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IP Address Management: Smoothing the Way to Cloud-Based Services

Contributed by David Flesh, Sr Manager, Product Marketing, Cisco Network Management Technology Group

Many service providers today are implementing or investigating cloud computing to take advantage of its inherent operational advantages and as a platform from which to offer differentiated cloud-based services. By abstracting IT resources and services from the underlying infrastructure, service providers are achieving highly elastic, multitenant environments and savings. For example, cloud-based environments facilitate provisioning in minutes; time-to-market reductions of more than 50 percent; high server and storage utilization; 50 percent reductions in capital costs; and 25 to 30 percent reductions in operational costs. 1

At the same time, cloud-based services are highly attractive to providers’ enterprise customers. Service provider-based cloud services offer greater scalability and performance without requiring premises-based infrastructure and management. Self-service, scale-on-demand, and pay-per-use features increase user convenience and IT flexibility, while automated recovery and cloud-based backup significantly enhance risk management.

The good news is that service providers today are uniquely positioned to take advantage of cloud computing. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) -- a cloud utility architecture -- provides an easy entry point for many service providers who are already expert at provisioning, managing, and scaling infrastructure-based services for multiple customers. IaaS helps enable service providers to increase return on investment through existing infrastructure and to deliver high-margin multitenancy services and support new competitive offerings. According to the Cisco Internet Business Systems Group, a 2009 study has forecast IaaS service revenues to be approximately $15.6 billion by 2013.

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Summertime 2011: Observations of a CTO

By Bob McIntyre, CTO, Cisco Service Provider Group

I was digging around my PowerPoints on the laptop recently, getting ready for our “Cisco Live!” event, and came across a set of predictions I’d made, five years ago.

A CTO, making predictions five years out? What could possibly go wrong, right? Well, I wouldn’t be bringing it up unless it was so off base as to be funny, — or close enough to “correct” to boast a little.

Turns out it was mostly the latter, so allow me to boast a little. -- Just a little. I promise.

Back then, in 2006, I said what will make service providers successful would be the delivery to consumers of their own personal HD video stream, on any device, wherever they were. A two-way stream. (This was the year before the iPhone and smart phones hit the market, and four years before “pads” did.)

I also surmised that triple and quad play (voice, video, data and wireless) bundles would continue to be the big thing; that operators needed to move drastically faster on what we now call “apps;” and that what we now call Wi-Fi mobile hot spots and 4th generation wireless (back then, we called it “fixed mobile convergence”) would be critical. Read More »

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Addressing the Service Provider Transition to IPv6: Carrier-Grade IPv6 Solution (Part 3 of 4)

The transition to IPv6 presents a complex technical challenge, and the business risks for not doing it right are potentially significant, in terms of impact on customer retention and growth, new business models, and competitive edge.

In this third installation of the series, Kelly Ahuja of Cisco and Ray Mota of ACG focus on Service Provider strategies for the transition to IPv6. As Kelly mentions, the Cisco Carrier-Grade IPv6 Solution (CGv6) is designed to help address both technical and business challenges associated with the transition. The Cisco CGv6 portfolio of IPv6 solutions enables service providers to:

  • Preserve investments in IPv4 infrastructure, assets, and delivery models
  • Prepare for the smooth, incremental transition to IPv6 services that are interoperable with IPv4
  • Prosper through accelerated subscriber, device, and service growth that are enabled by the efficiencies that IPv6 can deliver

It’s important to emphasize the word solution. CGv6 solution is not just a line card, or a network appliance, or a software feature. Unlike other companies Cisco has the experience and expertise to help network operators realize the promise of IPv6 by offering full Life Cycle Services Support. This is especially important as not all operators have experience in IPv6 or access to this expertise. Cisco can provide the people, processes and tools to ensure a seamless transition. Some of the capabilities our advanced services team provides include:

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Texas Lone Star Network Deploys the ASR 9000 for State-wide Services

Although well known for oil and cattle, Texas is home to many high technology companies (including the Cisco campus of yours truly), and is the largest clean energy (wind) producer in the USA. It’s also got a booming economy that needs advanced telecommunications services to all parts of the state. 

TLSN connects Cisco ASR 9000 Series routers with 10G optical wavelengths enabled in the Cisco DWDM backbone network

To that point, we recently talked with the team at Texas Lone Star Network (TLSN). Located just 50 miles northwest of  the capital of Austin, TLSN operates a Cisco DWDM fiber network spanning over 3000 route miles offering wavelength, Ethernet, and SONET services to its 39 consortium company members, national carriers, wireless carriers, regional cable TV operators, colleges and the federal government. Earlier in the year they made the decision to upgrade their network with a deployment of Cisco’s ASR 9000 Series routers.

TLSN has connected the new ASR 9000 routers with 10G optical wavelengths enabled in the Cisco DWDM backbone network. The enhanced network provides them the foundation for new, revenue generating services, including cloud computing, cell backhaul, and IP/MPLS virtual private networks. In particular, cell backhaul is expected to be a growth area because of the number of 4G deployments going on in Texas right now.

“With the rapid growth in customer demand for higher capacity , driven especially by video, mobile, and high speed data services, we had to scale our network, but we had to also watch our operational expenses. Leveraging our new Carrier Ethernet platform we’re able to offer new services cost effectively to our member companies and customers  to ensure that technologies such as telemedicine and distance learning are available to any community in the state. Plus, with our Texas-wide footprint we can offer both a wide range of highly available services coupled with a unique footprint that other providers can’t match.”
Brad Seymour, General Manager, TLSN

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Cisco Live! Showing Off 100GE on CRS-3 and ASR 9000 Series

Cisco ASR 9000 and Cisco CRS-3Following the announcement of the ASR 9000 System last month, it was not too surprising that one of the most popular demos at Cisco Live in Las Vegas was the Service Provider IP NGN pod. For this event we had a setup which included 100GE interfaces connected between an ASR 9000 (edge) and a CRS-3 (core). Ultimately over the course of the show we totaled over one thousand 100GE customer engagements, and nearly 200 ASR 9000 Test Drive (better known as “Robot Arm”) demonstrations.

Capability to support 100GE is something that we see consistently in customer RFPs, even if they intend to deploy 10GE initially. It’s all about investment protection while (in some cases) they wait for the cost of 100G to be more competitive with using multiple 10GE links. Given the cost of 100 Gbps pluggable optics, it’s amazing to hold in your hands something so small and plain that sells for the cost of a luxury car.

Also a hit was the award winning Cisco ASR 9000 Test Drive, about which I’ve blogged before. This of course was physically located in San Jose, and streamed to Cisco Live while being controlled on the show floor by the users. (A true, but little known fact – the inspiration for the Test Drive came from toy heat engine known as the “drinking bird”. We liked the idea that the IOS XR-enabled ASR 9000 keeps running much like a perpetual motion machine).

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