CenturyLink tabs Cyan's Blue Planet to orchestrate NFV-enabled business services

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) will roll out new services aimed at enterprises and small to medium-sized business (SMB) customers via its Programmable Service Backbone (PSB). The PSB will enable these services via network functions virtualization (NFV) orchestrated by the Blue Planet NFV Orchestrator from Cyan (NYSE: CYNI), the two companies say.

CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) will roll out new services aimed at enterprises and small to medium-sized business (SMB) customers via its Programmable Service Backbone (PSB). The PSB will enable these services via network functions virtualization (NFV) orchestrated by the Blue Planet NFV Orchestrator from Cyan (NYSE: CYNI), the two companies say.

The PSB is a multivendor environment in which the NFV Orchestrator will help create virtual network functions (VNFs) for rapid service delivery, according to Cyan's CMO, Joe Cumello. CenturyLink hasn't announced which NFV-enabled services it plans to offer via the PSB and when; Cumello declined to comment. (We have queries in to the carrier.)

CenturyLink has aggressively investigated software-defined networking (SDN) and NFV. The carrier and Cyan (along with Certes Networks, Fortinet, and RAD) previously had collaborated on a European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV proof of concept demonstration at Light Reading's Big Telecom event last June. Nevertheless, Cyan had to battle competition from what Cumello described as "much larger companies" to earn its present role in the PSB. Cumello said Blue Planet's ability to successfully orchestrate functions in a multivendor environment was an important factor in the win, as was the ease of use the platform's template-based programming approach enables.

CenturyLink also appreciated Blue Planet's ability to support what is becoming known as lifecycle service orchestration (LSO) – which, according to the Metro Ethernet Forum's definition, oversees fulfillment, control, performance, assurance, usage, and analytics in an end-to-end service context – Cumello added.

The Blue Planet platform can be applied in a variety of scenarios. While this is its first announced use by a Tier 1 as an NFV orchestrator, Colt is using elements of the platform as an SDN controller (see "Colt chooses Cyan for Carrier Ethernet network upgrade"). Cumello says that many Tier 1 carriers are approaching SDN and NFV with an open mind when it comes to suppliers, which creates opportunities for newer players such as Cyan to succeed.

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