Virtualizing Managed Services
Although most service providers have turned their attention towards services for the consumer, Managed Services for both Commercial and Enterprise business customers will continue to be a major growth opportunity for the service provider community. This opportunity will drive the vendors of commercial and enterprise products to look to the SP channel to scale the sales of their products, but will also require them to accommodate the operational needs of the service providers. These basic needs include zero/low touch deployment capabilities and common interfaces using standard protocols to monitor and troubleshoot HW and SW once it’s deployed. Over the next several years, in order to greatly decrease the operational burden of managed services, there will also be a push to virtualize them. This will also allow service providers to easily add incremental capacity in order to meet increasing customer demand. It will also allow for much higher availability as services lost in one environment can quickly be reestablished by seamlessly moving the customers to another network resource that has the capacity to support them.This layer of complexity in the service provider network will require an even greater focus on software as virtualized services are delivered on common hardware running LINUX and are interconnected via a “services bus.” The creation and management of this services bus across networks with global diameters will be a huge challenge to traditional service providers who are comfortable with the paradigm of one interface/piece of hardware per customer. This is why the service provider vendor community must focus on building a common, scalable framework for rapid service enablement within the network infrastructure. This framework must not only provide services that blindly ride the bandwidth provided by the network, but must also take advantage of unique network capabilities such as application awareness and optimization in order to ensure the services delivered by the service provider are of extremely high quality. The layering of these types of services – application awareness on top of VPNs, for example – will greatly reduce end user churn and increase the average revenue per user (ARPU).