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Making Applications and Network Infrastructure Talk

- March 17, 2015 - 4 Comments

Frederic TrateGuest blog by Frederic Trate, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

One may say this is a topic the telecom industry has been working on for many years and that’s somewhat true. Remember the time when routing protocols and QoS (Quality of Service) mechanisms were the only tools at Service Provider’s disposal to arbitrate between sensitive and non-sensitive traffic? That worked pretty well as long as Service Providers only had to support a few applications – mainly voice and data.

Over time however, as carriers began to converge networks assets into a single, unified IP infrastructure they were faced with the challenge of increasing control over their network infrastructure. Programmability was not yet an industry buzzword but Traffic Engineering techniques (e.g. MPLS TE) were successfully making inroads into service provider networks. Nevertheless, Traffic Engineering inherently came with some caveats such as scalability issues, configuration and troubleshooting complexity, just to name a few.

With the exploding growth in traffic, the sheer number of new applications – 4K Video, Mobility, Cloud Services, Internet of Everything … – legacy Traffic Engineering techniques are struggling to deliver the expected outcomes – it is time to give carriers new tools to help them bring applications and network interaction to the next level!

With the Application Engineered Routing announcement, Cisco is spot-on to provide the industry with a timely and efficient solution.

What exactly is Application Engineered Routing? This is a new solution that is not only enhancing our customer’s network infrastructure but also leverages SDN programmability to give further control on how the network infrastructure is delivering applications.

You may ask yourself why it matters so much to our customers?

  • We are seeing more and more customers requesting their Service Provider to route their traffic avoiding certain countries for obvious privacy and security issues. This looks like a simple request on paper but this ends up being complex and cumbersome to implement at scale.
  • Some industry verticals have specific requirements. Take the case of finance – some of their data traffic is highly critical and requires stringent latency SLAs. With current techniques, this can be achieved only by investing into dedicated network infrastructure and is hence not cost effective.

The Application Engineered Routing solution brings multiple positive business outcomes to customers:

  • Unleashed service innovation results in incremental revenues. By removing scalability barriers and augmenting the scope of application (End-to-End – from Data Center through WAN to End User), Service Providers can deliver new services that were simply not possible before.
  • Lower Capital Expenditures as dynamic rerouting of traffic ensures higher link utilization.
  • Simplified configuration and troubleshooting along with network resiliency results into lower Operational Expenditures.

Application Engineered Routing Phase 1 is available now and is grounded on Segment Routing, a routing innovation that Cisco has led in standards and has been introducing into the market for about 2 years now.

Want to learn more? Read our next blog on Application Engineered Routing where we will explain with a simple analogy how all this works.

Have questions or comments? Tweet us at @CiscoSP360.

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4 Comments

    I have a scenario where SR can be beneficial, but the network is multi-vendor (Chinese) and Cisco ASR9K Core is CRS-3. From where I can get more detailed technical information that can be useful to deploy only SR at phase-1 without SDN Controller as the applications are static and traffic patterns are static, we don't see an immediate need for SDN controller to do the fancy stuff. Appreciate if someone can provide more technical explanation with the platforms and inter-operability with Chinese vendors..

    Helpful information, thank you for sharing it.

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