EXFO combines NFV service assurance with ADVA’s Ensemble open virtualization suite to harness managed SD-WAN service potential

EXFO Inc. said it is combining its network functions virtualization (NFV) service assurance capabilities with ADVA Optical Networking's Ensemble open virtualization suite to offer communications service providers and their customers the control, visibility, and flexibility needed to harness the potential of managed software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) services.

EXFO Inc. (NASDAQ: EXFO) (TSX: EXF) said it is combining its network functions virtualization (NFV) service assurance capabilities with ADVA Optical Networking's Ensemble open virtualization suite to offer communications service providers and their customers the control, visibility, and flexibility needed to harness the potential of managed software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) services.

An open enterprise WAN service that is fully managed, SD-WAN is higher quality and lower cost than appliance-based services, the company asserts. EXFO says that the fully integrated and automated platform it can create with ADVA will meet SD-WAN management demands by combining SD-WAN orchestration and orchestrated service assurance.

"Managed SD-WAN represents a tremendous growth opportunity for communications service providers looking to transform their network from physical to virtual and to drive new revenue," said Prayson Pate, CTO of ADVA's Ensemble division. "For CSPs [communications services providers] to reap the expected benefits from deploying SD-WAN services, they need to break free from the numerous constraints of single-vendor solution lock-in and build their solution with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware hosting best-in-class open-source NFV software. That's what we are offering with Ensemble and our partnership with EXFO."

"The nature of an open, VNF-based solution requires a different approach to network and service assurance since service quality can no longer be inferred solely from network and equipment quality metrics provided by the VNF vendors themselves," added Claudio Mazzuca, vice-president, systems and analytics at EXFO. "By including EXFO's active service assurance vProbe VNFs in the service chain, the service orchestrator can automatically test and verify a service before turning it over to the customer and can implement end-to-end service monitoring, based on policy or operational needs. Automating these functions is the only way to address the anticipated scaling of new services."

ADVA's Ensemble division upgraded its NFV platform in 2017 to enable it to more easily support the trend toward deployment of universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) (see "ADVA Ensemble upgrades NFV platform, reveals Verizon as customer"). The upgraded features include an "embedded cloud" approach that also supports deployment of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) as a virtual network function (VNF) on a COTS server rather than a dedicated appliance.

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