Virtual networks need to be built on solid foundations. Once these are in place, use cases can take them to the next level

It’s clear to service providers that their customers are now looking for a new kind of service – one that’s fast, flexible, and can be adjusted on demand to suit their needs.

Agile digital companies have led the way in creating these expectations, and the growth of mobile internet, online video, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is accelerating the trend

Building your network on solid foundations

Virtual networks are generating more interest because of their potential to enable the services that today’s customers want.

So how do you go about building the solid, open, and innovative foundation that a virtual network requires?

 Standard IT cloud infrastructure is not well suited to virtualisation, because it isn’t designed for high-bandwidth service provider network applications. You’ll need a purpose-designed infrastructure if you want to be able to guarantee availability and performance.

At Cisco, we understand this. That’s why we’ve worked with our partners to create a virtual network infrastructure that provides all the essential compute, storage and network functions.

A key component of our virtualisation technology is the Virtual Topology System (VTS), which supports virtual networks without sacrificing the reliability and performance of traditional physical network architecture.

 The VTS brings more visibility, automation and simplicity to your network, helping you make the transition to a software-defined data centre. It’s designed to work with the Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO)

And it uses open standards, which means you can adapt and evolve your systems as your needs change.

But why Cisco?

The Cisco VTS doesn’t act in isolation. It’s part of a comprehensive range of technology that supports service providers who want to create a virtual network infrastructure.

Of course, it’s also possible to put together an infrastructure yourself.

But while you might save some upfront costs this way, the process is complicated. It involves a lot of different risks, and you’ll need to recruit and retain specialist engineers.

So which option really offers the best value?

To compare the two approaches, we carried out a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis

While the equipment cost of the DIY solution was lower than using Cisco, the labour cost was significantly higher, because of the need to hire software engineers and the time taken to carry out upgrades.

In the end, for a virtual network infrastructure with 300 servers, using our services proved to be 40 percent more cost effective that the DIY approach.

Taking it to the next level

Once the foundations of a virtual network are in place, our use cases enable providers to take their services to the next level.

Use cases are network solutions designed for specific purposes, ready to be deployed straight away. They enable providers to shape the personalised, flexible services that really benefit customers.

One use case is the Cisco Ultra Services Platform, which is being used by mobile network operators like Korea’s SK Telecom to create agile mobile network services.

The benefits of the platform include centralising service creation and control, handling huge amounts of traffic, speeding up the introduction of services and automating deployment through a user-friendly interface.

“SDN holds much promise to make things easier and faster for our consumer and enterprise customers,” said Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom. “It helps our network keep up with the growing demands as customers digitise. Cisco’s approach of integrating SDN into the mobile services core will enable our customers to be served better with exactly what they want, when they want it.”

But service providers won’t benefit from advantages like this unless they’re careful to plan their new networks from first principles.

Cisco can help service providers ensure they enter a new world of possibility rather than a dead-end.

Yes, you’ll need to invest in it – but in the long run, not doing anything will cost you a lot more.

Find out how Cisco technology can enable you to provide flexible, bespoke network services. Read more about the Cisco NFV Infrastructure

Key takeaways

Virtual networks are generating interest because of their potential to enable flexible, personalised services.

– Standard IT cloud infrastructure isn’t well-suited to virtualisation, because it’s not designed for high-bandwidth, service-provider network applications.

– Cisco offers a wide range of technology to support service providers who want to create a virtual network infrastructure.

– Among Cisco’s products are use cases that build on the basic network infrastructure, and enable service providers to fulfill specific functions, like providing agile mobile network services.

– Setting up a virtual network infrastructure themselves might save service providers some upfront costs, but it’s likely to prove more expensive in the long run.



Volker Tegtmeyer

Senior Manager, Product and Solution Marketing

SP Cloud Virtualization