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KJ Rossavik
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Enterprise branch offices today have a device per function - router, firewall, wan acceleration, etc. To add another function, add another device. This is expensive to buy, and expensive to operate. It may require several truck rolls, as devices are added to provide new functions, and as devices reach end of life, and need to be replaced. This also impedes managed services providers. This can be made a lot simpler and cheaper by virtualising the branch. This reduces the number of physical devices to ship, install, operate, and maintain to one (plus redundancy)

However, virtualising the branch introduces different complexity. You still need to ship the CPE that will host your virtual network functions, and provide management/monitoring for this device. You want to avoid even that initial truck roll, so ideally the CPE is deployed with Plug-and-Play. Then you need to spin up the virtual network functions (VNF) for your router, firewall, wan acceleration, etc. Each VNF needs to be given a startup (day-0) configuration, with certain site-specific parameters, and licenses need to be applied. The VNFs need to be connected together in the correct topology, in a so-called service chain.

This calls for automation. The Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO) with the vBranch Core Function Pack (CFP) bundle provides the functionality to

  • automatically deploy ENFV CPE devices with Plug-and-Play
  • define the VNFs and service chains for each CPE device
  • provide day-0 configuration and licenses for each VNF
  • support Cisco as well as 3rd party VNFs

Then, optionally, you can also use NSO for service lifecycle management, managing any additional configuration. This has the benefit of making sure that in the case of VNF recovery, that the VNF comes back up not only with the day-0 configuration, but also recovers any additional service configuration.

NSO with vBranch CFP is available as part of Cisco Virtual Managed Services (VMS) for Managed Services Providers. This provides a complete management solution. NSO and vBranch CFP are also available by themselves for more customised deployments.

For more information about the Cisco Enterprise VNF solution, see

If you are interested in Cisco ENFV and the NSO vBranch CFP or VMS vBranch, please contact your account team, who will involve the experts in these areas.

(reposted as blog, previously posted as discussion)

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