Cisco Unveils Virtualized Service Core, First Deliverable from Ericsson Relationship

By Paula Bernier February 22, 2016

Cisco Systems this week at Mobile World Congress is unveiling a virtualized solution called the Cisco Ultra Services Platform and naming some customers that are using it. The company also will be providing an update on its partnership with Ericsson, with which it is developing a new product leveraging Cisco technology.

The Cisco Ultra Services Platform is a fully virtualized service core including mobile gateway, policy and services functionality. It was designed to allow mobile service providers to more easily reach their goals related to network functions virtualization, David Yates, director of marketing for service provider mobility at Cisco Systems, explained to me in an interview last week. Yates said that to date NFV technology has been implemented in silos due to its immaturity and because management in virtualized environments has been complex. Cisco Ultra Services Platform, he said, addresses that, taking the functions most relevant to virtual and mobile environments, and adding to that service chaining, management, and orchestration.

Cisco Ultra Services Platform, added Yates, applies NFV and SDN to push the service plane out to the edge of the network wherever functions are necessary. All service creation capability is at management and control plane at the center of the network, he said, so you create things just once, and you can get to market with new services a lot more quickly. Ultra also simplifies NFV implementations because it enables network operators to create templates for their services so when they need make a change they can just edit those templates, press a button to deploy a new part of the network, and use service assurance tools to make sure everything is up and running as expected.

The platform is also extensible, he said, so service providers can add functionality from Cisco or third parties to it as needed. Cisco will come out with an SDK for it in the second half of this year. And they can run Ultra services on Cisco infrastructure or other vendors’ NFVi’s, Yates said.

DT of Germany and SK Telecom of Korea are the first named users of the platform. A North American service provider is also using it to build new mobile enterprise networks, and a French operator is leveraging it to enable customer self provisioning.

As for Cisco’s news with Ericsson, Yates said the companies are working jointly with about 200 customers and will soon announce a handful of those customers. Cisco and Ericsson, which announced their partnership in November, also worked together to create a new Ericsson product called the Dynamic Service Manager.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Executive Editor, TMC

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