When it comes to creating fast, flexible, on-demand services, programmability is key

Programmability is an exciting area of network technology that creates a world of new agile services for service providers.

It’s immensely powerful because it decouples the services themselves from the underlying hardware. This allows providers to model flexible services easily and without manual effort, enabling them to develop exciting new business models.

They can create innovative products. And bring them to market quickly, to keep pace with a fast-changing world.

One company that has benefited from implementing programmability is the data centre provider Equinix. In 2014, we helped the company deliver connections to its cloud provider customers through a self-service portal.

Equinix commissions its cloud service connections from multiple vendors – a process that used to take days or weeks. Using the Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), part of our suite of programmable network technology, the company created a self-service portal  that enables its customers to provision connections in near real time.

This innovation has cut the time it takes to activate new services to about one tenth of what it was before. And Equinix got the portal to market quickly: an early version was launched within 90 days of beginning the procurement process.

Programmable technology enables bespoke, on-demand services in many other instances, too. Like when a customer wants to spin up a large temporary network for broadcasting a live event online. Or rapidly scale up its network capacity as it grows.

A further advantage is that programmability brings about greater operational efficiency by making networks simpler and more efficient to operate. Service providers can automate processes, manage traffic more intelligently, and get the most out of their hardware.

How our new technology enables more programmability

The possibilities created by programmable networks are certainly exciting. But because adopting the technology is a major investment, service providers haven’t yet realised its full potential. Where programmability is used, it tends to be limited to the core network.

Now new developments are enabling service providers to really capitalise on its benefits across their network.

Cisco has developed a simple but powerful device that can be plugged into routers in the aggregation layer. It means that service providers can converge the IP and optical layers of their network, allowing them to access much more bandwidth.

Instead of having to add more fibres every time they want to increase their capacity, the solution allows them to pass 20 times more traffic down their existing fibres.

This vast increase in capacity makes it simpler and more cost-effective to deploy programmability, without costs getting out of control.

So service providers can now take programmable network paths beyond the core and closer to the customer in the access and aggregation layers. They’ll benefit from greater efficiency, agility and capacity across their network. And that will lead to better performance and stricter service level agreements.

As 5G becomes a reality, it will lead to increased demands on service providers, particularly in their aggregation networks. Our innovative solution allows them to meet customer expectations of capacity and control – both right now, and in the increasingly 5G future.

Do you want to find out more about how our convergence technology can help you benefit from programmability across your whole network? Learn more here.



Ben Colling

Manager, Sales

Global Service Provider, EMEAR