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Virtualization Technology for the Real World, Today

A few years ago at Mobile World Congress (well more than a few, perhaps…), I was speaking with the CTO of a top tier Mobile Operator about a newly emerging technology called IMS.  It seemed that every vendor was promising how IMS was going to change the world.  This very wise CTO stated that he needs to see a tangible benefit or value from a new technology to be interested.  “I will only buy a new technology if you can show me how it can (a) do something I cannot do today, or (b) improve the way I am doing something today.  I will not buy technology for the sake of technology.”  This simple axiom is a great lens to look through as one views all new technologies – and that is certainly the case for the current industry discussion around Virtualization – or more accurately from Cisco’s perspective on the topic, Virtualization and Orchestration.

But instead of joining in with the multitudes talking about the wonders of the technology, arguing around technical specs or nomenclature, the lesson from the CTO instead guides me to talk about what it can do for the service provider business.

That’s why our announcement today of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform has a decidedly business bent.  Yes, it is a great innovation from Cisco that has been years in the making and addresses service provider needs by being open, extensible and elastic.  Residing between the application and Cisco Evolved Programmable Network layers of the architecture, the Cisco ESP enables providers to deliver the right type of experience for each customer need, regardless of how they are connected to the network.  We’ll talk more about this in upcoming posts, dive into how it works, and showcase how it is far more comprehensive than anything else in the market — but the key is that we are announcing specific ways that service providers can use it.  While there are many residential, business, and mobile solutions that can be created using it, we’re announcing the availability of the first two modules to our services catalog:

  • Video: Cisco Videoscape Cloud DVR Solution –cloud-driven video recording with capture and storage in the cloud instead of the end device. Consumers can restart shows, catch up on past programs, and play back digital video recorder-captured content from anywhere, on any screen. For the service provider, it enables new multi-screen offers.  It is currently deployed in a major North American video operator.
  • Mobility: Cisco Virtualized Mobile Internet New virtualized mobile services, such as sponsored data, where the content provider pays to deliver data to the user, provide new revenue opportunities for service providers. Such capabilities are now possible in an even broader use case with the introduction of the Cisco Quantum Virtualized Packet Core (QvPC), the Cisco Virtual Gi-LAN capabilities and the Cisco Quantum Services Bus. It is currently in trials at China Mobile among other providers around the globe.

With both of these, we have completed business modeling to help quantify levels of operational cost savings achievable and the amount of potential revenue uplift gained as well.  And both of them come with customer proofpoints as well.  In sum, more than 25 operators around the globe are already using elements of ESP today with many more to come.

Such business benefit and customer traction differentiates separates this announcement today from the increasing amount of noise in the industry that is feeding off the technical or nomenclature debates.  Instead unlike other offers in the industry which are limited in scope and adoption, this makes the Cisco Evolved Services Platform real world virtualization technology, today – something that I look forward to discussing further with you all in upcoming posts and announcements, and with a long-time CTO friend in Barcelona next week.

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