It’s been a year since Comcast commented on the importance of Segment Routing in an announcement we made at MPLS World Congress 2015. The topic sparked even more interest after Dave Ward’s keynote (see featured content) at this very same event.
Since then, Segment Routing is a top-of-mind topic and innovative use cases are popping up all over. The most recent one comes from Wolfe.net where they are using Segment Routing to simplify and speed up their delivery of MPLS to the customer edge.
“We’ve seen a shift in our customer base requiring much higher levels of programmability in high bandwidth applications like video distribution and gaming. I started implementing Segment Routing last August to fill this need. It provides me with the network simplification and service flexibility I need to differentiate Wolfe.net in a competitive market. Segment Routing also gives me the best platform to take advantage of SDN, path optimization, and advanced telemetry as we expand.” Michael Scott, General Manager, Wolfe.net
I thought it made sense to discuss this customer’s use of Segment Routing on his Cisco ASR 9000 network because it provides us with a bit of foreshadowing. When we talk about the growth of Digitization it tends to mean different things to different people. Depending on your service mix or your user base, digitization may mean more sensors or devices to connect and monitor or more on-demand services hosted from the network and the cloud. In the case of Wolfe, it means they are seeing the opportunity to deliver big chunks of bandwidth to broadcasters and for special events such as gaming conventions. This bandwidth is latency sensitive and must be delivered over a highly reliable network. However, this group of customers doesn’t want to pay a monthly service fee and they won’t wait a month for you to figure out the provisioning. This service might only be used for a few minutes, and that little caveat requires a new approach – which can be achieved using Segment Routing.
The use of Segment Routing is the first of three phases for Application Engineered Routing (e.g. we formally announced it in March 2015). With AER we combined the Segment Routing protocol with SDN programmability so services can be directed by end user applications, resulting in network simplification and improved service resiliency.
I’m thankful for the Michael Scott’s of the world. As Digitization transforms the landscape for service providers of all shapes and sizes, it’s important to be nimble and to plan for the future. If you’re going to MPLS+SDN+NFV World Congress next week in Paris, look me up in the Cisco booth. I’d love to discuss Segment Routing further.