AT&T: Diverse virtual environments complicate NFV deployments

AT&T (NYSE: T) business customers may be interested in the carrier's growing base of on-demand virtual services, but the telco realizes that it has to accommodate multiple environments.

Since its services are targeting large multinational business customers, a number of which have different needs even within an organization, AT&T isn't taking a one size fits all approach.

One example of this trend can be seen with AT&T's new NFV on demand service, which is available in 76 countries and territories. Multinational companies will gain a simplified process to purchase and add new network functions, reducing activation times from to a few minutes.

"Our belief is that networking by nature is hybrid," said Roman Pacewicz, SVP of global strategy for AT&T, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Some customers will choose one technology while others will choose another and at AT&T we want to be able to provide a hybrid environment based on whatever technology they choose."

Pacewicz added that "there's always complexity on the customer premise and this addresses that complexity regardless of transport the customer chooses."

This means that at some sites, a business could roll out WAN acceleration and others roll out firewalls to ensure security. The AT&T platform allows businesses to adjust and add functions as they see fit. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, AT&T is initially targeting customers that sign up for its Ethernet service with plans to roll out additional functions over time.

"All of those functions will be enabled through that virtualized network function approach and control logic managed by the ECOMP platform," Pacewicz said.

AT&T's move to virtual services continues to pay off. Although the NFV on demand service is still being tested by customers, the service provider's Ethernet on Demand service has already attracted over 1,000 customers.

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