Widely deployed from the core to the edge, IP/MPLS has achieved huge success as a mature, standards-based technology now deployed by virtually every service provider worldwide. As a result, the industry has chosen to extend IP/MPLS and develop a transport profile called MPLS-TP (MPLS Transport Profile). MPLS-TP is the packet transport technology of choice being developed by the IETF to allow service providers to cost effectively migrate existing transport networks to packet based solutions.
Recently EANTC conducted an MPLS-TP Interoperability Event which focused on testing and demonstrating interoperability of key IP/MPLS and Carrier Ethernet features between multiple vendor platforms. This represented a critical technology demonstration for service providers as they begin their migration to packet transport networks.
Cisco’s foundation for delivering the service provider Cloud is our Unified Service Delivery (USD) solution, featuring tightly integrated, data center and IP NGN technologies to deliver a virtualized end-to-end infrastructure for cloud services. We thought it would be useful to share some new capabilities that Cisco has added recently to the solution:
MPLS in the Data Center: To streamline the end to end operation across the data center and IP NGN, Cisco announced, last week, that Nexus 7000 supports Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) for Layer 3 virtual private networks (VPNs). This allows MPLS to be deployed at the data center core/aggregation layer rather than terminating at the data center edge. This capability enables Service Providers to greatly simplify L3 segmentation, especially for multi-tenant cloud offerings, depending on their scale and service needs.
Another key to the delivery of a data center built for Cloud requirements of scale, virtualization and multi-tenancy has been the use of a Unified Fabric. Unified Fabric provides the flexibility of high performance, highly available networks to support the needs of both LAN and SAN on a consolidated fabric. Cisco’s Unified Fabric announcements last week bring new capabilities which extend our already robust offerings to further build out a Service Provider Cloud foundation.
Another CTIA has come and gone. Despite being tempted to sit by the pool all day (it was 85 degrees compared with the typical 40 degrees in Boston), CTIA surprised us all by being very busy in spite of “being too close to MWC” and “Orlando not being a great location.” The show was all a buzz on the recent AT&T and T-Mobile announcement. It seems like every show needs a big announcement like that to set the stage.
We were able to continue the momentum we set at MWC to talk to our customers and the media about our M.O.VE. strategic framework. Everyone agrees that monetization, optimization, and video are the hot topics, and are the main challenges that operators are working to address. It’s always exciting to talk about the tie-in between our recent customer announcements at Reliance and MegaFon and our M.O.VE solution.
Early this month the stars in Los Angeles weren’t walking the Red Carpet, nor Tweeting about #winning, nor trashing their dressing room. Instead they were on the blue carpet of the Los Angeles Convention Center at the OFC/NFOEC 2011 show. A few themes clearly stood out regarding the challenges faced by network operators trying to address the bandwidth growth driven by video and collaboration technologies:
Investment Protection: The relentless need to optimize infrastructure investments
MPLS-TP: Deployment of packet-based technologies for future transport networks
Interoperability: Why scaling to 100 Gig in an interoperable manner will be critical
Optical Component Innovation: How coherent optical technology, flexible spectrum and component modules will be leveraged in future optical networks
Investment Protection: As providers continue to expand their converged backbone transport networks, they are carefully scrutinizing expenses. Bandwidth growth is driving the expansion and various technology approaches are being discussed to tackle it: efficient wavelength optimization, optical switching, optical bypass, packet switching, packet bypass, label switching and others. Some implementations focus on creating new platforms for each technology function. An ideal approach conserves existing investments without compromising performance. For example, label switching is a function that is fundamental to the core and is an easy, incremental deployment within established platforms. Adding this capability to established platforms makes best use of existing infrastructure and avoids new qualification cycles.
At Mobile World Congress last month we introduced our M.O.VE strategic framework and we’re already seeing the message take off. We recently announced our relationships with major mobile operators, MegaFon in Russia and Reliance Communications in India. Both of these operators are taking advantage of solutions within the M.O.VE strategic framework.
M.O.VE, with its targeted approach to helping operators monetize and optimize their mobile networks while enhancing the video experience, appears to be the right framework at the right time, and speaks to operators’ technical, financial, and business needs in a comprehensive and tangible way.