Microsoft has agreed to buy the UK’s Metaswitch Networks, a virtualised network software software specialist for an undisclosed sum, less than 10 weeks after pinching Affirmed Networks from under AWS’s nose, as the company continues its drive into the 5G/telco software sector.
Metaswitch, founded in 1981, is a network functions virtualisation (NFV) pioneer which provides networking software stacks to OEMs and system vendors globally. It says it has delivered stacks to “more than 1,000 communications service providers and network equipment providers.”
Its customers include Cisco, Datacom, Dell and Nokia.
The company offers a 5G core that it claims lets operators transcend the risk of running “highly-inefficient dual-core networks” as they pivot from 4G to 5G and also provides a networking software toolkit to OEMs.
The buyout comes as telcos continue to adopt virtualised platforms — many are held down by legacy tech stacks — as they shift from network functions running on specialist dedicated hardware, to one in which virtualisation has rendered physical functions as software – which can be run as VMs over general-purpose servers, including in the cloud.
Microsoft’s corporate VP for Azure networking Yousef Khalidi said the deal would help it “support hybrid and multi-cloud models to create a more diverse telecom ecosystem and spur faster innovation, an expanded set of unique offerings and greater opportunities for differentiation”.
He added: “We will continue to partner with existing suppliers, emerging innovators and network equipment partners to share roadmaps and explore expanded opportunities to work together, including in the areas of radio access networks (RAN), next-generation core, virtualized services, orchestration and operations support system/business support system (OSS/BSS) modernization.”
Metaswitch CEO Martin Lund said the buyout would leave it “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”.