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Cisco Spring ’14 Packet Optical Networking Conference (PONC) – The Secret Sauce

leonard_lunaBy Leonard Luna, Senior Marketing Manager, Cisco Service Provider Solutions

Once again, network operators converged on the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose last week (May 13-15) to collaborate with their colleagues and Cisco around the packet and optical convergence evolution.  On behalf of Cisco’s engineering groups, marketing and events planning teams, we extend our sincere gratitude to all those who invested their valuable time and expertise to make the Spring ’14 PONC an exceptional event.

In this post-event blog, I will focus on what makes day one of a PONC event so compelling – shared, candid insight from those leading the Packet and Optical evolution, delivered in presentation, panel discussion and Q&A opportunities.  In a follow-up posting, I will focus on the workshops and deep dives featured on day 2.

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I also invite you to invest 90-seconds on the following video report recorded on day two of the Spring ’14 PONC featuring Bill Gartner (Cisco VP/GM, High End Routing and Optical (HERO) Business Unit), Mark Garey (tw telecom, Director Central Engineering) and Ron Johnson (Cisco, Director Product Management, HERO Business Unit):

The predominant topic at Spring ’14 PONC was the application of software defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV), which was initially broached by Bill Gartner and Brendan Gibbs (Cisco, VP Product Marketing, HERO Business Unit) in their opening presentations.  The opening keynote was provided by Rajiv Ramaswami (Broadcom, Executive VP/GM, Infrastructure and Networking Group), who explained the critical role merchant silicon continues to play in network transformation. Cisco and Broadcom have enjoyed a long and successful partnership delivering industry leading network solutions.

Sterling Perrin, senior analyst from Heavy Reading led an afternoon panel discussion on, The Role of SDN in Converged Network Architectures, featuring Shawn Morris (NTT Communications, Senior Manager, IP Development), Ravinder Shergill (TELUS, Chief IP Architect), and Ron Johnson (Cisco, Director Product Management, HERO Business Unit).  Common themes in the opening presentations from NTT and TELUS included a mutual appreciation for the potential and realized benefits of SDN, a clear appreciation for virtualization and automation, and the resulting business critical benefits of enhanced service flexibility and agility. Intriguing contrast in their presentations included unique and notably different perspectives on, and application of SDN and how they see it evolving in their networks.  And both expressed a strong interest in a single management platform to control both the packet and optical layers of their multivendor networks.  Cisco’s Ron Johnson pointed out that as operator revenue struggles to keep pace with accelerating bandwidth demand, new opportunities exist to keep pace with the Internet of Everything while driving cost out of the network architecturally. New SDN-enabled approaches to multilayer restoration, combined with new levels of network intelligence, virtualization and automation, are radically liberating what was formally a ridged and static transport layer into a highly dynamic and elastic network solutions.  Properly optimized, these capabilities can radically simplify network operations and dramatically reduce the number of costly transport interfaces by 50% or more while still preserving SLA compliance during major network failures.  This methodology would be reinforced by Cisco through out the conference in multiple workshops and live demos.

Deepak Kakadia (Verizon Labs, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff) provided the closing keynote presentation on day one adding yet another unique and highly respected approach to the application of SDN in provider networks.   Deepak’s focus is to develop a highly customized, in-house tool that efficiently leverages network analytics real-time enabling Verizon to pack more traffic into existing pipes while at the same time, achieving the same, or better quality of service (QoS) performance on a per-subscriber basis.  Deepak shared valuable tips and insight with PONC attendees who found it very insightful and revealing.  Concluding that most vendor solutions tend to be a one size fits all approach, in the spirit of PONC, Deepak offered to collaborate with other operators looking to accomplish the same.

As you can see, Cisco customers continue to be the secret sauce of PONC – a highly unique, compelling and mutually beneficial event that gets lit up twice a year.  Be part of the IP optical discussion and evolution this Fall in Monza Italy (October 28-30), or join us next Spring when it returns to San Jose, California in 2015.

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