BT and CISCO Accelerate Partnership for Future Networks

BT has announced an extension of its strategic partnership with Cisco to include two new capabilities: a new Cisco-based customer premise equipment virtualisation solution managed by BT (BT Connect Edge) and the integration of Cisco’s network automation and orchestration software platform into BT’s networking offerings (BT Connect Services Platform). The new capabilities are part of BT’s Dynamic Network Services initiative, designed to give BT customers more choice, security, resilience, service, and agility in the roll-out of future networks that support their digital transformation.

Maria Grazia Pecorari, president, digital, global portfolio & marketing, Global Services, BT.

The combination of Connect Edge and Connect Services Platform will allow customers to cut the time and costs needed to deploy network functions such as routing, acceleration and security across their global estate, while de-risking the transition from standalone hardware-based appliances to a fully virtualised network environment.

With Connect Services Platform, customers will be able to deploy new network functions at branches and remote locations within hours, using the integrated BT and Cisco technology. These functions will run on the Connect Edge multifunctional hardware, combining the strengths of Cisco’s Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS) platform with BT’s global service management, design capability, security wrap and support coverage.

This will provide customers with a secure end-to-end service that avoids the pain and time of having to deploy new devices when new functionality is needed. These functions  will be deployed and managed remotely without the need for specialist technical staff to visit each site for installation. As a BT-managed service, the solution will support virtual network functions (VNFs) from multiple vendors and will be accessible to customers via their BT MyAccount portal.

Connect Edge is a new virtualised customer premise equipment (vCPE) service based on Cisco’s ENCS technology enabling network functions virtualization (NFV) for the branch. The associated virtual network functions will run via BT Connect Services Platform, BT’s new managed services solution.

In order to deploy its new virtualisation offerings, BT has integrated Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) software platform and virtual Branch Core Function Pack into its own networks and uses network automation to deliver high-quality services faster and more easily to its customers. The NSO platform will improve BT’s ability to simultaneously manage, improve and orchestrate service delivery across NFV projects, software-defined networking (SDN) offerings and more traditional networks.

Maria Grazia Pecorari, president, digital, global portfolio & marketing, Global Services, BT, said: “BT’s Dynamic Network Services initiative helps global businesses deliver against their networking and security strategy and reap the benefits of software-defined networks, virtualisation and cloud services. BT already has a track record of deploying NFV and SDN services. These services give multinational customers automation, flexibility and choice they need to transform their operations.

Our 25-year partnership with Cisco is one of the strongest in the industry and a key cornerstone of our customers’ future networks. By combining BT’s strong virtualisation, service management and security expertise and new Cisco technologies, we are reinforcing our position as a trusted partner to our customers, guiding them on their digital transformation journeys.”

“BT continues to blaze the trail for the future of networking, evolving to an intent-based network that automates its configurations to support increasing demands, offering its customers simpler ways to deliver services faster,” said Scott Harrell, senior vice president and general manager, Enterprise Networking Business, Cisco. “With these new network automation, orchestration and virtualization solutions from Cisco in place, BT can operate a more intuitive network that gives them the scale, intelligence, and security to power the world’s most dynamic business applications with ease.”

Connect Services Platform and Connect Edge will be launched during the first half of 2018 and subsequently rolled out to customers in 180 countries.