AT&T further expanded its available enterprise services based on its software-defined network and integrated cloud with the release on Monday of AT&T FlexWare, featuring a new name and a new device.
Previously dubbed AT&T Network Functions on Demand, AT&T FlexWare is available to customers worldwide via the AT&T Network on Demand platform, according to the service provider.
"We think [Flexware is] a better description for what we offer. 'Flex' for a flexible platform, the customer controls it, and 'Ware' for software because it is a software-centric service. It is part of the Network on Demand suite of services, but we thought this was a better descriptor for what it is, it is a very flexible, software-centric platform," says Roman Pacewicz, senior vice president of Offer Management and Service Integration at AT&T Business Solutions, in an interview with Light Reading.
Enterprises can set up numerous virtual network functions (VNFs) on one FlexWare device, then deploy them in various nations and manage them using an online portal. This do-it-yourself, flexible approach meets enterprises' demand for autonomy, control and agility, Pacewicz says.
"The announcement is much more than that. As we mentioned in July, this is one of the first services we have rolled out globally at the same time as the US, and with the software-centric platform, we can cover the globe more quickly, more effectively and more efficiently," says Pacewicz. "So now we are ready to expand, and have expanded to over 150 countries and territories, so that is one of the main reasons for the announcement."
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is growing its FlexWare ecosystem, looking to entice businesses to choose from an increasingly alluring ecosystem of mix-and-match devices and applications that meet international corporate needs and simplify technology refresh rates, it says. Furthering that goal, the service provider unveiled a small device that runs up to two VNF applications to complement its large form factor that runs up to four VNFs. Customers receive the device directly from an unnamed vendor, connect it and enter a code, after which software automatically downloads and configures, says Pacewicz.
"This allows us to serve smaller locations more cost effectively," he tells Light Reading. "Say it's a small site and they need routing and firewall and that's it, or router and [WAN optimization]. We can give that to them in a smaller form factor so it is lower cost but still get FlexWare product which gives you more options."
In addition, AT&T added Palo Alto Networks Inc. security platform to its VNF catalog.
— Alison Diana, Editor, The New IP Agency. Follow her on Twitter @alisoncdiana or @The_New_IP.