The Cloud market is certainly heating up. Last Thursday’s announcement from Dell of a $1B (US) investment in 2011 to enter the Cloud hosting market had me reflecting on their new direction. Dell is beginning a two-year build-out of ten data centers around the world to serve enterprises’ public and private Cloud needs. Earlier this year in a similar move, HP announced a set of new Cloud services they are offering ranging from consultancy, Cloud services, and equipment. These options included an “Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute” which will deliver private Cloud services directly from HP’s data centers to end-customers.
There’s a striking difference between Cisco’s strategy and those of HP and Dell. HP and Dell’s strategies will be challenging for some of their customers, especially service providers. Cisco’s strategy is to enable our customers to provide cloud services, whether service provider, public sector, or enterprise.
On one hand, HP and Dell are providing data center packages to enable SP Cloud delivery. On the other hand, both are investing to deliver Cloud services directly to end-users and bypass the service providers. While this is likely to further stimulate Cloud competition, it is directly competitive with service providers who wish to offer their own Cloud services.
It was no accident that Cisco won “Best Core” and “Best Network Infrastructure Provider” of the year at the Telecom Asia People’s Choice Awards. We talked elsewhere about the rapid adoption rate of the Cisco CRS-3, but what are some of the specific reasons behind its success?
The key factor is that today’s core networks must handle dramatic increases in bandwidth both cost-effectively and intelligently. It is simply not enough to transport traffic faster and cheaper. The massive volumes of video, mobile, and cloud services require intelligent IP delivery. The CRS has ability to scale with true, standards-compliant 100GE, 322Tbps multi-chassis capacity, along with superior network intelligence using Network Positioning System to help ensure that content is transported most efficiently. For its one-year birthday, the CRS-3 has added a new capability with a Flexible Packet Transport processor card optimized for Label Switching. It scales the core economically with fast switching, providing carriers the ability to deploy high-speed, agile transport backbones.
Global service providers can reduce costs by utilizing a single core platform to deliver a mix of routing, peering, and transport services. To illustrate the versatility benefits, imagine that a business customer is initially provisioned for a point-to-point connectivity service using packet transport. This is traditionally a lower margin service with tremendous cost-pressures. As that customer grows, they require a multipoint connectivity service with Unified Communications and Telepresence. This service upgrade with higher profit margins can be made quickly and easily without need of a separate platform. This alone lowers the total cost of ownership for capital expenses by 44% and operating expenses by 36% (see the white paper: Flexible Packet Transport: An Approach to Core Network Optimization.)
Eve Griliches from ACG Research spent some time with me last week in this video discussing the new capabilities on the CRS platform, the new market opportunities it enables for Cisco, and how it compares to the competition. You can also listen to the Investor Tech-Talk on ‘The Evolution of Core Networks’ and why a separate standalone MPLS switch is sub-optimal from an architectural perspective.
With NAB in full swing this week, everyone is talking about delivering video services. Makes it a good time to discuss how Copenhagen (Denmark) based service provider Nianet has combined an extensive fiber deployment (100K+ km ) with a new investment in their IP network to offer video conferencing as a cloud service to business customers. For the small and medium sized business owner, you get big business productivity. Lease video conferencing on demand!
Nianet, which offers high-speed fiber communications throughout Denmark also distributes content from its sister company Waoo. They are now seeing the impact of companies increasingly producing their own video content, and therefore demanding faster and more symmetrical high speed data connections. The combination of fiber and high performance routers results in much faster speeds on both up and downstream.
“Businesses have really taken video communication as an alternative to physical meetings, and the technology is now spreading also from dedicated telepresence rooms for desktops and mobile devices. This places greater demands on both up and downstream, and Nianet has chosen to expand its backbone with twelve Cisco ASR 9000 routers to meet the increasing traffic and quality needs.
We also offer video conferencing as a cloud service to companies that want to begin with HD video communications. It therefore becomes easier to implement a full videoconferencing setup since we provide the server space, management software and plenty of bandwidth,” says Rasmus Helmich, CEO of Nianet.
One thing is increasingly clear at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters convention, this week in Las Vegas: Content providers and service providers are quickening their pace in the transition from video signal-based routing to a more data-centric, file-based environment. Why? Because it’s faster, more efficient, and more scalable - all important considerations in today’s world of burgeoning-everything, from content types to distribution paths to video-capable screens.
At the Cisco booth (SU2617), we’re showing how that all comes together -- from video ingest, to file-based workflows to storage, virtualized apps, watermarking and transcoding. And, from there, we’re showing how those file-based video components are readied for content cataloging and publishing.
Just a few years ago, the big topic at the annual National Association of Broadcasters event was the digital transition. In that same time frame, we used to refer to “two screen” and “three screen” environments, to describe the shift of video programming to PCs and smaller screens.
All of that seems quaint now, in hindsight. The digital transition happened, without a lot of fanfare, in July of 2009; now, the number of screens capable of displaying television and video streams is into the double and triple digits.
Indeed, today’s all-digital marketplace is placing new challenges on the shoulders of the nation’s broadcasters.
John Bishop, Sr. VP of Business Development & Strategy for Inlet Technologies, now a part of Cisco, talks about Inlet’s multi-screen delivery and monetization and how these will add to Cisco’s offering.
For starters, today’s broadcast and cable networks are being asked to deliver one linear channel in as many as 30 different versions, because of the plethora of adaptive streaming methods in market. One linear stream might need to be encoded in to eight versions for Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), six to eight for Adobe Flash, and so on for Microsoft Silverlight and other emerging platforms.