Telecom and web Service providers are facing unprecedented challenges. And to address them, they’re transforming the way their networks operate.

The rise of offerings like 5G and ultra high definition video is changing customer expectations. In coming years, people will expect to access services like these instantly and flawlessly. Supporting them will require networks that can supply large bandwidths, high speeds and low latencies.

Current demands are putting a big strain on networks and data centres, and they are only going to increase. Cisco’s latest Global Cloud Index forecast predicts that annual global data centre IP traffic will reach 20.6 zettabytes by the end of 2021 – 3 times more than its level of 2016.

To adapt to this environment, service providers are changing the way they operate. It’s no longer feasible to push all traffic through centralised data centres via the network core. So providers are responding by moving key network functions away from the core to create a more distributed architecture. Already, some service providers are using dozens of different aggregation sites distributed more widely across the network. But in future, they could be operating using thousands of mimicrodataentres in their outer network layers.

Transforming your network is a complex journey

Although this process is in its early stages, it has big implications. The nature of networking will change as traffic moves away from centralised data centres and becomes distributed across the outer layers. Moving data centre functionality to the edges of the network creates new requirements. And determining the best way forward is extremely complex.

To succeed, service providers will need to rethink the entire way they work – from strategy to technology, to operations. To take just one example, installing compute hardware to support data centre functions in the outer parts of the network involves thinking carefully about issues like air conditioning and temperature control, and the energy footprint this will demand.

If service providers can get this right, they’ll be setting themselves up for future success – but it won’t happen overnight. This isn’t a one-off project that you can set in motion, sign off and then move on from. It’s a journey that will happen over months and years.

Cisco: a partner you can trust

Service providers that want to create an efficient distributed network that can make the most of the opportunities of the future will need a strong services partner. This is about much more than technical support. It’s about finding a business partner you can trust to consult on your aims, plan the best way to achieve them, and then shape the growth of the new architecture on an ongoing basis.

Cisco certainly has the cutting-edge know-how to help you build this type of network. We can advise you, for example, on whether it would make sense to use container technology rather than open stack to reduce your overheads and energy footprint in outer network data exchanges. On the pros and cons of the various technologies, such as segment routing or Cisco’s application-centric interface (ACI), that you can use to build out your network. And on how the CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacentre) initiative can help service providers create data centre functionality in the outer network.

It’s hardly surprising that we’re experts in this technology. After all, we played a key role in creating a lot of it. But our real strength is combining this expertise with the deep experience and holistic vision that can bring everything together into a unified strategy. With our support, you can build a network that’s truly prepared for the challenges of the future.

Find out more about how you can lay the foundations for success with Cisco’s data centre solutions



Philippe Tubello

Manager, Systems Engineering

Global Service Provider - EMEAR