The Programmable Network: End-to-End Visualization and Control
In our last blog, we talked about the next generation Internet. It will be about the Internet of Everything ─ people-to-people, machine-to-machine, machine-to-people, trillions of things coming online in coming years. Software Defined Networking (SDN) is only part of the overall solution. Real-time intelligence, automation and orchestration, instantaneous responsiveness, and unprecedented business and operational agility require a much broader approach. At Cisco we’re already creating the network of the future with our integrated framework, the Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE).
So now let’s come down to Earth and explore what all of this really means to an average service provider. What new capabilities and use cases does Cisco ONE enable right now? How does what we’re doing lay another building block for the Internet of Everything?
Start by Visualizing Your Network
When automating network operations and giving applications control over your network it is now even more important to precisely see what is happening in your network, in real-time. Seeing what’s going on in your network. Sounds simple and basic, right?
Wrong. As service providers know, the vast electronic geographies that comprise today’s networks have morphed into incredibly complex environments that do wondrous things. But like cars with faulty steering or countries without central governments, networks are also becoming very difficult to manage. Part of the problem is getting a holistic view of what’s going on end-to-end in the network from moment to moment.
Until now, the conglomeration of existing operations and administration tools used by service providers to extract traffic, topology, subscriber, quality of service, and other information from the network have been complex, separate, manual, time-consuming, and fragmentary. You couldn’t use them to initiate real-time responses to a series of ever changing network conditions.
How can you drive a car, run a country, or manage a network if you don’t have a decent view of what’s going on in real-time? Not optimally.
Now imagine a network that operates more like a being with senses and a nervous system. It “sees” by acquiring information using a variety of technologies and touch points throughout the network. Then, it passes this information into a database where intelligent modeling and analytics tools determine the best way to automatically route traffic or allocate resources. And finally an orchestration tool automatically adjusts traffic paths in the WAN optimally as needed.
This isn’t the future. It’s available right now.
The integrated capabilities of Cisco ONE enable the creation of a dynamic programmable infrastructure that provides applications with real-time insight into what’s happening throughout the underlying network and then orchestrates the right response.
How it Works
Cisco’s programmable Path Computation advances the state-of-the-art by capturing real-time information throughout the network on utilization, topology, and performance. This information is stored in a database and the Path Computation function uses it to create a visual that shows you traffic demand and network utilization, like a digital map of traffic on streets and highways.
Now add an analytics engine and you can identify historical trends and bottlenecks. Next, the best path for a given service, based on its bandwidth and latency requirements and traffic conditions moment to moment, can be determined.
- Streamlined service delivery
- Increased business agility
- More efficient network resources utilization
- Reduced operational costs through automation
- Better and more granular support for SLAs
- Application centric intelligent networking that improves the customer experience
A Real World Example
Take a look at the Traffic Visualization and Control function in action.
In one scenario, the service provider for a big bank utilizes Cisco ONE technologies to provide very fast, low latency connections during peak times. The provider uses traffic visualization and control to reroute lower-priority services away from the bank’s services and to identify and provision the shortest and low latency path between the bank and trading sites. After hours, when the bank does not need ultra-fast, low latency connections, the provider switches traffic to connections that move massive volumes of non-time-sensitive data at the lowest available cost.
- The programmable Cisco ONE environment enables the service provider to dynamically optimize services based on the bank’s changing priorities throughout a typical day.
- A real-time, end-to-end traffic report lets them balance the bank’s traffic loads and optimize the utilization of resources.
- Provisioning times for these services are decreased from months to minutes.
- Switching back and forth between high priority and low priority service provisioning is easy and automated.
- The efficiency of network services is maximized for an optimal customer experience.
- Operational complexity is reduced and resource efficiency is increased for the provider.
Cisco ONE uses advanced path computation as part of a centralized platform with full WAN visibility and programmability. Traffic Visualization and Control provides real-time multilayer monitoring of transport, IP MPLS, and services between a business user and their service provider and content providers. With this high level of visibility, provider networks can immediately adapt to any network condition, based on a look at parameters like congestion, packet loss and latency to meet stringent business SLAs.
Find out more about how Cisco ONE is creating a suite of capabilities to power the Internet of Everything and make your networks more agile. (And watch for our next blog on how controllers and agents in Cisco ONE simplify your service orchestration, workflow management, and other functions.)
For more information on Cisco ONE, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/go/one.