Microsoft has signed a deal to acquire virtualised network software and voice, data and communications solutions provider Metaswitch Networks, a move aimed at taking the tech giant a step closer to realising its Azure 5G ambitions.
Based in the UK, Metaswitch has made a name for itself developing critical networking software, products and solutions worldwide to more than 1000 communications service providers and network equipment providers.
According to Microsoft Azure Networking corporate vice president Yousef Khalidi, the new acquisition deal builds upon the company’s move earlier this year to acquire US start-up Affirmed Networks, which provides fully virtualised, cloud-native networking solutions for telecom operators.
That deal was aimed at allowing Microsoft to integrate Affirmed Networks’ technology into Azure and, in theory, let telecommunications carriers manage 5G networks on its cloud instead of traditional hardware.
Likewise, Khalidi claims that Metaswitch’s portfolio of ultra-high-performance, cloud-native communications software will expand its range of offerings available for the telecommunications industry.
Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of both Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks, extending the Azure platform to both deploy and grow these capabilities at scale in a way that it claims is secure, efficient and creates a sustainable ecosystem.
“The convergence of cloud and communication networks presents a unique opportunity for Microsoft to serve operators globally via continued investment in Azure, adding additional depth to our hyperscale cloud infrastructure with the specialised software required to run virtualised communication functions, applications and networks,” Khalidi said in a blog post.
“As the industry moves to 5G, operators will have opportunities to advance the virtualisation of their core networks and move forward on a path to an increasingly cloud-native future.
“Microsoft will continue to meet customers where they are, working together with the industry as operators and network equipment providers evolve their own operations,” he added.
For Metaswitch CEO Martin Lund, the agreement represents an opportunity for the company to build upon its decades-long heritage and step up its activity in the global market.
“I am more excited than ever to continue our journey with the added momentum, technology, services, and people that Microsoft can bring,” Lund said. “We will continue to meet customers where they are, working together as communication service providers evolve their own operations.
“And we’ll be ideally placed to aid those operators keen to transition to cloud native deployments, to 5G networks and to the era of compelling applications that are served from the core and edge of new network architectures. I look forward to working with all our existing customers and new prospects alike, as we embark on the next leg of our mutual growth and evolution,” he added.