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CenturyLink Offers Details about NFV, SDN Work & Plan

October 20, 2015

News about what CenturyLink has been doing related to network functions virtualization and software-defined networking has been coming out in drips and drops over the past couple of years. On October 19, 2015, the company finally laid out its strategy, timeline, and vendors on this front.

The company said it is building an end-to-end network platform with network functions virtualization and software-defined networking capabilities. CenturyLink began leveraging automation and network virtualization back in 2013 when it partnered with five vendors to develop an open environment through common API structures.

The company explained that it plans to virtualize 40 percent of its global IP core network by the end of this year. CenturyLink is already leveraging NFV in 36 network and data center locations in seven countries, and it plans to expand that to 44 locations by the end of this year. By 2018 it should have its virtualization effort involving both its IP core network and data centers complete.

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CDN and firewalls used to deliver its Prism TV service have already been virtualized. The company also plans to virtualize an array of other infrastructure, including CPE and MPLS routers.

Arista Networks, Ciena, Ericsson, Nuage Networks, Red Hat, and Supermicro are among the vendors CenturyLink has tapped to help it with its NFV and SDN network transformation. The carrier in March noted it would be using the Ciena Blue Planet NFV Orchestrator in its Programmable Service Backbone. Blue Planet delivers orchestration capabilities for instantiating, managing, and chaining virtual network functions. It leverages RESTful APIs and model-driven templates (TOSCA, YANG) to simplify integration with different OSS, SDN, and virtual infrastructure manager platforms.

CenturyLink long ago also noted its use of Ericsson’s billing and operational support systems.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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