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“Network as a Service” Brings the Benefits of Virtualization to Network Operators

carlos-corderoBy Carlos Cordero, Cisco Consulting Services, Service Provider

Cloud consumption models are gaining traction across all company sizes and industries.  Whether software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or platform as a service (PaaS), the value propositions of virtualization are being sought by IT decision makers.

Cisco Consulting Services sees an opportunity for network service providers (SPs) to deliver a similar experience through a new solution architecture that we call network as a service (NaaS). NaaS does for the network what SaaS and IaaS have done for the data center —  offering many of the same value proposition components, such as lower OpEx and increased agility, as well as new business model levers and distribution benefits.

A Simple NaaS Architecture Delivers Broad Benefits

To illustrate the value, this paper focuses on NaaS for mobile operators, although similar value could be articulated across all SP segments. Today, the various engineering and operational functions required to enable new customers, new services, and repairs are buried behind monolithic and independent network elements. The goal of NaaS is to simplify the architecture through virtualization, bringing disparate software solutions onto common hardware.

At the heart of mobile NaaS is an intelligent core with the service elements needed to deploy mobile data services (Figure 1). Traditionally, each software element runs on dedicated hardware, but under NaaS, these elements are separated so the software can run on shared virtual machines. The model also includes a common storage and compute infrastructure that can be delivered to the intelligent core as needed through a virtual machine approach. The intelligent core should work across a variety of licensed and unlicensed access technologies, shown at right. The active service catalog represents the SP’s ability to create unique service environments by combining service elements in an automated and simplified way. Finally, the secure portal enables consumers and business customers to access and manage their own network instances.

Figure 1.                  Mobile NaaS Is Anchored in a Flexible and Extensible Set of Service Elements. Read More »

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Third Step to Enterprise Mobility: The Division of Devices

This is the third post in a blog series featuring Vine-format videos focusing on the “Six Essential Steps for Unleashing the Power of Enterprise Mobility”. Be sure to read the first two blogs and watch the videos – First Step to Enterprise Mobility: Build the Mobile Structure and  Second Step to Enterprise Mobility: Go Virtual.

In this blog series, we’ve discussed two important steps enterprises can take unleash the power of enterprise mobility. We’ve covered how building a mobile structure can arm enterprises with the appropriate architecture to increase efficiency and revenue. In addition, we highlighted how enterprises can go virtual by implementing desktop virtualization.

Our third step -- preparing for the division of devices -- relies on both structure and a mobile workforce. How can enterprises enable and support the proliferation of employee-owned devices without burying their IT department and putting corporate data at risk? Here’s a quick checklist to help make it happen:

mobstep11. Use a unified network infrastructure that facilitates secure, virtual workspace delivery across wired, wireless, VPN, and cellular networks.

As wireless access becomes more pervasive, performance and reliability expectations are the same as what is expected from a wired network. Features such as reliable connectivity, application response times and voice, video and real-time collaboration solutions all depend on a seamless delivery for both wired and wireless devices. This fundamental shift demands that IT monitor and have a unified solution in place  (i.e. a single physical infrastructure) for both corporate wireless LAN (WLAN) and wired LAN. This converged infrastructure will enable the right quality of experience for users, independent of their devices.

A unified network infrastructure can also make sure that IT is able to identify each device connecting to the network and authenticate the person using it.

Read More »

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New Bills in U.S. Government Show Commitment to Video

Being effective in your job doesn’t always mean that you need to be there.  In fact, many would argue that their productivity increases drastically when they are given the flexibility to work wherever they want as long as they can stay connected.  If that means staying off of a plane for a business trip, even better because it also saves the company money.

Enter video conferencing, the tool that enables users to be part of the discussion without being there.  But what does “there” really mean in today’s world? With mobile technologies, including video, transforming how and where we work, the concept of “there” is really anywhere you want it to be. “There” can be a traditional office that is now equipped with video technologies that enable collaboration with others across the world without having to travel in order to conduct business. It can also be working remotely and still being part of your business community with mobile video and other applications that allow users to work at home, at a coffee shop or anywhere they like.

The move to stay connected at anytime from anywhere has been engaged by many organizations including the U.S. Federal Government. To help agency’s ensure productivity while cutting travel costs the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would allow absent Congress members to vote via video conferencing. The bill allows members to cast votes remotely over video and be treated as if they were present in person at meetings.

Government members are also extending this sentiment beyond the walls of Congress as Representative Michael Fitzpatrick also introduced a new bill — H.R. 2643, the Stay In Place, Cut the Waste Act of 2013 — to review agencies’ efforts to reduce travel spending and develop a plan to cut travel expenses by 50 percent through the use of video conferencing technologies.

Is it really going to make a difference? Read More »

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CableLabs Summer Conference 2013– CMX Live Demo

At the CableLabs Summer Conference last week in the Keystone Conference Center outside of Denver, Colorado, Cisco CMX was demonstrated live on stage showing up to the moment information on the venue and the attendees.

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The audience consisted of approximately 400 attendees, with the room at full capacity, mostly business leaders from CableLabs member organizations including all the top tier operators. Read More »

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ACE Network: Bringing the Power of Video Meetings to Mobile BYOD Users

I spend a big part of my workday in virtual meetings, as an organizer, participant, or both. When I’m in my office, I can join those meetings from my desktop video endpoint, a Cisco TelePresence EX90, and enjoy the benefits of video communications.

But work isn’t necessarily a place that you go to anymore. I often work outside of my office, so the ability to easily join a video meeting from one of my mobile devices is critical for productive collaboration with colleagues. Read More »

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