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Transform Service Provider Architectures to Support Virtualized Managed Business Services

ginaBy Gina Nienaber, Marketing Manager, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

Cisco estimates over 50 billion new devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.  To support the Internet of Everything, service providers must undergo an infrastructure transformation.  The network needs to become more open, programmable, automated, adaptive, and agile.  To guide this transformation, the Cisco open network strategy for service providers is depicted as three interwoven layers:  the Evolved Programmable Network (physical and virtual network Infrastructure), the Evolved Services Platform (for orchestration of resources) and Applications and Services layer to enable virtualized services such as Cloud VPN and Security.  With these three layers working together, providers can begin to realize the benefits of an open network that is readily open to new devices, open for quickly enabling new services, and open to endless possibilities.

Last week, Cisco announced two Read More »

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What is the Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA) Layered Approach?

This is part 2 of the “Your Business Powered By Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA)” blog series.

CSA Description

The following figure shows a simplified view of the Cisco CSA. It has five horizontal layers: Physical Infrastructure layer, Virtualized Infrastructure layer, Services layer, Service Management and Automation layer, and App/portal layer.  Supporting each layer from top-to-bottom, there are three vertical layers: ITSM/ITIL services layer services enablement, Security layer for providing security across each of the horizontal layers, and Cisco Intellectual and domain management layer for providing Cisco best practices at each of the horizontal layers.


This CSA is a logically layered architecture (LLA), with each layer providing a distinct function.   The model is designed in a hierarchical fashion with devices and facilities at the bottom, customer interactions at the top, and various required functionalities in the middle layers.  The key to this model is the abstraction of each layer into software-defined components with standardized interfaces. Similar to other LLA models such as ITU-T TMN (Telecommunications Management Network), each horizontal layer supports the layer above in performing its business functions.

CSA Layered Approach

The interaction between various layers is through abstraction, orchestration, and API’s.  The customers’ requests are processed from the top layer where orchestration fulfills the various components and provisions into the infrastructure using the API’s between the layers.  Similarly, the Read More »

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Join Us at BBWF 2014

Written by Greg Nehib, Cisco Senior Product Marketing Manager nehib-1

Network functions virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) will get a lot of interest this year at BBWF 2014 Broadband World Forum 2014 as carriers seek to make networks more agile and efficient. In talking to both service providers and large enterprises, it’s clear that we are already in another major transition in the networking industry.

I’ve spoken with many talented individuals about what NFV and SDN means to their networks.  Some of these visions are very broad and long ranging and some are more narrowly focused on delivering or optimizing a single service very quickly.  It’s clear that NFV has already been deployed in many different service applications while SDN has been noticeably slower to develop a focused following.  Even in the case of Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs), there is an interesting combination of features focused on services delivery and features focused on infrastructure innovation.  In this case “services” are typically the services that carriers sell to their end customers such as a  Virtual Private Network (VPN)  and “infrastructure” is the virtualization of the typical network functions such as a virtualized route reflector on an x86 based server instead of running the route reflector application in an existing (physical) router. Read More »

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Does Virtualization Really Matter?

That was the question that an attendee at a recent conference sponsored by the Communications Technology Management, part of University of California’s Marshall School of Business, asked me last week.  With all of the industry discussion on the topic over the last year or two on the topic, I think it is always worthwhile to pause, assess, and reflect, as sometimes some of the simplest questions can be some of the hardest.

“Yes,” I told him, “but maybe not how you think.”

No question I’m proud of the advances Cisco has made in this area, from our announcement of the Evolved Services Platform in February to now having over 40 virtualized functions in our portfolio.  As far as we can tell, it is the largest, most expansive virtualized portfolio in the industry with so much of it not on a drawing board but already in use in customer network.

But while we’re proud of the aggressive execution of our strategy, far more relevant than the number of functions, however, is what they can enable.  I think this was the reason for the question and certainly the reason for my answer.
Take our announcement last week: enabling Read More »

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Your Business Powered By Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA). What are Cisco CSA’s Benefits?

This is part 1 of the “Your Business Powered By Cisco Customer Solutions Architecture (CSA)” blog series.

Many IT organizations are challenged to take advantage of the new technologies enabled by Virtualization, Cloud, Analytics and IoT.  Applications enabled by these new technologies must be protected from unauthorized use but remain accessible, in a secure manner, from any device in any location throughout the world. With a vast array of new technology choices and a substantial installed infrastructure base, it is important to have a place to start –a solutions architecture– that provides a framework for using these technologies that will drive business outcomes.

The CSA is a transformational customer-facing blueprint that delivers IT-based services for enterprise and service providers to achieve their business outcomes.  To be relevant for our customers, the CSA was developed based on disruptive examples that Cisco engineers observed in the industry during their discussions with both enterprise and service provider customers worldwide.

Some of these disruptive examples include use of new technologies such as: Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE) and Cyber security.  It should also be stated that the front end for IT blueprint consulting is Cisco Consulting Services, and this CSA is representational of the sets of abstractions that describe the actual functions.

In all IT environments, both enterprise and service providers, Cisco sees two common trends: Read More »

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