Medianets – where do you want your network to go today?
Last October, I presented a paper on Video-delivery networks at the MPLS 2008 conference. The audience reaction was quite positive and I enjoyed talking to a bunch of service providers, some other vendors and a few Enterprise customers on how they saw their networks and products evolving. Almost all of them saw video traffic as a major inflection point in their networks and were aligning their strategies to deal with it. Later, as we gathered for lunch, there was a healthy but spirited discussion mostly around video quality-of-experience, and which network architectures were best suited to deliver this. Why so much interest? Simple. Video will be the dominant application on networks. Service Providers envision business video as a good source of revenue and are preparing differentiated offerings, but also understand that their netwowk need to carry consumer video. Enterprise customers recognize the bandwidth and storage demands video will impose and are preparing for it. Vendors obviously are building products, and working on common and proprietary standards to best position themselves in their customer networks. Clearly, there is traction. (The Cisco Visual Network Index projects video to be 90% of network traffic by 2012). And it isn’t just one type of video or for a specific end application. It also isn’t just delivering video over IP -it really is about delivering rich media content anywhere, anytime and to any device with personalization and a high degree of reliability. So, the multi-billion dollar question -Is your Network Media ready?With video and rich-media applications becoming the dominant traffic in networks, last week, at C-scape, Cisco took the next step in this innovative evolution to announce “medianets“. This new class of technologies is designed to enable advanced communications, collaboration and entertainment experiences through video- and rich media-optimized service provider, business, and home networks.In one of my previous blogs, Zeus Kerravala, SVP, Yankee Group talks about cool ideas for the Cisco developer contest and makes a key point -the best ideas are where the network and application come together, with the application being able to tap the intelligence of the network, being able to address congestion issues etc. In other words, being “network-aware”. Medianets do all this, and more, by being media, endpoint and network-aware. They are largely based on open standards and created by adding new technologies and devices to converged IP architectures. Check out the Media Experience Engine. Human beings are inherently visual beings and it is only appropriate that the human network reflect this. As medianets evolve, this type of “magic” is going to become commonplace. Next stop – Space! As you can see, a few kinks are still being resolved :-)Meanwhile, have fun checking out some links on business video.