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Executing on Virtualization

With all the talk around virtualization in our industry, it’s easy to get a bit confused.  Between our industry’s love of acronyms and passionate evangelism of technological specs, it can be far too difficult at times to determine what’s really important, what is real, and what is just talk.  Our announcement of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform today is meant to address these very points.  It represents the progress we’ve made on our provider virtualization strategy and, unlike many others in the industry, orients the talk of virtualization around real business benefits and customer deployments.

The Evolved Services Platform represents a fundamental shift in the way service provider networks will be built.  It not only has the industry’s broadest, most comprehensive range of virtualized functions, but it also orchestrates them to create, automate and provision services in real time, across compute, storage and network functions across the entire architecture.  As the middle layer of the Cisco ONE SP architecture which works in conjunction with the infrastructure layer – the Evolved Programmable Network which we announced in September – the ESP ensures the right type of experience for subscribers regardless of how or where they connect to the network.  And it does this while also delivering both significant operational cost savings and the ability to more easily and quickly pursue new revenue generating opportunities.  In essence, the ESP does the equivalent for a service provider business as a retail storefront, factory, and tool kit would do for a manufacturer. It allows them to “manufacture” network experiences quickly, efficiently, and in a customized manner.

Those experiences can be many and span the entire provider’s existing services portfolio, plus an ever increasing array of new services that are now or will be possible in Internet of Everything.  But to help keep the business orientation of this announcement, we’re announcing the first two service modules, complete with business models that can help quantify the benefits to the providers that are interested in or already deploying them:

  • For Video, Cloud DVR — delivers agility to offer customers access to content from any device, anywhere, anytime while reducing operational expense for the provider. It’s currently deployed in a major North American video operator.
  • For Mobility, Virtualized Mobile Internetthis enables deliver new revenue generating opportunities including “sponsored data” where content providers and businesses can pay for the data delivery to targeted users.  This type of capability is now possible in an even broader use cases with the introduction of the Cisco Quantum Virtualized Packet Core (QvPC), which will be featured in the booth of China Mobile at Mobile World Congress 2014 next week.

Other leading service providers, including Deutsche Telecom, Sungard, and Telecom Italia, have commented on the alignment of Cisco’s effort here with their vision, and all told, more than 25 service providers around the globe have already started to deploy elements of the Cisco ESP.

Similarly, other technology companies are endorsing it as well, which is key since service providers require all technologies within their architecture to work together.  Openwave Mobility and Metaswitch are the first members of the broader ecosystem, commenting:

“We are delighted to work with Cisco and support our customers with an integrated and virtualized L2-L7 solution. We are committed to supporting our software products on Cisco’s virtualized platform. This collaboration will lead to new generation NFV architectures leading to service velocity and service elasticity for our customers going forward. We believe that Cisco’s vision of mobile network virtualization will lead to next generation networks and application innovations for our customers” said Indranil Chatterjee, VP of Products and Marketing, Openwave Mobility.

“Having worked with Cisco as trusted partner, we have been able to jointly prove that Cisco Systems has the ability to take a variety of virtual elements — like Metaswitch’s Perimeta SBC and Clearwater Core — and provide the key orchestration components coupled with Cisco Quantum™Policy Server, and deliver a complete solution to market. The vision and strategy of Cisco’s approach by providing a platform that is open, programmable, fully virtualized and orchestrated allows network operators to make the best choices for their networks and to bring in best-of-breed solutions. At Metaswitch Networks, we value this approach”, said Martin Taylor, Chief Technical Officer, Metaswitch Networks

With this type of extensive innovation, backed by customer and ecosystem proofpoint, and oriented in the business needs of the provider, the Cisco Evolved Services Platform stands apart.  But we’re only getting started.  There is much more to come, and we look forward sharing even more ways that the ESP and the overall SP ONE architecture can help enable service providers to thrive.

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1 Comments.


  1. Doug, this is all very interesting to me. By coincidence, today I was reading the summary from the recent OpenDaylight Summit 2014 event — in particular, about using OpenStack with OpenDaylight.

    In the Cisco announcement, it refers to these platforms as being extensible — meaning, they can become the basis for additional feature/function development. How does this work in practice? Are there a set of Open APIs that SPs can use for custom development — independent of Cisco?

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