEO Kumar Mehta.
The products being announced today are “born out of our experience with the 10 customers that have selected us plus another 35 who are going through proofs-of-concept,” Mehta says.
Versa has gotten a lot of attention because Mehta and brother Apurva are well known in the industry, having come from Juniper Networks. It was there that they noticed service providers wanted to deploy services more quickly but were constrained by the complexity of their networks, Mehta told SDxCentral a couple of months ago. So, in 2012, the brothers formed Versa.
Versa is offering carrier-grade software for branch offices and cable head-ends, using commodity-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. Customers can buy their hardware directly from qualified vendors, or Versa will integrate the hardware and software, if desired.
The timing is kind of ironic, because just last week Juniper itself announced it was disaggregating its Junos software from hardware. And Juniper also announced its new Cloud CPE product to help telcos spin up managed services much faster. However, Juniper’s Cloud CPE does include an on-premises device — the NFX250 — that can run multiple virtual network functions (VNFs), from Juniper and third parties simultaneously.
According to Versa’s CEO, though, there’s really no comparison with Juniper, which “is constrained by its own hardware roots.”
The Versa VNF portfolio uses three components to create next-generation WANs and branch networks.
- Versa FlexVNF includes a broad set of virtualized network and security functions with carrier-grade multitenancy, programmability, service chaining, and service elasticity.
- Versa Director provides one point of centralized control and management for connectivity and services.
- Versa Analytics provides visibility, prediction, and a feedback loop for adaptability.
Mehta stresses the multitenant aspect of Versa’s software — the ability to provision and manage hundreds of customers or business subsidiaries.
“You don’t want to have multiple management in the end. We provide single monitoring, single configurations,” he says.
Versa’s software offers template support, so thousands of branches can share the same configuration, while variables in the template allow customization for individual branches.
Mehta also noted that Versa’s automatic service chaining sends traffic from VNF to VNF without sending it back to a controller. In other words, it can go from hop to hop natively so there’s no need for an SDN overlay.