Modern network technology makes lots of things possible: more efficient data transport, advanced analytics, better security, and more. But turning these features into profitable services has always been a challenge.

Established ways of configuring services, which involve custom coding and manual processes, are cumbersome and time-consuming at the best of times. And the way the modern digital economy works is increasing the pressure on carriers. There is a growing expectation of fast, flexible services. And not only do customers have a wide variety of different needs – these needs are constantly changing, too. The old ways of working are no longer fit for purpose.

Now, Network Services Orchestration (NSO) means that services can be configured at a software level, decoupled from physical hardware. This makes everything a lot simpler – and brings a huge amount of flexibility to how you can deliver services. And you can do this in an automated way, saving time and reducing human error.


Helping Equinix deliver on-demand connections

Equinix provides interconnection and data centre services, serving more than 4800 customers through network-neutral International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres across 15 countries.

Cisco NSO solution enabled Equinix to respond to businesses’ increasing demands for secure, high-performance and reliable connectivity to a wide range of different cloud providers. Previously, provisioning in these multivendor networks had taken Equinix days or weeks. Equinix harnessed the power of NSO to set up Cloud Exchange, an interconnection service that provides on-demand private virtual connections for direct access to cloud provider services.

Customers can now provision multiple cloud services connections in near real-time through a secure self-service portal. The time taken to activate services has been slashed to about a tenth of what was typical without Cisco NSO. By setting up near zero-touch provisioning, Equinix has improved its operational efficiency, and can now offer a better customer experience.

Enabling the networking app store

NSO can enable other service providers to do what Equinix did and provide fast, flexible on-demand services. The benefits of this capability are limitless. A live events company could configure a public wireless network so spectators can use social media. A retail company could set up contactless payment at a pop-up store. Or a fast-growing start-up could add extra bandwidth, security and locations to its network.

In the past, each of these might have involved a convoluted ordering process and be fraught with the potential for holdups. But programmable networks enabled by NSO make it easy. A service provider’s customers can choose and activate the services they need in minutes, as easily as they download a new app to their phone.

Another business that has taken advantage of this new capability is Dimension Data New Zealand. Dimension Data was able to deliver a cloud-based desktop service to its clients at a low price point. The service had a fast time to market, with the ability to add more capacity in hours and deploy hundreds of new desktops in minutes.

An agile, automated network is the foundation for this provisioning model, enabling an explosion of innovation and powering new revenue streams. Businesses have only just begun to realise the possibilities – and the Internet of Things will bring many further opportunities.

NSO also helps you gain a competitive edge by bringing new products to market quickly. Despite the complexity of what they needed to do, Equinix were able to launch Cloud Exchange within 90 days of starting the procurement process.

Fuelling innovation through open standards

Cisco is serious about innovation. We invest billions of dollars in research every year and developed many of the technologies that make programmable networks possible.

We are also taking the lead in promoting future-flexible programmable networks through our commitment to open standards. Our technology uses open APIs so it’s easy to integrate it with other applications and modify services easily and cost-effectively when you need to. We understand that working together will fuel the innovations of the future.


  • Turning network technology into profitable services has always been a challenge, because of the time-consuming work involved.
  • A Network Service Orchestration solution means that services can be configured at a software level, decoupled from physical hardware, bringing a huge amount of flexibility to how you can deliver services.
  • In effect, service providers can now create their own networking app stores, where their customers can define and activate the services they need in minutes.
  • If you want to learn more: visit our Evolved Programmable Network page.




Christian Thomas

Head of Pre-sales engineering

Global Service Provider,Cisco France