Verizon launches software defined networking managed service via Cisco

Verizon and Cisco are aiming to entice more enterprises to go to software defined networking via a managed service. Both companies will sell the service.

Verizon's enterprise unit on Tuesday outlined plans to offer a managed wide area networking service based on Cisco's software-defined infrastructure. The software defined networking platform will serve as the foundation for future services.

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The move serves as a proof-of-concept for both companies. Verizon is the first carrier to build out software-defined network services on Cisco's platform. Both Cisco and Verizon will market the managed software defined wide area network (Managed SD-WAN) services to customers.

Verizon outlined its software defined strategy in April and started working on its managed SD-WAN service with Cisco in February.

Software defined networking is gaining momentum as more carriers and enterprises see it as a way to provision network services on the fly. In theory, enterprises would utilize their infrastructure more efficiently and the results would be similar to what happened to compute with virtualization.

Shawn Hakl, vice president of enterprise networking and innovation, said Verizon will charge enterprises under a traditional managed service model, which revolves around deployments. Under that set-up, Verizon provides the architects and engineers to implement and configure the network.

Hakl added that Verizon's enterprise unit has pilots with companies around the world for its software defined services.

Under the arrangement with Cisco, Verizon manages the policies and integration layer for enterprises and routes traffic based on workloads and whether they can use public or private networks. Cisco has provided infrastructure as well as a series of application programming interfaces.

The Verizon service is based on Cisco's IWAN networking technology. The effort from the two companies provides application optimization, certified routing platforms, controls to leverage the Internet or private networks and faster provisioning.

Cisco's Jason Rolleston, senior director of product management for enterprise networking, said enterprises are increasingly looking toward software defined networks to improve agility. But many companies are sitting on the fence. Verizon is obviously hoping a managed service will entice enterprise customers.

In the U.S., Verizon and Cisco will market and sell the managed service in September. A launch for Europe, Middle East and Africa will land by the end of the year.