Project Illustrates How Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Work in Concert to Enhance How Networks are Designed, Operated, and Monetized

Last week, I blogged about some joint research with Cox Communications related to our Evolved Services Platform (ESP) and NFV efforts. Another collaborative took place at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) at their Cable-Tec Expo 14 event in Denver.

Loukas Paraschis, a Technology Solutions Architect at Cisco, co-wrote a paper (entitled SDN and NFV in Business Services) with Mazen Khaddam, Principal Lead Network Architect at Cox Atlanta.

The paper provides a comprehensive summary of Cisco’s SDN, NFV, and open source vision with the Cisco Evolved Services Platform (ESP). It specifically validates the service provider’s need for solutions that provide desired business outcomes for applications running across multiple domains (such as WAN and data center), and provides detailed use cases for the WAN Automation Engine (WAE).

The paper also promotes the “hybrid” control plane architecture of WAE that combines the current distributed control plane routing infrastructure, with a unified controller platform that provides significant network visibility and programmability.


Mr. Khaddam’s presentation covers different SDN categories, NFV examples in business services, and use cases for WAN SDN.

Khaddam distinguishes between infrastructure-based SDN (such as WAE) and virtualization SDN for managing multiple tenants and applications in a data center. An example of the latter, diagramed here, forms the basis for some of the virtualized managed business services we announced on September 29.


In this example, individual customers are assigned service chains in that span multiple physical servers in different locations. These services may be selectable by the customers themselves using a service broker or a provider-created portal.

With SDN and NFV working in concert, Cox and Cisco are illustrating that services can be placed anywhere in the network, according to the needs of specific applications, thus enhancing the way networks can be designed, operated, and monetized.


Alan Sardella

Manager, Product Marketing