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Tata, the Cisco ASR 9000, and the Global Ethernet Evolution

Even if you’re a recent member of the SP360 blog audience, you likely know that our flagship edge router – the ASR 9000 – is on my list of favorite things (it makes a great gift idea for the Holidays, btw…), and we’re pleased to report that it is on the lists of many of our largest service provider customers, too.  The ASR 9000 has no question made a strong degree traction in the market place in the 18 months since it became generally available and in fact is clearly hitting its stride with a 40% QoQ increase in its customer base last quarter.  This traction is not just because of its unmatched capacity in the edge, or its unique capabilities in supporting the services and applications of the Next Generation of the Internet, but also because of its high degree of resiliency and quality – prompting many customers I speak to, to continue to rave about it.

In addition to all this traction, contributing to some nice market share gains for Cisco – an increase in 2.7% in edge share in CYQ3 alone per ACG Research – we’re just as pleased with what the ASR9000 can do to support our service provider customers.  To that end, we’re honored to announce the addition of Tata Communications to the list of prominent, reference customers.

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Foundation for Next-Generation Transport: The Cisco Carrier Packet Transport System

SONET and SDH, while well established and highly reliable technologies, were optimized for an era of TDM voice communications – before cloud computing, VoIP, cell phones, mobile tablets, Video CDNs and even the Internet increased network complexity and radically changed traffic patterns. This infrastructure has delivered reliable transport because it is easy to provision, troubleshoot, and provides a high level of resiliency. However, with the increase in IP traffic and changing traffic patterns, a new solution is required: one that provides the ‘trust’ of SONET/SDH with the ‘efficiency’ and ‘agility’ of packet.

Today Cisco is announcing our latest innovation, the Cisco Carrier Packet Transport (CPT) System. Our goal is to enable the transport network in a way that combines the reliability and simplicity of point-and-click provisioning of SONET/SDH along with the efficiency and flexibility of IP/MPLS. 

Service providers generate a lot of revenue from connection-oriented services like leased lines. However the growth of these services from a revenue perspective is slow. New services based on cloud, mobile, and video are IP based and have huge growth potential. Service providers need to address this growing traffic and need to do so profitably. They need to find ways to lower the cost of transport and simultaneously tap into new applications that increase the average revenue per user. The Cisco Carrier Packet Transport System helps them do exactly that!

Of course, new technology can be overwhelming. So, it’s important to deliver all the benefits of packet technology without sacrificing the trust of transport. With the Cisco CPT System, service providers can build a packet transport infrastructure with the same reliability and familiar operational models of SONET/SDH. Standards-based MPLS-TP allows for robust packet connection-oriented control. Cisco’s Premier Integrated Management Experience (PRIME) offers service providers an A-Z point-and-click network management system. Both wavelengths and MPLS-TP label switch paths are provisioned in an easy “point-and-click” fashion autonomously or from a single integrated domain. This integrated solution provides opex savings and eliminates the need for overhaul and extensive employee re-training.

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MPLS 2010 Conference and Cisco Leadership

Well I am just recovering from a fantastic IETF-79 held in Beijing, PRC from November 7-12. I have to say that  the MPLS Conference 2010, held in Washington D.C. from October 24-27 was a resounding success!

MPLS-TP was the hot topic at MPLS 2010 this year in Washington D.C. Cisco had a strong presence e.g. with seven Cisco distinguished engineer and technical lead presenters:

  • Monique Morrow, Distinguished Engineer
  • Luyuan Fang, Principal Engineer
  • George Swallow, Distinguished Engineer
  • Santiago Alvarez, Distinguished Engineer
  • Azhar Sayeed, Director of Product Marketing
  • Clarence Filsfils, Distinguished Engineer
  • Zafar Ali, Technical Leader

Cisco had presentations on MPLS-TP, multicast, mobility, optical and cloud. Following, is my presentation from the Technical Sessions on Day 1

At this conference there was no question that MPLS-TP is the industry standard!

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The Cut Stops Here: New Platforms for Growth

The service provider (SP) industry is at an inflection point. During the past couple of years, SPs have dealt with the economic downturn by focusing the majority of their attention on cutting costs – to the point where there’s very little left to cut. Despite continued economic uncertainty, there is a shift underway to revitalize revenue growth. SPs are eager to identify and execute on new sources of revenue growth – however, there is also clear recognition that revenue growth cannot come at the expense of profitability. Growth under such conditions means taking advantage of market transitions as they are happening, creating new platforms for growth.

One key opportunity for SPs lies in providing a more expansive set of services to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs)—particularly leveraging cloud-based capabilities. Based on our estimates, the SMB communications and IT infrastructure market collectively represents more than $120 billion in spend for 2010. SPs currently address 60 percent of this spend. By extending into cloud services, much of the remaining 40 percent becomes addressable.

Cisco IBSG Service Provider Director, Tine Christensen, addresses this opportunity in this video:

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The Broadband Consumer Dilemma

I’m writing this en route back to Austin, flying at over 500 miles per hour at an altitude of 35,000 feet. And I’m really frustrated that the in-flight internet isn’t working.

It is truly absurd.

Not that it’s not working but that I “expect” to maintain constant connectivity while being in a flying can more than 6 miles up in the sky.

But I do.

I’m not proud of it…and even wince a bit because I recall a comedian who in a skit made fun of reactions like this…of people like me. [Editor’s note:  here’s a video clip of Louis C.K.’s comedy clip that Doug references.]

The challenge for providers is that I believe there are a lot of people like me.  Our level of expectation is pretty outrageous and only getting higher.  In a stadium with 100,000 other smartphone carrying people, the air is filled with complaints about mobile connectivity, with the complainers not giving thought to the fact that they are in the midst of effectively 1/7th the population of my city packed into a single square block and seemingly all of them are tweeting, foursquaring, or facebooking about that last great play (which, for the Longhorns, was last year, btw).  Trying to download a video around 9pm – the start of the Internet’s prime time as we covered last week – we complain about how “slow” the internet is, not giving any thought to the fact that the rest of the neighborhood is downloading a high-def movie too, or playing Halo, or having a video call.

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