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Cisco Continues Market Share Leadership in Mobility – First in Mobile IP Infrastructure, Packet Core, Mobile Backhaul, and Mobile IP Core

Over the summer, we shared with you the results of an ACG Report showing Cisco as the market share leader in Mobility.

Then and today the usage of mobile devices has been on the rise. Unequivocally.

The average smartphone user is accessing 26.8 apps every month for about 30.25 hours, an increase of 65 percent from two years ago. On their first weekend of offering the iPhone 6, Apple sold more than 10 Million units. Global smartphone market is forecasted to rise by around 20% to 1.2 billion units during 2014.

ACG Research came out with a new report recently the highlights of which I want to share with you. In this report Ray Mota notes that the Worldwide Mobile IP Infrastructure Market continues to rebound in Q2, 2014. It actually grew in Q2, increasing to $1.25 billion, a 9.6 percent quarter over quarter. Evolved Packet Core (MME, PGW, SGW, and PCRF) also grew this quarter to $123 million, a 7.2 per cent quarter over quarter.

ACG Research maintains its views that online video continues to fuel mobile data traffic and the industry expects a tenfold increase in five years.  Mobile spending continues and is increasing globally as carriers in developed countries vie for top billing for fastest carrier, fueling LTE spending. 3G remains strong and continues to grow as developing economies upgrade and invest in this technology. Mobile infrastructure will continue to be a highly dynamic market for the next several years as vendors and carriers work through new technologies.

Cisco maintains its position of market share leader. The Read More »

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Optimize Your Software-Defined Network by Hardware Requirements

Software-based techniques are transforming networking. Commercial off-the-shelf hardware is finding a place in several networking use cases. However, high-performance hardware is also an important part of a successful software-defined networking (SDN). As you optimize your networks using SDN tools and complementary technologies such as network function virtualization (NFV), an important step is to strategically assess your hardware needs based on the functions and performance requirements. These need to be aligned with your intended business outcome for individual applications and services.

Two Categories of High Performance Hardware

  • Network hardware that utilizes purpose-built designs. These often involve specialized Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC)s to achieve significantly higher performance than what is possible or economically feasible using commercial off-the-shelf servers that are based on state of the art, x86-based, general purpose processors.
  • Network hardware that uses standard x86 servers that is enhanced to provide high performance and predictable operation for example, via special software techniques that bypass hypervisors, virtualization environments, and operating systems.

Where to Deploy Network Functions
Can virtualized network functions be deployed like cloud-based applications? No. There is a big difference between deploying network functions as software modules on x86 general purpose servers and using a common cloud computing model to implement network virtualization. Simply migrating existing network functions to general purpose servers without due regard to all the network requirements leads to dramatically uneven and unpredictable performance. This unpredictability is mainly due to data plane workloads being often I/O bound and/or memory bound and software layers containing important configuration details that may impact performance.
These issues are not specifically about hardware but how the software handles the whole environment. Operating systems, hypervisors, and other infrastructure that is not integrated into best practices for data plane applications will continue to contribute to unpredictable performance.

Bandwidth and CPU Needs

Optimization 10.20

A good way to begin to assess hardware requirements is to examine network functions in two dimensions: I/O bandwidth or throughput needs, and computational power needs. In considering which network function to virtualize and where to virtualize it, CPU load required and bandwidth load required throughout different layers of the network can help determine that some but not all network functions are suitable for virtualization.

Applications with lower I/O bandwidth and low-to-high CPU requirements may be most appropriate for virtualized deployment on optimized x86 servers. Applications with higher I/O bandwidth and low-to-high CPU requirements may be best deployed on specialized high-performance hardware with specialized silicon. Many other factors may play a role in determining what hardware to use for which applications, including cost, user experience, latency, networking performance, network predictability, and architectural preferences.
Service-Network Abstraction is Key
Additionally, you might not need high performance hardware for certain functions initially. But as such a particular function scales, it might require a high performance platform to meet its performance specifications, or it might be more economical on a purpose-built platform. So you might start out with commercial off-the-shelf hardware and then transfer the workload to the high performance hardware later. If you have focused on establishing a clean abstraction of the services from the underlying hardware infrastructure using SDN principles, the network deployment can be more easily changed or evolved independently of the upper services and applications. This is the true promise of SDN.
Read more about how to assess hardware performance requirements in your SDN in the Cisco® white paper “High-Performance Hardware: Enhance Its Use in Software-Defined Networking.” You can find it here: “Do You Know your Hardware Needs?” along with other useful information.

Do you have questions or comments? Tweet us at @CiscoSP360

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What’s in the Cisco Evolved Services Platform’s Orchestration Engine?

We created the Evolved Services Platform (ESP) to help our customers increase service revenue while driving down costs. In doing so, we needed to make it expansive to include the breadth of technologies and solutions that would apply to many domains (such as access, Wide Area Network (WAN), and data center) and technologies (such as cloud, security, and video).

And we addressed the fact that a virtualized network function (VNF) is only as good as the automation of orchestration capabilities that are used spin it up and expand it to fit the required job. Given all the VNFs (greater than 40, just counting our own) that we could conceivably be orchestrating, we had to ensure that the Cisco ESP was sufficiently broad and inclusive of multivendor technologies.

The following diagram shows the big picture—the applications and network services made possible by an open, elastic, and application-centric architecture. Read More »

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A Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA) Use Case in How to Manage Threat Defense

This is part 4 of the “Your Business Powered By Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA)” blog series.

Enabling & Delivering Cloud-based Security Services -- Managed Threat Defense

Many enterprises (30%) have been leveraging cloud services cautiously or only in an internal (private) cloud manner. The reasons for this vary but these are the most common:

  • IT applications (~80%) are not cloud enabled i.e. traditional client server apps or non-x86 apps
  • Perceived security and performance concerns
  • Perceived lack of control and loss of IT governance and policy

While these reasons are valid, the evolution of cloud services and the ability to transform traditional IT services, governance, and policy controls mean this Cisco CSA can now address these reasons.

This use case example focuses on Security because it is a major consideration for most customers.  The market growth for security is driven by increased demand for security applications such as network security and “confidentiality” of services.  Security services are seen as an emerging market and are expected to grow to $40B by 2017.  Managed Threat Defense is projected to be $3.7B of that $40B. Read More »

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Cisco Succeeded in Network Functions Virtualization System Trial

I’ve had the opportunity this year to meet with mobile operator leaders from around the globe. Whether they are large or small, focused on consumer services or businesses, or engaged in video or mobility, their ambitions are much in line with our strategy: to help them monetize and optimize their networks, while accelerating their ability to deliver their services.

As mobile operators are deploying new technologies to help achieve their business outcomes, “virtualization” is often touted as the answer, and, in part, that is correct. At Cisco, we believe it is important to frame the discussion properly in order to reap the full benefits of what’s possible in networking.

The network is increasingly becoming virtualized, and virtualization is increasingly becoming networked. Virtualizing applications is an initial step that can provide some advantages. However, Read More »

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