Orange and AT&T set up virtualisation partnership

Leading operators to align strategy on virtualisation and software-defined networking with open-source policy

Orange and AT&T are to work together to promote software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) technologies. The two companies want to align their strategic vision, and will use open-source initiatives, they said.

The aim, the companies said, is to help the industry and business customers move faster towards a more agile, flexible and on-demand networking future.

Didier Duriez, senior vice president for global solutions at Orange Business Services, said: “Everyone benefits when network services and functions are designed around a common ecosystem that is delivered on open platforms. Innovation can happen faster and more easily, and this model will also help improve reliability and security.”

AT&T Business Solutions’ Roman Pacewicz, senior vice president for offer management and service integration, said: “We’re committed to defining a framework that will accelerate the adoption of SDN. Driving the industry toward a standardised approach will reduce the cost and complexity created by proprietary implementation of equipment in the network and on the customer premise.”

The companies said that telcos and enterprise customers have to deal with proprietary standards, closed architectures and multiple equipment vendors that have different platforms and specifications. “AT&T and Orange will identify appropriate forums for industry standardisation discussions to drive standardisation efforts forward. By introducing common standards and interfaces, the industry would simplify technological integration, increase operational efficiency and reduce costs, resulting in shorter deployment cycles and a faster pace of innovation,” they said.

Until now much of the work towards virtualisation has taken place in the European Telecommunications Standards Institution (ETSI), and the AT&T/Orange statement leaves open the possibility that ETSI will be one of the forums the two companies choose.

They said they will focus on a number of areas:

• making customer premises equipment and services truly universal;

• introducing common guidelines and templates for virtual network functions;

• developing standard application programming interfaces.