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The Programmable Network: IP and Optical Convergence

Someday soon, personal sensors, wearable gadgets, and embedded devices and services may make today’s PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones look quaint by comparison. But as the Internet of Everything­ (IoE) ─ with its diverse array of devices accessing a plethora of existing and new services ─ continues to rapidly evolve, user friendly interfaces mask growing complexity within networks. An article on today’s digital designers in the September 2013 issue of Wired captured how the focus is now “creating not products or interfaces but experiences, a million invisible transactions” and that “even as our devices have individually gotten simpler, the cumulative complexity of all of them is increasing.”

Which inevitably takes us behind the curtain to the exciting challenge of building hyper-efficient programmable networks using virtualization, the cloud, Software Defined Networking (SDN), and other technologies, architectures, and standards.

So far, this blog series on The Programmable Network has described various new and exciting capabilities leading to greater efficiencies and cost benefits. We’ve shared with you how you can now:

  • Visualize and control traffic using path computation via a network controller
  • Monitor and optimize traffic flows across network connections
  • Order services through an easy-to-use online portal which then launches automated service creation tasks

These capabilities are all Read More »

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Open UX Snowflake: Making Great Even Greater

Visitors to the Cisco booth at this year’s IBC will no doubt be curious to see our new Open UX Snowflake.

Snowflake, the Videoscape Unity flagship UI, is now offered on HTML5, powered with cloud technology. As a multi-award winning UI, Snowflake never fails to turn heads, which makes it the Formula One race car of UIs. The kind you want to brag to your friends about. No matter what device subscribers use, Snowflake provides an engaging and consistent way for them to find and view video content.

At first glance, one might think that not much has changed. But like a Formula One race car, Snowflake isn’t just about good looks. It’s also about what’s under the hood.

Snowflake has a new, powerful web-based engine that makes it simpler, faster, and richer.

So what enhancements will Open UX Snowflake bring for service providers and consequently subscribers? Read More »

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What Does It Take to Stay Ahead in Today’s Dynamic and Competitive Video Market?

One critical factor to stay ahead in today’s dynamic and competitive video market is the agility to deploy new services and hardware fast.

But what do service providers really need in order to be agile?

An open client software is a great start. It provides a core software base so service providers can focus on innovating rather than handling fundamental software components. It is continually enhanced by the developer community and easy to integrate with hardware and software components from third-parties or the open software community.

A fine example of open software for video CPE is the RDK (Reference Design Kit). Originally begun by Comcast two years ago, RDK is evolving into a standardized open software base for the industry. It is enjoying growing support from a broad community of Service Providers, SoC, OEMs, software vendors, and system integrators. It provides a shared set of software components for QAM, IP, and hybrid devices. And it has a modular, layered architecture for easy hardware and software updates.

As an open software that enables agility, RDK ticks all the right boxes.

But to realize that agility—that is, to actually bring new services and platforms to market at a rapid pace with success—service providers need a partner with the right expertise, resources, and software components

What does this entail? Read More »

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Updates from our SP Video Business and Welcome Joe Cozzolino!

Right now, with business up 23% year over year, we’re proud to continue to see good performance in our Service Provider Video business– which underlines the importance of having a finger on the pulse of a thriving industry.

And, when one works for a company like Cisco that is focused on helping its service provider customers execute on service velocity, staying ahead requires careful and thoughtful adjusting.

To that end, I recently Read More »

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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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