Juniper, NEC to Build NFV Offerings for Service Providers, Enterprises

The two vendors will combine Juniper's NFV and networking products with NEC's OpenStack-based cloud platform and NetCracker orchestration tools.

NFV partnership

Juniper Networks and NEC are combining resources to create network virtualization offerings aimed at service providers and enterprises.

The two companies will develop network-functions virtualization (NFV) solutions that bring together Juniper's networking equipment and its virtual network functions (VNFs)—including the vMX routing platform and vSRX virtual firewall—with NEC's Cloud System, an OpenStack-based cloud infrastructure. In addition, the offerings will include OSS/BSS (operations support system and business support system), service orchestration and system integration tools and consulting services from NetCracker, a NEC subsidiary.

The end result will be solutions that will help service providers and enterprises transition to virtualized networking infrastructures to help drive greater flexibility, agility and affordability.

"By harnessing the power of automation and orchestration through SDN [software-defined networking] and NFV, and by supporting customers as they navigate their OSS transformation journey, Juniper and NEC are well positioned to help customers capitalize on their IT and network investments," Vince Molinaro, executive vice president and chief customer at Juniper, said in a statement.

With the joint solutions, NEC will use Juniper's NFV hardware and software offerings within its virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE) and include NetCracker's technologies to give service providers and enterprises the tools to more easily deliver cloud-based services in almost real time. The offerings "will enable the introduction of innovative new services at higher speed and lower cost," Atsuo Kawamura, senior vice president at NEC, said in a statement.

The two vendors will show off an array of joint offerings at the Mobile World Congress 2016 show in Barcelona, Spain, from Feb. 22-25. The newest efforts are part of a partnership between Juniper and NEC that dates back to 2003.

The demonstrations will be part of a larger presence by Juniper at the show. The company will highlight its capabilities around mobile edge computing and NFV, as well as the Internet of things (IoT), network security and various alliances and partnerships with the likes of IBM and Saguna Networks.

The announcement of the expanded alliance with NEC Feb. 18 followed a similar partnership between Juniper and Affirmed Networks a day earlier. The two companies are combining products to help service providers more easily embrace virtualized mobile architectures. In addition, they're also working together to expand their reach into developing markets, including Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, officials said.

NEC over the past few years has worked to grow its SDN and NFV capabilities through both in-house developments and partnerships. According to company officials, NEC has more than 40 partners globally, including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Red Hat. In addition, the company last year launched SDN-enabled switches for telcos and other service providers.

Service providers will be getting a lot of attention during the Mobile World Congress show as IT vendors look for ways to help them deal with the rapid rise in the number of mobile devices being used worldwide; the rise of the IoT; an increase in the use of video, and growing competition from startups and over-the-top (OTT) companies.

Carriers and telecommunications companies are under increasing pressure to more quickly and affordably spin out services to customers, which will require network infrastructures that are more programmable and flexible. Network virtualization technologies like SDN and NFV are designed to help service providers and enterprises to create such environments.