Carrier NFV Infrastructure NEWS

Metaswitch Intros Cloud Service, Prepackaged VNFs, Much More

By Paula Bernier May 18, 2016

Metaswitch Networks yesterday unleashed a flurry of announcements, including a much-anticipated cloud-based telephony service, some pre-packaged virtualized network functions, and more. It also talked about its plans to introduce a VNF Manager to sit between orchestrators and VNFs.

I spoke to Steve Gleave, Metaswitch Networks senior vice president of marketing, about all of this and more in an interview Tuesday at Metaswitch Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz. He indicated that the cloud-based telephony offering, called MetaSphere Cloud Service, is probably the most significant announcement of the seven the company made yesterday.

“Everybody’s been saying for a while ‘Come on, Metaswitch, what’s your cloud offering?” said Gleave. MetaSphere Cloud Service, he added, is the answer – or at least phase one of it.

He described the offering as being in prelaunch, explaining that MetaSphere Cloud Service is a cloud-based service targeted at tier 2 and 3 communications service providers that already use the company’s telephony switching solutions but want to curtail their investment in gear and instead leverage cloud services. The Metaswitch service, he added, puts call signaling and switching in the cloud so customers can a have geographically redundant mate to something they already own, to enable customers that want to cap their switch investments to do so by putting new users on cloud-based infrastructure, or to help some Metaswitch customers move their telephony businesses entirely to the cloud.

Cloud services are really interesting, Gleave noted, because of the return on investment they afford and their ability to enable service providers to more quickly introduce new features. Metaswitch has a lot of customers that are two to three releases behind what’s available because of the testing and other work that new releases entail, he said, adding that’s not an issue with cloud services like MetaSphere, which are always up to date.

Speaking of telephony, Metaswitch this week also took the wraps off its Metaswitch Robocall Blocking Service, which will be available in 90 days. This offering is based on technology from a Metaswitch partner that collects information from operators across the U.S. to see if numbers are likely to robocalls. It blocks those that are.

Accession Meeting 2.0 was also among Metaswitch’s unveilings yesterday. Accession Meeting is a video collaboration solution that enables users to schedule video meetings with screensharing and document sharing. Release 2.0 now supports more users, has a webinar feature, and supports huddle groups.

Security was also a component of yesterday’s raft of news. Specifically, the company introduced Insights - System Security Review. Basically, this is a service through which Metaswitch comes in to a service provider to assess the security of its communications infrastructure and offers guidance on how to improve it. This service was developed in response to the fact that some operators have had various user accounts hacked, Gleave said.

Metaswitch has already been offering, and continues to provide, a call pattern monitoring offering. But Gleave said that solution is more reactionary, whereas this new service allows its service provider customers to be more proactive in ensuring security.

In addition to the cloud and security, network functions virtualization and virtualized network functions are an important area of focus for Metaswitch. While this is a hot trend in the industry and some CSPs have been pioneers on the virtualization front, Gleave said getting virtual network functions up and running may be a bit of a challenge for some CSPs, particularly tier 2 and 3 companies. For those customers, Metaswitch is offering prepackaged VNFs via a new NFV starter kit it calls vNOW. These solutions leverage standard Dell platforms, VMware virtualization components, and Metaswitch VNFs.

Also new from Metaswitch as of this week is MetaView Analytics. That includes analytics around trunk usage, how calls are being routed, and network load. It also addresses behavioral analytics, which has to do with how people are using services and when, so CSPs can more effectively package, segment, and market their offerings.

MarketVisions Complete was also introduced yesterday at Metaswitch Forum. MarketVisions is a support service that Metaswitch rolled out a whole back. It helps Metaswitch customers analyze their target markets, so they can more effectively package, sell, and market their solutions. MarketVisions Complete is a new engineering service that helps service providers ensure their networks are ready to support the services they want to launch.

“It’s a consulting service on steroids,” said Gleave, adding that Metaswitch will make sure CSP networks are ready for the task of new service delivery and that they can support them in a way that is profitable.

Metaswitch also this week discussed plans to introduce a VNF Manager. Gleave said that while some might argue it’s not necessary to use this kind of thing, it can be very helpful in chaining and instantiating services and can be used in failure scenarios to allow users to manage redundancy patterns.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Executive Editor, TMC

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