Orange and Equinix announced today a collaboration to expand the Orange Telco Cloud footprint, using Equinix’s Bare Metal as a Service capability—Equinix Metal®—to speed the deployment of Orange’s New Generation International Network.
This new business model enables Orange to provide business and wholesale customers with powerful on-demand Telco Cloud Points of Presence (PoPs), delivering essential services such as SD-WAN, CDN, 5G roaming and voice services, with an expected latency below ~10 milliseconds.
Three locations will be deployed by the end of this year: Amsterdam, Madrid and Seattle.
The advancement of network-based services, largely driven by evolving customer requirements around speed of deployment and flexibility, is compelling network providers to deploy a new class of connectivity and infrastructure platform. Indeed, the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey found 72% of companies surveyed around the world are planning to expand in the next 12 months, despite economic concerns and supply chain challenges—and they’re relying on digital strategies to achieve that.
By integrating with Equinix’s automated dedicated Bare Metal (see image below) as a Service located in proximity to its existing networks at Equinix, Orange can quickly meet customer demand for growth, deploying in weeks from inception (instead of months).
Equinix Metal infrastructure (Image source: Equinix)
Leveraging Equinix Metal, Orange accelerates its next-generation services without the up-front CAPEX or complexities of global supply chains, while retaining full choice and control over IT infrastructure and digital transformation projects. This approach to cleaner energy consumption was also determinant for Orange to choose to partner with Equinix, in line with its 2040 carbon neutral objective, on top of its strategy to avoid energy consumption where there is no customer demand.
“We are delighted to partner with Equinix to deploy Orange Telco Cloud PoPs technology on top of Equinix Metal,” explained Jean-Luc Vuillemin, Executive Vice President, International Networks at Orange. “By embracing an ‘as a service’ infrastructure model and focusing investment in our SDN and VNF capabilities, Orange can provide a fully flexible and elastic solution to customers, speed up the deployment of our planned 100 Telco Cloud PoPs, and quickly adapt capacity to meet demand. This confirms Orange’s position as a trusted infrastructure partner, optimizing application performance with secured and consistent connectivity, regardless of end user location, and supporting cloud management and transformation.”
Through its Telco Cloud Platform, Orange uniquely provides customers with end-to-end optimized levels of performance, security and flexibility. Powered by industry-leading innovation in virtualized network functions and software-defined networks (SDN), Orange already has 40 SDN PoPs around the world and is targeted to reach 100+ “Telco Cloud PoPs” by 2024 as part of its eNGINe (New Generation International Network) transformation program. Each Telco Cloud PoP can host virtualized network service functions such as voice, 5G, CDN, SD-WAN or Security Services, as well as connect customers to key content and cloud service providers. With its Telco Cloud PoP architecture, Orange’s customers can access and manage applications in the cloud with reliable, fast connectivity, and choose from an expanded portfolio with on-demand and adapted services.
“We have a rich 20-year history of collaboration with Orange and are pleased to see them accelerate innovation for their customers by becoming the first provider to combine their extensive global network footprint at Equinix with the new possibilities provided by our investments in automated digital infrastructure capabilities. We’re excited to see them expand this offering into additional markets in 2023,” said Zachary Smith, Global Head of Edge Infrastructure Services at Equinix.
Iiro Stubin, principal product manager for Equinix Metal, told Light Reading that Equinix Metal provides pre-installed storage at Equinix locations that is ready for customers to access when additional network capacity is required. Equinix Metal also integrates with a library of application programming interfaces (APIs) for “an element of automation,” said Stubin. “That’s kind of been in the heart of our service portfolio to build more data center locations into different regions, where our telco customers can then expand and we’ve been working with Orange very closely to let them expand their PoPs globally with us,” Stubin added.
Orange EVP Jean-Louis Le Roux told Light Reading that about 20 of the operator’s existing 40 Telco Cloud points of presence (PoPs) are deployed in collaboration with Equinix but utilize Orange’s hardware. Le Roux said the three new PoPs will rely on Equinix hardware instead of deploying Orange’s own compute and storage hardware. “We keep control because on top of this hardware, we deploy our own SDN [software defined network] stack. So we keep control over our digital transformation. This elasticity is really useful for us; we can easily add or remove a compute server or storage server, really following the customer activity.”
Le Roux added that a “pay-as-you-grow” model provides Orange with the ability to deploy storage for its customers without upfront capital expenses or the worry of navigating a troublesome supply chain.
Orange said the partnership with Equinix will provide the network operator with the ability to “meet customer demand for growth” in weeks versus months.
Courtney Munroe, Vice President for Telecommunications Research at IDC commented:
“This partnership between Orange and Equinix is a smart move enabling Orange to enhance its existing platform and its ability to facilitate reliable, agile digital capabilities for its customers—all while being able to more quickly meet customer demand by using Equinix Metal. IDC research shows that enterprises look to Telcos and digital infrastructure providers as key partners for hybrid IT infrastructure and cloud networking requirements. Furthermore, the enhanced Telco Cloud Platform will improve Orange’s operational efficiency, and flexibility, and most importantly will allow it to offer enhanced low latency performance and on-demand requirements for enterprises around the world.”
Since its founding in 1998, Equinix has helped the world’s networks connect and deploy services for their customers. Today, digital leaders like Orange are looking to move even faster. This has fueled Equinix’s strategy to help unlock value from their existing network presence in its data centers, with an as a Service model that delivers choice and control of dedicated infrastructure, powered by clean and renewable energy.
Equinix Metal® provides developer-friendly physical compute, storage and networking infrastructure services to help digital leaders move faster and more easily access Equinix’s unique ecosystem of thousands of enterprises, clouds, services and networks.
Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42.5 billion Euros in 2021 and 137,000 employees worldwide at 30 June 2022, including 76,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 282 million customers worldwide at 30 June 2022, including 236 million mobile customers and 24 million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.