With a rapidly increasing number of people, devices, machines and sensors coming online across the Internet of Everything (IoE), global service providers will require new capabilities to lead in the delivery of value-added, cloud-based services and applications. Service providers are recognizing the importance of using intelligent, virtualized networks that efficiently deliver new experiences and expand revenue opportunities. While there are many residential, business and mobile solutions that service providers can offer, network virtualization is also crucial for deployment in developing regions.
The IoE aims to bring the world together through technology and empower those who were once isolated, by transforming the ways they communicate. Access to mobile technology varies and may not be as prevalent in developing regions of the world. However, tablets and mobile phones are beginning to transform how these developing regions obtain and relay information. In fact, mobile phone subscriptions have climbed to nearly 5 billion in the Read More »
Last week I spent some time at the “Software Defined Networking 2014” conference in London. It’s a relatively small conference I would say however given the growing interest in SDN and rapid progress of the technology it’s always good to hear alternative viewpoints and experiences. And I certainly found the previous conference here in December 2013 interesting -- in particular one vendor in my view using SDN as the “hammer to crack a nut“.
Cisco wasn’t present at this conference last week, so what are others saying about SDN? Here is a quick summary of my takeaways (in some cases questions raised in my mind), which I will expand on below. And let me be controversial in my summary!
(1) Negligible discussion on live SDN deployments.
(2) NFV -- at least for service providers -- is potentially a quicker win than SDN
(3) SDN “Washing” is alive and well
(4) Is OpenFlow more of an academic pursuit?
(5) Open Daylight excitement
(6) Negligible Discussion on “Making It Happen”
As I say, to some my statements may be controversial -- let me explain!
Written By Igor Dayen, Manager, Service Provider Marketing, Cisco
Cisco Live! 2014 in San Francisco was bigger, better, and bolder than ever this year. There was a record breaking 25,000 registered customers, partners, press and analysts at the event. The Service Provider Program has allowed the attendees to witness firsthand latest innovations and solutions as the service provider booth made its debut on the show floor. Cisco Live! was packed with educational sessions and our booth staffers ran live demonstrations to solutions to provide visual proof points to the material presented during the breakouts. This was also a debut for the Service Provider to have its own booth in the Main Cisco campus. As the 2014 US edition of Cisco Live! in San Francisco came to a close, I wanted to share a few thoughts and links with our readers so that they can tune into some of the great content and photos of the event.
Watch our postcard video that takes a look at activity in the service provider booth at this year’s show!
Like any good story starts, the week for the Service Provider program kicked off with an energizing keynote by David Ward, Kit Beall, and Kelly Ahuja. During the SP Keynote, Kit Beall posed a question once asked by the novelist Victor Hugo: “Will the future ever arrive?” This resonated very well with the theme of the overall program for service providers at Cisco Live. Before the event we had posted an SP community blog where we began exploring the value of SP open network architecture. With the Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) and the Evolved Services Platform (ESP) architectures being the key pillars of SP open network architecture you have more options on how you will architect and build your network so that the applications can be successfully deployed. But is that really enough for the service providers to evolve in the future? Cisco’s answer is agility, lower costs, and new revenue opportunities made achievable with virtualization, programmability, and open standards that come with SP open network architecture. When architected this way, services can be deployed more efficiently, faster and with better SLAs. At Cisco we provide the solution which exactly does that. Overall, during the SP keynote the key message to service .providers was innovation, automation, and virtualization.
As I was thinking about how best to advise you on how to “experiment” with SDN technologies, and more specifically why you should run a formal pilot to evaluate SDN technology options (a topic I covered in my previous blog), I was reminded of this “wipeout” picture I took last year at a “freeride” competition – the “Coe Cup“ -- at my local ski mountain, Glencoe Moutain Resort, here in the UK. Let me tell you why!
Why you may want to “pilot” new technology adoption!
If you were to believe the industry press, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that many companies across the world were rolling software defined networking (SDN) technologies into their networks today. I’m part of Cisco’s Services team and my colleagues across the world are the experts in helping you all design and deploy networks. If there is a large or complex leading (or bleeding!) edge network out there being designed, you can place a safe bet that someone from the Cisco Services team is involved helping our customers achieve their targets. If you’re involved in deploying any type of high technology equipment, you’ll appreciate that there is a world of difference between selling, demoing, and actually making it all work in your environment when it comes to new technology. Our team are in the latter camp.
So what are our consultants telling me about SDN in the real world? Excluding a few notable high profile cases (usually involving hyper-scale data centers) they are not seeing -- as yet, to be honest -- many early deployments. However they are seeing a growing number of customers interest in learning about and evaluating SDN related technologies -- including Cisco ONE, NFV and in particular Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). And they are providing some early feedback on the use cases of SDN that customers are most interested in. They are all clear, however, on this point: this is the time to learn what SDN and Cisco ONE can do for your network in the future.
So how do you get started in SDN? Let me outline 5 key steps to help you get started. I’ll also point you to a technical white paper written by Mitch Mitchiner and Reema Prasad, two of our Customer Solutions Architects in Cisco Services, two of our experts responsible for making all of this work for you, your team and your business. I also recommend you check out the video link I’ve provided, for an excellent live demo of Cisco ONE technology, first presented at Cisco Live last year. This video gives a live demo of latency-based routing, one of the use cases described in Mitch and Reema’s paper.