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Cisco Evolved Programmable Network: The Beginning of a New Era in SP Networking

June 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm PST

ginaWritten By Gina Nienaber, Marketing Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

This is the first blog out of a series of three covering  “What is the Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Era and Why Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Now?”

Those of us who have been around in the industry for a few decades will remember the first arrival of the “big bad wolf” that tried to blow down the service provider’s house. This wolf presented itself in the form of the commoditization of IP services and high traffic growth rates that limited service provider profitability options forcing them to move away from dedicated TDM-based networks that supported a single video, voice, data, or mobile service. Service Providers partnered with Cisco (and others) to build more scalable and lower costs converged IP Next Generation Networks (IP NGNs) and entered the IP NGN era. In doing so, a new wave of innovation and service revenues followed.

Until of course, “the big bad wolf” arrived on the scene again, also known as “exponential traffic growth, especially in mobile video, and this time he brought his friend along for the ride -- the Internet of Everything (IoE).  Cisco VNI predicts IP Traffic alone will grow 300 percent to 1.4 zettabytes annually by 2017. Most of you are already experiencing the pains of exponential traffic growth and some of you believe, as we do, the next wave of dramatic Internet growth will come through the confluence of people, process, data, and things — or the IoE! And IoE predictions are off the charts as well.  Cisco estimates that 99.4 percent of physical objects in the world are still unconnected. With only about 10 billion of the 1.5 trillion things currently connected globally, there is vast potential to connect the unconnected via the IoE.

When you combine exponential traffic growth with IoE impact on the horizon what do service providers get?  You guessed it -- cost and network complexity are rising at a faster rate than revenue. In order to deal with these challenges, (I would rather call them opportunities), network transformation is not optional, but essential for the next wave of growth and propriety.

This might also be a good time to mention the major innovations in cloud and virtualization technologies such as SDN and NFV are allowing for new agile competitors to enter into the market and are challenging traditional providers for their revenue streams by changing the service delivery game and giving the customer control over their service instantiation with consumption based business models.  If you would like to review a quick snapshot of the challenges providers are facing today see the Cisco EPN At-A-Glance.

Are you convinced we need to move from the IP NGN Era to the EPN Era Yet?  If not keep reading -- you will be.

Why Evolved Programmable Network? Read More »

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Telecom Italia Creates SDN Network Testbed with Five Universities

Telecom Italia is constantly on the lookout for innovative technologies that provide a competitive advantage. The goal is to be the first to offer new services to customers.

The latest hot innovations around Software Defined Networking (SDN) caught Telecom Italia’s attention. SDN promises to simplify network operations. And simpler network operations are a big piece of increasing service levels. Delivering new types of services. And doing it all faster.

Like most companies these days, Telecom Italia doesn’t know yet exactly how it will use SDN. But one thing is clear. Introducing new services faster is key to competitive position. That requires a simpler and smarter infrastructure. And today’s mostly manual methods just won’t keep up. Something has to change, and that’s why SDN is garnering so much discussion in the industry.

That’s where Telecom Italia’s story veers from the usual path. Instead of doing the old “wait-and-see,” Telecom Italia partnered with five Italian universities to build a testbed for SDN research. Engineers are already using the lab to familiarize themselves with network programming technology. They’re trying out various scenarios for introducing new services and automating management. So when the time comes to add network programmability to the production network, Telecom Italia can hit the ground running.

The Target: New Services and Lower Costs

The Joint Open Lab (JOL) consortium includes Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays: The Unique Nature of the American Research University

To understand the unique nature of the American Research University, public or private, it is important to have some historical context of the Academic Research Enterprise.hedt-reserch-use

As America pursued economic growth and other national goals, its research universities emerged as a major national asset — perhaps even its most potent one. This did not happen by accident; it is the result of forward-looking and deliberate federal and state policies. These began with the Morrill Act of 1862, which established a partnership between the federal government and the states to build universities that would address the challenges of creating a modern agricultural and industrial economy for the 20th century. Read More »

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Fast IT Workshop #1: Beyond SDN _ Expanding the Conversation

As business leaders navigate an increasingly complex world of connections, they need IT to dynamically respond to their needs. This four-part blog series explores how responsive and programmable infrastructure helps IT leaders succeed. Today’s post highlights how Fast IT, a new model of IT, encompasses a broader focus of next-generation infrastructure and how it can drive business value.

To read the second post in this series by Jim Grubb which discusses a roadmap to adopt a Fast IT model, click here. To read the third post in this series by Doug Webster which highlights how service providers specifically stand to benefit from Fast IT, click here. To read the fourth and final post in this series by Jeff Reed which explores how a Fast IT model can mitigate infrastructure challenges, click here.

Lately, there has been a lot of chatter around what software-defined networking (SDN) really is. Initially, SDN was a term used to explain the concept of splitting the forwarding plane from the control plane with the added benefit of automation and orchestration. However, recently SDN has become a “buzzword” attached to products that vendors are trying to sell as explained by Network Computing’s Tom Hollingsworth.

Critics of SDN say that it means too many things to too many different people, making what was once network architecture into a philosophy. This was affirmed by Colin Bannon, Chief Architect and CTO, British Telecom, as heard in this recording of the “Business Implications of Software-Defined Networking” panel discussion at Cisco Live Milan in January. During the panel, he suggested SDN means one of three things:

  1. Centralized control which is especially popular with data center,
  2. Centralized control but with lots of distributed intelligence, or
  3. A software programmability into existing infrastructure, meaning more of an orchestration set.

Tim Zimmerman, Research Vice President, Gartner, echoed this sentiment at this same SDN panel: “SDN tends to have a meaning for everybody. It’s not always the same meaning for each person who asks the question.” He added, “We have to worry a little about using it to mean everything. I encourage people to ask the additional questions to ensure they’re getting the right answers when we explore what SDN means to them.”

Cisco_ FastITWorkshop_#1_ALT_5.5.14

At Cisco, we know that the old way of doing things won’t work anymore and SDN seems to solve many issues organizations face today with programmability. However, we want to expand the conversation beyond just SDN to include application-centricity, automation, virtualization, and orchestration. We’ve labeled these types of capabilities Fast IT. Fast IT is a new model for IT with a drive for less complexity, more agility, and comprehensive security. With the majority of IT budgets tied up in manual processes, IT struggles to free up resources needed to deliver innovative technology services to the business. IT must deliver value faster, and be more agile and less complex in responding to changing business needs. IT must enable the business to innovate and achieve business outcomes faster through a simple, smart and secure IT model.

So, what do IT leaders need to do?

Read More »

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The Evolution of the Mobile Service Provider – A Five-Stage Strategy

dan-kurschnerWritten By Dan Kurschner, Senior Manager SP Mobility Marketing

Over the past decades, Mobility has advanced from a mere curiosity (remember those “brick” phones?), to a convenience and today being an indispensable part of our everyday lives.  Businesses are leveraging the internet and the cloud to deliver new services and capabilities – via the mobile network.   While we can access the internet and cloud-based services from almost anywhere, most people do so with barely a thought of the complexities it takes to deliver this ubiquitously connected experience.

Mobile service providers have long been building and upgrading their networks to meet growing demand for capacity and capabilities to stay competitive.   Recently, a new type of competitor has emerged to threaten Read More »

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