Latest Verizon CPE aimed at simplifying deployment of network services

Verizon's latest customer premise equipment is meant to simplify deployment of virtual network functions. The new Verizon CPE was introduced this week at the OpenStack Summit.

Verizon has introduced an appliance capable of running multiple network services. The universal customer premises equipment, or uCPE, launched this week delivers multiple virtual network functions, such as a software-defined WAN, firewalls and WAN optimization, in one appliance instead of separate hardware.

The latest Verizon CPE is x86-based off-the-shelf hardware that uses the open source platform OpenStack to run the virtual network functions (VNFs). Verizon introduced its latest offering at the OpenStack Summit in Boston.

For Verizon customers, the announcement means fewer appliances at the edge of their networks, said John Fruehe, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, based in Austin, Texas. Initially, SD-WAN and security, particularly firewalls, will be the most popular uCPE services. Verizon provides SD-WAN through partnerships with Cisco and Viptela. Cisco will acquire Viptela this year in a $610 million deal announced this month.

Verizon CPE aimed at strengthening foothold in data center edge

Strategically, Verizon hopes the uCPE will help it get "deeper and deeper into enterprises," which Verizon and other carriers believe will gradually outsource a lot of their internal infrastructure, Fruehe said. To encourage companies to use its services, Verizon is simplifying deployment.

"Instead of having six or eight different appliances that they drop off and have to make it all work, they're going to drop off a single box that's going to have everything inside," Fruehe said. "It's going to be one-stop shopping -- one connection, and you're hooked up."

The latest Verizon CPE indicates a focus on getting a stronger foothold in corporate data centers following the recent sale of Verizon's cloud and managed hosting business to IBM, said Lauren Nelson, an analyst at Forrester Research.  The deal, which is expected to close this year, ended Verizon's ambitions of becoming a public cloud service provider.

Instead, Verizon will continue to provide hosting services for customers' private clouds while "doubling down on customer experience [in the use of its network services]," Nelson said.

Verizon's largest competitor in CPE-delivered services is AT&T, which calls its platform for running VNFs FlexWare. AT&T delivers its services through x86 server hardware built by Juniper Networks.

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