By Daniel Etman, Director of Product Management, Cable Access Business, Cisco
Cisco is leading the discussion about virtualizing network functions this week at the SCTE event in Philadelphia. By providing an open and programmable software-based platform that can support both data and video processing in headends and data centers, cable operators can simplify and automate their operations enabling them to deliver scalable services at web velocity.
As Cisco was executing on its virtualization strategy for its routing and mobility portfolios we started designing the building blocks for virtualizing the CCAP and moving it into the cloud. Our engineering teams started working on a solution with improved efficiencies at several levels compared with a traditional CMTS solution:
- Easier scaling of CMTS processing power – simply add more cloud resources when needed
- Reduced power, cooling and physical footprint at the hub as functions are moved outside the hub
- Optimization through scale: if one hub is idle and another is busy the cloud resources can be shifted as needed
- Breaking the confines of embedded programming associated with purpose-built hardware based platforms. In an embedded environment there can be CPU and memory bottlenecks and there are limited development tools
This virtual CCAP solution will bring full feature parity with the existing installed base of cBR8’s and offers the fastest time to deploy a mature, feature-complete CMTS.
Orchestration is a key part of deploying these virtualized services as a virtualized product is only a very small part of the total solution enabling virtualized services. Automation and service assurance go hand in hand with orchestration driving down network complexities and reducing TCO. Cisco is building an end-to-end solution to cross orchestrate the data center, remote phy device (RPD) and the network in between. This solution is micro-services based, open, and built to integrate with legacy network management components.
While virtualization certainly brings benefits, it also creates new challenges that do not exist in a hardware-based platform. In fact, based on our research and development Cisco was granted a patent in June of this year on the architecture enabling a “Virtual cable modem termination system”.
Find Out More at SCTE in Philadelphia
Want to see it in action? Come by booth #648 at the SCTE Cable-Tech Expo this week, or contact your Cisco account team for a personal demonstration.