How Verizon deploys virtual network services
Verizon Enterprise Solutions has deployed a virtual network services hosted environment enabling the rapid launch of new offerings targeted at enterprises around the world across virtually every industry. Verizon customers are now able to deploy new virtualized network services quickly and securely using self-service tools and a centralized management portal.
The enabling orchestration technology, with capabilities that dynamically scale to meet enterprise customer needs, is allowing businesses to become more efficient and adaptable to changing conditions.
Ericsson brings an orchestration platform to Verizon
With the help of Ericsson Dynamic Orchestration, Verizon is providing a comprehensive solution to simplify the management of networking resources. The orchestration platform supports the full lifecycle of service implementation and service assurance in a centralized and automated fashion to maintain the fidelity of services. Verizon is also leveraging an end-to-end automated “factory” model that allows third-party vendors to rapidly onboard VNFs for Verizon compatibility and certification into the orchestration catalog. Together, Verizon and Ericsson are putting next-generation software and agile services to work to help power the era of digital transformation.
A conversation with Verizon’s Shawn Hakl
Shawn Hakl, SVP, Business Products at Verizon, discusses the company’s digital transformation to provide the next evolution of virtual network services for its customers around the world.
Ericsson: Shawn, great having you here!
Shawn: Very happy to be here!
Ericsson: Let’s have a chat about how Verizon and Ericsson together are creating new value for your enterprise customers.
Shawn: It is a very exciting time for us. Our customers are changing fairly fundamentally. Most of them are engaged in some form of digitization of their business, changing the customer digital journey. It’s driven around the demographics of their customers—whether they are a private-sector organization trying to capture the next generation of consumer or a public-sector organization finding new ways to service their client base. All those organizations are confronted with the need to manage the cost, the security, and the performance of their business in the digital world.
Ericsson: What does this mean for the enterprises and their CIOs?
Shawn: The challenge they face now is that their users have picked up and moved everywhere. You combine that with a lot of new technologies on the network side, and while these technologies introduce a way for the CIO to meet the demands of the business to be more agile, at the same time they have to make the appropriate trade-offs between performance, cost, and security.
Ericsson: It sounds like a balancing act.
Shawn: Yes, it’s about enabling our core customers to reach into the digital world faster, with strong security. As a result, as an operator we have to transform away from a model built on operational efficiency. We used to build very tightly integrated vertical stacks that provided performance and security. And for a large portion of our customers and the applications that perform that, this is still a requirement. But on top of that, they've got the need to scale out to a broader set of transactions. You used to automate for operational efficiency. You now need to also operate at scale where you are going from millions of users to billions of devices.
Ericsson: What are you doing to help them achieve that right mix?
Shawn: Our customers are now digitizing a much broader swath of their business, so as a result new tools are needed. The need for those new tools drove the rise of cloud computing; that same technology has now come to the network. So, it’s incumbent on the operator to find a way to embrace and engage the new cloud-based services model and deliver those services with the ability to scale. You know, they don’t come to us and ask us for SDN or NFV. They do come to us and ask, "How do you make my business more agile? How do you help me manage my cost? How do I maintain security in an increasingly insecure world?"
We have to deliver in real time, and we have to deliver with hyperscale automation. We are delivering as a service—no longer are we expecting people to put in infrastructure that’s going to service their needs for five or seven years at a time. Right now, they need to be more flexible. Their business moves around in very, very short cycles. We need to make sure that we deliver an infrastructure that moves at the same pace, and in addition we need to be able to provide the integration of security directly into that environment as well as the ability to control it all in a manageable way at scale.
Ericsson: We feel that the programmability of a network, particularly for the enterprise segment, is truly key to operators. For quite a few years, we have been focusing on creating a portfolio of tools with which we can orchestrate workloads. For you as an operator, is that key or do you see anything else?
Shawn: Yes, I do think your focus is in the right place. We are used to being traditionally a scale player. We are usually one of the biggest entrants in our market. But with the introduction of this new technology, we bring a lot of other players to the table and we have to move from being scale players to being hyperscale players. That means more programmability, more software automation, and the ability to act in an agile fashion. As we look to move forward in our marketplace, those capabilities are extremely important to us.
We selected Ericsson on a couple of key strengths. One, they have a very large software base—there’s a lot of intellectual property there and years’ worth of engineering capability captured in software. So, having that asset base was very important to us. In addition, Ericsson has demonstrated repeatedly with us—in our core business and as we have expanded our core business into SDN-related core services—an ability to execute. Lots of people have presentations; the people who have both the asset base and ability to execute are important for us because it speeds our time to market. And Ericsson brought both of those things to the table. So, we were much more comfortable engaging on what is a very significant transformation for us using a company that we knew we could trust.
Ericsson: I really like the way you are challenging and driving us. It’s motivational and that’s fantastic.
Shawn: This has been an incredibly successful relationship in that regard. There are a lot of smart engineers at Ericsson and a lot of mobile expertise. Being able to leverage that skill is extremely important to us. You know, we see the world in a very similar way in terms of the evolution of our customers’ needs. To be able to take that and then couple it with our direct knowledge of our enterprise base to deliver services that are new and innovative to the marketplace has been a very exciting journey for us.
Ericsson: That’s exciting to us all!!