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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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Cisco SPotlight Series – Connected Devices in the Connected Home

chowj-300x4001By Joe Chow, VP & GM, Connected Devices Business Unit, Cisco

Our home entertainment centers are rapidly changing. For decades, the television has been the center of American living room, but with the advent of cable, video games, streaming services and the cloud, our definitions of TV and set-top boxes have evolved. These days, a cellphone can be remote control and a remote control can be a security system. Consumers can watch movies on-demand or access second-screen content with their tablets or they can check their Facebook over their TV sets. Meanwhile society demands are expanding to include environmental concerns as well greater efficiencies.

To address many of the questions of the changing market, Cisco is launching a new video SPotlight series. Through the course of several videos, key Cisco executives will answer questions and provide commentary on many of the hottest topics in television and video.

In the inaugural video, Read More »

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IWAN Wed: Faster Service Delivery with NFV

As part of our IWAN series I wanted to take a closer look into what trends are impacting the Service Providers. My previous blog talked about how Enterprises can use the CSR 1000V  to migrate to the Cloud. This week I wanted to talk about how Service Providers are using the CSR to deliver services to their customers.

Historically Service Providers deliver services like routing, firewall and VPN to customers by installing multiple hardware products at the customer site. At the customer site the location where the customer and Service Providers network meet is referred to as the customer premise equipment or CPE. The hardware installed at the CPE is often specialized for different network functions, and the architecture and associated management systems are designed by the Service Provider. This approach provides reliable network services to business customers however it can become complex as more network services are added and it is not very flexible when it comes to adding new services. As a result when businesses demand more services or capacity, Service Providers can be slow to respond and will ultimately see an increased time-to-revenue.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) aims to overcome these challenges by allowing network services to be moved, or instantiated, in various locations in the Service Provider network on demand and without the need for the installation of specialized hardware equipment.  For NFV to work it requires industry vendors like Cisco to virtualize network functions like routers just like we did with the CSR 1000V. We took our IOS XE operating system from the Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 1000 which was already tried and tested in Service Providers networks and turned it into a virtual form factor that can be run on any off-the-shelf x86 server. Cisco has many more products that are in virtualized form factors and the list includes but is not limited to:

•    Virtual Wide Area Application Services (vWAAS)
•    Virtual Wireless LAN Controller (vWLC)
•    Virtual Mobility Service Engine (vMSE)
•    Virtual Security Gateway (VSG)
•    Virtual Network Analysis Module (VNAM)
•    Virtual Identity Services Engine (vISE)
•    Virtual Adaptive Security Appliance (vASA)
•    Nexus 1000v vSwitch (N1Kv)

The primary benefit of NFV is the ability to use the same data center equipment and management tools that Service Providers currently use for their internal networks to host and manage network functions for their customers. The new vCPE has a reduced hardware footprint, simplified infrastructure and requires less customization. Core network functionality shifts to the Service Provider network where the  pooling of resources increases flexibility allowing them to deploy services faster and scale them according to customer demand.

The benefits to of NFV are significant, however the transition will take some time due to the complexity and size of Service Provider networks. Look out for more blog posts around NFV and the vCPE as I explore in more detail the challenges of moving to this new architecture. In the mean time I encourage you to download a new CSR case study about MiroNet AG, a Swiss Cloud and Infrastructure provider that is using the CSR to deliver new differentiated services to its existing customers while simultaneously attracting new customers.

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What’s New With Cisco, CPE, & RDK, You Ask?

chowj

By Joe Chow, VP/GM, Cisco Connected Devices BU

Part of the tech-buzz at this week’s Cable Show, in Washington, will be about customer premises equipment – set-tops, cable modems, gateways.

Of the CPE buzz, half of it will be about “RDK,” and the other half about how to divvy up what functions live in the house (via the CPE), vs. in the cloud.

That’s our prediction, anyway.

Let’s start with RDK buzz. It stands for Reference Design Kit, and is an industry effort to a) build new cable-specific hardware faster, and b) get new services and apps to the market faster, on that hardware. It was spearheaded last year by Comcast, and is expected to widen to other service providers.

At the Cable Show, we’ll be showcasing Read More »

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How Cisco is Implementing an IP Phone Refresh Program

IP telephony has been deployed for over 12 years now within Cisco.  We are constantly in an ongoing process to refresh our older phones with next generation devices.  It’s not easy – it’s a little like painting the Golden Gate Bridge:  you’re never finished.

Read More »

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