Virtual Customer Premises Equipment
Virtual Customer Premises Equipment, or vCPE, is the epitome of network function virtualization. Enterprises are implementing this form of customer premises equipment because it brings many benefits, such as faster deployments, optimized resource allocation, and unlimited flexibility. Service providers are especially keen to using vCPE to simplify service delivery and dramatically improve customer experiences.
Regardless of what industry you’re in, you can use this virtualization approach to streamline your enterprise networking.
What is Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?
Virtual customer premises equipment makes use of virtualization to deliver network services. This approach essentially uses a virtual environment that consists of software-based functions. These functions can include routing, security/firewalls, VPNs, and much more.
How is Virtual Customer Premises Equipment different?
Networking typically involves deploying stacks of purpose-built devices at each location. These appliances must be configured, provisioned, and maintained by specialized staff, who are usually required to be on site to perform these tasks. This can become expensive — not just to purchase devices (and perpetually replace them every few years), but also to provide support and maintenance. And because branch offices usually have limited physical space, large stacks of equipment can be obtrusive and take up significant real estate.
vCPE vaporizes these large stacks, and instead puts the different network functions into a cloud-based model. These functions are hosted at a separate site or data center. Instead of using many dedicated appliances, branch locations need only one or two devices to run software that can deliver these functions to the site.
Why use Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?
Virtual customer premises equipment helps you gain more business agility. If you look at it from a hardware consolidation standpoint alone, it’s plain to see how much more easily you can deploy and manage your distributed networks.
- Deploy faster & save money — Fewer pieces of hardware means you no longer need to haul many devices to each location. Once you have your virtualized functions set up at your service delivery site/data center, you can bring branch sites online using a single box. If you also use automation via zero touch provisioning, all you have to do is install & boot each device and watch your network build itself. You can deploy in minutes, while saving on device, shipping, and support costs.
- Use exactly what you need — Purpose-built hardware can be difficult to optimize — usually, they are over-utilized and cause problems, or under-utilized and lead to wasted resources. Because vCPE allows you to set up a custom & dynamic environment, you can easily optimize resource allocation to eliminate problems and waste, so your network uses exactly what it needs.
- Get endless flexibility — Software-based solutions are much simpler to deploy, manage, and replace than physical hardware. This gives you the ability to remain flexible as requirements change, especially if you choose a vendor-neutral vCPE platform. Imagine how simple it is to spin up a VM and run a new application, as opposed to purchasing, deploying, and provisioning a new dedicated device to go in each location.
You can get an all-in-one vCPE solution
ZPE Systems and Palo Alto Networks have partnered to bring you an all-in-one joint solution.
Using the Nodegrid Services Router (NSR), you can directly host Palo Alto’s VM-Series next-gen virtual firewalls. These powerful tools allow you to secure all traffic, including out-of-band paths, using a single solution. This makes it easy to deploy sites without hassle and get peace of mind knowing your networks are completely protected.
Here’s a brief video showing how easy it is to deploy your vCPE solution:
On top of this, the NSR allows you to host virtualized network functions (VNFs) from other vendors of your choice. The NSR is also an x86 Intel-powered device that features modular add-ons for compute and storage capabilities. You can deploy powerful vCPE implementations at branch sites, using a single box for routing, switching, computing, security, and other critical functions.