Orange Business Services adds SD-WAN to hybrid network portfolio, prepares enterprise SDN migration

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Orange Business Services is taking on the SD-WAN opportunity with a new solution that it says will allow its business customers to simplify the management of their hybrid network while optimizing corporate and cloud applications.

In order to deliver its SD-WAN service, Orange Business Services will integrate Riverbed’s SteelConnect technology into its hybrid network portfolio.

“On our hybrid network, some applications are going to the internet depending on the customer requirement in terms of security and quality of service,” said Pierre-Louis Biaggi, VP of Orange Business Services’ connectivity business unit, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “By integrating SD-WAN into our portfolio, we can increase the quality of service of the applications going to the internet and continuing to optimize bandwidth requirements.”

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Riverbed’s SD-WAN offering, SteelConnect, provides a simplified approach to designing, deploying and managing hybrid networks. By using the optimum links available between different networks, application performance is improved by real-time routing. SteelConnect also enables zero-touch provisioning, allowing enterprises to set-up global networks quickly with easy management.

But this is not a rip-and-replace service offering.

As enterprises transition applications to the cloud, Orange said customers can maintain full compatibility with existing services in a hybrid network configuration. This hybrid network combines the best of MPLS and traditional broadband internet network connectivity.  

“What is special, I would say, in the Riverbed announcement is our way to do SD-WAN …  the fact is that often SD-WAN solutions are fully over-the-top solutions, meaning, you create any-to-any links between sites without taking benefit of the underlying network,” Biaggi said. “With this [our announcement], we are taking the benefit of the MPLS network that we have because this SD-WAN is fully compatible with all the services that we have already provided to our customers: ex: SIP trunking … access to cloud service providers. And the way we integrate with Riverbed is fully compatible with our existing services.”

In the second quarter of 2017, Orange will connect its first pilot customers using managed SteelConnect appliances. The VNF of the service, which is scheduled to be available at the end of 2017, will provide full virtualization and orchestration managed through a ‘self-care’ portal to administer and prioritize applications. 

As part of its partnership with Riverbed, Orange Business Services will develop a virtual network function (VNF) that customers will be able to deploy on universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) at their site.

Biaggi said that the deployment with Riverbed also plays into Orange’s broader effort to virtualize its global network via SDN and NFV.

“After we deploy Riverbed’s physical solution of Riverbed, we’re integrating their virtualization function solution in our global SDN environment,” Biaggi said. “This means you’re combining the VNF with orchestration and network controller that is the basis of our SDN solution we’re deploying to transform our network.”

Collaborating with Riverbed on SD-WAN makes sense for Orange Business. The new solution builds on the acceleration that had enabled by Riverbed Enterprise Application Management (EAM) for cloud applications on Orange Business VPN Galerie. Additional features will enhance the management of cloud access services together with the ability to mix connectivity between private and public networks.