The Programmable Network: Elastic Services
In our last blog on “Advanced Flow Control” we used the metaphor of a three-dimensional collection of intersecting highways of many different kinds with a wide array of vehicles carrying various types of passengers to represent the Internet of Everything (IoE). The IoE concept has come a long way since it was first coined by the Auto-ID Center. Today the concept has broadened into a catch all for current and future network-connected endpoints, from smart meters to vending machines, security cameras, all forms of transportation, and consumer electronics ─ not to mention PCs, tablets, and smartphones. People with electronic tags will one day be connected to the IoE to monitor their health. Many dogs and cats already have chips for location tracking. The opportunity for new services will be unlimited and customers will expect instant access to networking resources to launch, alter, or eliminate those services.
Instant Resources for a Spontaneous World
Okay, back to the metaphor of different kinds of highways, vehicles, and passengers. The IoE is getting bigger and more complex every day. The need for programmable networks to quickly and fluidly set up and tear down cloud resources has never been more apparent. Network highways and data center compute and storage resources need to expand and contract based on the number of services and consumers that need to use them at any given time. This is the notion of “elasticity” in cloud services.
Imagine services ordered by users on self-service portals, provisioned on virtual resources with a high degree of automation, and available for use in minutes instead of days, weeks or months. Network complexity is hidden from applications. Operational processes are simplified and automated. Operational costs are greatly reduced. Business agility is increased.
Does this sound like a bunch of marketing hype? It isn’t. Elastic services are real and available today as part of the Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE).
Welcome to Greater Simplicity and Velocity in Service Creation and Management
Sure, there are existing solutions for orchestrating services on virtual machines. But to-date they have been complex and limited. And if levels of demand change over time, there isn’t any automated way for scaling resources up or down, with automation limited to separate domains.
But now applications have the ability to dynamically orchestrate network resources via a single point of contact across WAN and data center domains in a fully automated process-oriented way. Applications see a service view of the network and no longer just a network infrastructure. Provisioning and the configuration and monitoring of services through their entire lifecycle in the data center and the WAN are here. These capabilities have been outlined in the Software Defined Networking (SDN) standards. And now Cisco ONE ─ a software-based framework that enables providers and enterprises to develop, deploy, and maintain services easier and faster than ever before ─ is taking them a step further. Cisco ONE is a comprehensive and orchestrated approach to multilayer programmability that automates the entire network stack as a whole and the rich data within it more accessible to applications. The approach includes the bottom transport layer up through the forwarding and control planes, service orchestration, management, and application layers.
Cisco ONE Elastic Services
Through an easy-to-use online portal, customers can now request their services. An order processing system and workflow manager verify the request and Cisco ONE provides a single point to initiate the provisioning and monitoring of relevant network resources.
By automating complex service creation tasks via an intelligent and easily upgradable software solution, providers and enterprises have a much easier way to introduce network services to high-level workflows and order processes.
See Elastic Services in action in this video.
- High degree of automation accelerates service delivery and business agility
- Network complexity is hidden from higher-level applications, providing a service view of the network
- Service controllers guide VM orchestration and automatically adjust to network and application changes
- A multilayer and multiprotocol WAN orchestration function guides traffic engineering, ensuring that network resources are available for optimal application performance
Contemplating “The Great Compression”
Earlier this month, a Cisco leadership team attended the New Digital Economics Executive Brainstorm & Innovation Forum in London. A big discussion explained the need to not only streamline network operations to reduce overall costs but also to find new ways of monetizing services and heightening efficiencies that will sustain providers through changing times. In the next 10 years, many industries face what is being called’ the Great Compression’ during which, in addition to the pressures of ongoing global economic uncertainty, there will also be a major digital transformation that will destroy traditional value and move it disruptively to new areas and geographies. For providers in the near-term this may result in a Hunger Gap, a widening deficit between past and projected revenues.
Coming out of the Hunger Gap is the driver behind the quest to simplify and speed service delivery and management through SDN and other standards and approaches to programmability, automation, and orchestration.
Find out More
Features of Cisco ONE can be deployed incrementally, based on each provider’s or enterprise’s most pressing needs. We encourage you to try Cisco Next Generation Internet architecture solutions for mobile, video, and cloud based services using the Cisco ONE framework today to start reaping the benefits of network and software innovation tomorrow.