Verizon Launches Virtualized Network Services for Enterprise

The Verizon business unit rolls out three virtual network services on a managed, on-demand basis, offering total flexibility and deployment choices.

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Verizon will extend its virtual service set to SMBs through its channel partners.

Industry analysts say such an expansion of existing software-defined networking will find an audience, but that not every customer will be ready for the deep end of the pool at the same time, a caveat Verizon readily acknowledges. This service suite will also include premises-based universal CPE and a set of hybrid services where clients can mix premises-based and cloud-based deployment models to meet their individual business and technical requirements.

“Their vision, strategy and service deployment are right on point”, Chander said. Partners in the program include Cisco Systems, Juniper, Fortinet, Riverbed, Palo Alto and Viptela, with Victoria Lonker, director of product management for MPLS, SDN and Mobile Private Network at Verizon, noting plans to name more vendor partners down the road.

Since numerous Verizon’s business customers have locations that stretch across multiple markets, the telco can deliver these virtual services over a mix of public, private and wireless networks from Verizon or other service providers, or a combination of multiple providers across multiple networks. The services are created to help business customers with multiple locations, including small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and enterprises, transition to a virtual infrastructure model.

“The demand for “hybrid WAN” services like this is not new but some of the technology and network infrastructure is now advanced to manage many different services, manage them better and improve the cost of growing bandwidth demands”, says Mike Sapien, principal analyst, large enterprise services, at Ovum.

Verizon on Thursday followed in the footsteps of arch-rival AT&T with the launch of virtual network services for the enterprise community.

The carrier later in the year launched a SD-WAN service using Cisco’s Intelligent WAN technology and targeting enterprise customers.

“When they can turn on cloud compute and storage, enterprises also want to be able to turn on network services and know they are there, without long provisioning times”, he says. “That makes sense because enterprises are at different stages of their digital transitions”.

Customers can choose from a range of service tiers, allowing them to choose the features and functionality as they need them on pay-as-you-go pricing model. That isn’t going to be true of smaller customers.

Lonker added that some customers are “mixing and matching where at some sites they may have multiple virtual functions using firewalls and another site they might just need a router”. “In the past most people in a company were working out of one office”.

The other differentiator for Verizon is the SD-WAN element and its importance in the bigger mix. IDC’s Chander says AT&T is shying away from SD-WANs, but Verizon is embracing that technology. “They’re already offering SD-WAN (and have) taken a little more holistic approach”.

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That doesn’t even have to happen on Verizon’s network, she says, although obviously that would be the preference. The company claims support can be delivered across public, private and wireless networks provided by Verizon, other service providers or a combination of multiple providers across multiple networks. “They can still have virtualized functions – we’re agnostic as to where they start, it doesn’t have to be with Verizon’s network”. “It should be an advantage, the fact that they could respond more quickly to network changes, and control that process, if they integrate things correctly, he notes”.

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