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The Digital Transformation Comes With A New Approach to Service Assurance

The Digital Transformation_Image 1NFV and SDN are past their hype cycle and way into gaining significant traction since their initial introductions into the market. Many of our customers who have deployed or plan to deploy our solutions based on these technologies understand that an important factor for realizing the full benefits of NFV and SDN is service assurance. Service assurance is crucial in the era of digital transformation and in effectively operationalizing NFV and SDN enabled networks, towards offering your customers an outstanding, end-to-end digital experience. However, in today’s virtualizing network, service assurance requires a whole new approach and one that greatly differs from what traditional systems can provide.

First, let’s take a look at some of the important characteristics of the changing cloud infrastructure on which services are offered and what this means for assurance systems.

  • Complexity and scale: Cloud infrastructures are extremely complex due to the large number of distributed network elements across multiple technologies and service domains. The multiple layers of the infrastructure stack which include the underlying physical elements, the virtual overlays, and service components creates critical inter relationships and dependencies. In order to rapidly isolate problems and proactively resolve them, first, the assurance system must holistically understand these links and dependencies and second, it must be scalable given the significant number of services it must support
  • On-demand services and elasticity: NFV and SDN help deliver services agility and enable more flexible service consumption models such as the “pay as you go” option which is increasingly adopted by customers whose service requirements change over time. In this model however, the time between service turn-up and turn-down is much shorter compared to that of traditional services. This means the assurance system must be aware of the dynamic changes to service topologies, in real-time, in order to proactively assure services. Additionally, in NFV based infrastructures, service placement can also dynamically change, such as in failure scenarios. In such instances, the assurance system must again, quickly recognize and adapt to the associated changes.
  • Multi-tenant environment: More and more businesses are turning to the cloud to experience new applications, collaborate on mission critical projects and utilize IT resources more efficiently. Here the service elements (compute, network, storage) that support these functions are virtualized on a per customer and per tenant basis. Therefore, it is essential for the assurance system to have an accurate and contextualized knowledge base on a per customer/tenant perspective in order to understand the potential impact a network issue may have. This is especially important for supporting those customers who rely on your services to run their most critical business functions

With traditional assurance systems, Read More »

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Introduction of Big Thinkers in Small Cells

Over the past five years, the adoption of small cells has increased dramatically. At Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year the Small Cell Forum announced that we have now crossed the threshold where there are more small cells deployed than macro cells in the world. Clearly, small cells are playing, and will continue to play a critical role in the global mobile infrastructure.

Over the last 18 months Cisco has doubled-down on its investments in small cells, from dramatic growth and scaling of our Service Provider Wi-Fi solution to our recently announced intent to acquire licensed small cell leader Ubiquisys.  With this opportunity, Cisco has a responsibility to address the challenges we face in small cell deployments. How do we help mobile and cable operators around the world address the issue of cost effective coverage and capacity using small cells?  How do we work with the small cell ecosystem, including mobile partners and thought leaders in this industry, to create successful, and profitable, deployments of small cells by operators around the world? How do we work with enterprise organizations to deploy small cells? Read More »

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Hear Comcast, Cox, & TWC Share Industry Perspectives on IPv6

Do you know how networks will transition from IPv4 to IPv6?

If you aren’t planning to attend the V6 World Congress next week let me invite you to a webinar on Wednesday February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM New York / 6:00 PM London time. . Besides the vendor perspective from Cisco and other industry participants, this event hosted by Heavy Reading Read More »

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Mobile Service Provider Growth Priorities

As the Mobility industry converges upon Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, I wanted to talk to you about subjects we will all be talking about at MWC – monetization, optimization, and the video experience.

There’s been considerable speculation about the demands that are placed on today’s mobile infrastructure and how rocketing traffic volumes will impact the network operator’s business model.

We decided to explore service provider’s expectations for the ongoing development of the mobile Internet. More specifically, their thoughts on monetization and network optimization, especially around bandwidth-intensive applications, like mobile video.

So we commissioned a market research study that was recently performed by Heavy Reading.  Based on interviews with over 50  mobile operators from around the world (the interview subjects did not know that this was a Cisco-sponsored survey), here is a summary of what they told us (full report embedded at the end of this post):

Charting a Profitable Growth Strategy

  • Growing an active, paying, mass market mobile broadband subscriber base is seen as a pre-condition for more sophisticated monetization strategies.
  • Operators view “Tiered Services” as the most attractive monetization use case. This is especially the case in HSPA+ and LTE networks which now have enough capacity that operators can start segmenting their service offerings.
  • Other use cases that operators can use to drive data penetration and usage were also favorable viewed, e.g., group data plans and session/day pass or other time-based charging services.
  • Models that can help meet the dual goals of subscriber growth and generate better yield from existing and higher-end subscribers are most attractive. Maintaining a balance between those two objectives is, of course, preferred.

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