Verizon enlists Dell, Big Switch, Red Hat in NFV deployment

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While Verizon (NYSE: VZ) revealed last year that it is working with Cisco Systems, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Juniper Networks and Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK) to develop its software-based solutions and strategies, it's also working with Dell, Big Switch Networks and Red Hat, a Verizon spokesman confirmed.

Last week, NFV and SDN were big topics of discussion among operators and vendors attending the Open Networking Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., where Chris Emmons, Verizon's director of network infrastructure planning, gave a presentation on the company's vision and learnings in designing and deploying the first handful of production sites for Verizon's SDN/NFV initiative.

Verizon started to design its large-scale 50+ rack NFV deployment in March 2015 and began production in national data centers in December 2015. The project set a record time from design to deployment in Verizon and potentially in the NFV ecosystem and the large-scale OpenStack ecosystem.

The project is considered innovative because NFV deployments are some of the most demanding workloads in OpenStack clouds, making a deployment of this nature a complex technical challenge. A white paper discussing the collaboration between Dell, Big Switch and Red Hat on their Tier 1 NFV deployment says it resulted in multiple improvements to upstream open source code to align the final Pod design with key design and operational considerations. Software developers from Red Hat and Big Switch worked together on a daily basis over months, leveraging more than $1 million of test hardware from Dell, to accelerate the open community engineering process and deliver the validated NFV Pod architecture.

Rival AT&T (NYSE: T) certainly is out in front when it comes to talking about its deployment of NFV and SDN, but other carriers are moving forward as well. Brian Higgins, vice president of network planning at Verizon, previously told FierceTelecom that the carrier is working with more than 20 partners on SDN and that many of them are considered "non-traditional" partners.

Kyle Forster, co-founder of Big Switch, told FierceWirelessTech that he could not comment directly on what the company is doing with any specific carrier, but in general, he spends most of his time with customers and partners that are pushing the boundaries of the industry and the company.

Big Switch has been working with all three carriers in Japan to deploy its monitoring product. In Japan, the carriers tend to be very early adopters. That's in part because of the way in which the three big systems integrators work with the carriers, which makes it easier to adopt new technologies and work with smaller companies in a way that's fairly unique in the world, Forster said.

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