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AT&T Buying Vyatta NFV Tech for Its Network Virtualization Project

Deal includes network OS, vRouter line of virtual routers, NFV talent and more.

In the midst of a huge network virtualization transformation project, an AT&T exec last year commented about the need to retool the company's workforce for the new software-centric networking world.

"We need experts in a variety of software specialties," AT&T's John Donovan said. "These include network function virtualization, software-defined networking, security, data analytics and the Internet of Things."

On the network functions virtualization (NFV) front, the company is picking up both some new talent and new tech by agreeing to buy the Vyatta network operating system and other associated assets -- including the vRouter product line -- from Brocade Communications Systems.

The deal, expected to close early this summer, will involve the hiring of "certain Brocade employees" associated with the NFV tech to help with AT&T's network transformation project, which also entails software-defined networking (SDN).

"The Vyatta platform will help AT&T continue to drive its network transformation," the company said in a statement last week. "We expect to virtualize and software-control 75 percent of our network by 2020. Our plan is to hit 55 percent by the end of 2017."

Company CTO Andre Fuetsch also weighed in on the deal and its effect on the network overhaul project.

"Our network transformation effort lets us add new features quicker than ever before at a much lower cost," Fuetsch said. "Being able to design and build the tools we need to enable that transformation is a win for us and for our customers."

According to company documentation, the Brocade Vyatta Network OS "was built from the ground up to deliver robust network functionality that can be deployed virtually or as an appliance, and in concert with solutions from a large ecosystem of vendors, to address various Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) use cases."

And the associated vRouter, which the company says provides 80 Gbps of virtual networking throughput, "has set a new benchmark for all software-based routers, while offering easy scalability, a broad set of capabilities, and the peace of mind that comes with rock solid reliability."

Along with helping with the network transformation project, AT&T said the Vyatta tech will expand the company's white-box platform capabilities and increase its ability to deliver virtual network functions (VNFs) via the cloud or on-premises implementations, such as its VeloCloud-based SD-WAN service.

AT&T has been active on providing NFV functionality to customers, having last year launched a Network Functions on Demand service and just last month announcing an expansion of that platform, renamed AT&T FlexWare.

The deal to buy Brocade's Vyatta tech will take place before the planned acquisition of Brocade by Broadcom Limited. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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