To deliver this SD-WAN service, Orange will integrate Riverbed’s SteelConnect technology. The two companies are working together to develop a virtual network function (VNF) that customers will be able to deploy on universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) at their sites.
Phil Harris, general manager of service provider solutions at Riverbed, said that uCPE is essentially the same as off-the-shelf hardware.
Up to this point, Orange has offered an SD-WAN service using existing Cisco routers in its enterprise customers’ branch offices. In October 2016 when SDxCentral spoke with John Isch, a practice director at Orange Business Services, he said the company was hesitant to add hardware to branch offices. Isch said many customers want to extend the life of their Cisco routers, and by adding code to the router to offload some traffic to broadband, Orange could provide an SD-WAN solution.
But now, Orange is partnering with Riverbed for a more robust SD-WAN that includes cloud connectivity.
Riverbed’s SD-WAN offering — SteelConnect — does real-time traffic routing using the optimum connections between different networks to improve application performance. SteelConnect also enables zero-touch provisioning, allowing enterprises to set up global networks quickly and manage them through a self-serve portal.
The first Orange pilot customers will be connected during the second quarter of 2017 using managed SteelConnect appliances. The VNF of the service is scheduled to be available at the end of 2017.
The SD-WAN launch is a key part of Orange’s network-as-a-service strategy for its global enterprise customers.
In addition to SD-WAN, Riverbed is also working with Orange on other jointly developed products some of which may be based on Riverbed’s new Service Delivery Platform, which it announced last month. The platform is designed to let service providers abstract the complexity associated with NFV and focus on services instead.
Riverbed set up a separate business unit focusing on service providers about six months ago. It includes product development and management, along with sales and marketing, all vertically integrated within the single business unit.