SD-WAN for the Cloud Era: Enterprise Priorities and Telco Opportunities

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • SD-WAN adoption is growing and the number of vendors in the market stays high, but the architecture of SD-WAN mimics legacy WAN infrastructures, not necessarily aligning with public cloud adoption trends and evolving traffic patterns in the enterprise.
  • SD-WAN solutions need to evolve by adding capabilities that align with enterprise ‘cloud-first’ priorities and allow operators to use their edge infrastructure as a competitive differentiator.

The history of SD-WAN started with the first solutions designed to offer enterprises a way of building secure and controlled WAN environments, without resorting to costly and often scarce telco services like MPLS. The market has grown to dozens of vendors, and most telecommunication operators offer one or more SD-WAN solutions in their portfolio. But the development of the market so far has brought to light two main shortcomings of most SD-WAN solutions, affecting enterprise users and telco operators, respectively: Continue reading “SD-WAN for the Cloud Era: Enterprise Priorities and Telco Opportunities”

CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE to Merge as Insular Cable Industry Consolidates

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE signed a letter of intent to combine, with the process likely to be finalized in December with the expected endorsement by thousands of SCTE/ISBE members.
  • The move marks yet another sign of cable industry consolidation, itself a product of impending cable MSO technological transformation.

The two largest R&D engineering houses focused on innovations for cable operators announced plans in November to join forces.  CableLabs, whose membership comprises only cable system operators in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and Australia, announced it will align with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers/International Society of Broadband Experts (SCTE/ISBE), which represents both operators and vendors.  In point of fact, the two bodies have complemented each other’s work for a long time.  The merger is supposed to bring the two constituencies closer together and accelerate the pace of commercialization of new standards – primarily the impending introduction of symmetrical 10 Gbps services (or 10G for short).  After the combination, SCTE/ISBE will become a subsidiary of CableLabs on January 1, 2021.  The activities of the two organizations will continue virtually unchanged though, and SCTE/ISBE will continue to offer memberships to potential members not affiliated with CableLabs. The combination signifies that the already insular cable industry is coming even closer together.  However, as the technology landscape outside of the cable ecosystem changes rapidly, further focusing of the cable sector might not be the most important change the industry needs.  A number of technical and non-technical challenges will continue to loom: Continue reading “CableLabs and SCTE/ISBE to Merge as Insular Cable Industry Consolidates”

Next-Gen Transport and Routing: Key for 5G Success

Emir Halilovic, Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • 5G transport needs to provide enough capacity, but it also needs to cater to vertical 5G use cases with high-precision and low-latency connections, provided on intelligent infrastructure.
  • Another key issue that operators will need to tackle is 5G transport diversity and complexity; as 5G radio site types diversify, operators will need to build more diverse transport networks to cover all types of sites in their network.

In the first wave of 5G deployments, operators and other players in the telecommunications ecosystem have focused primarily on innovation in radio access, allowing for key improvements next-gen radio brings to existing services like mobile broadband. But as operators start to focus on truly game-changing 5G functionality that will enable IIoT and other advanced use cases, the importance of rebuilding and rethinking transport networks for 5G becomes very clear. Continue reading “Next-Gen Transport and Routing: Key for 5G Success”

U.S. vs. Huawei: Everybody Loses

Summary Bullets:

• The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DoC) move to prohibit Huawei from buying components manufactured using U.S.-made foundry machines and silicon design tools has major implications for Huawei’s continued operations.

• However, it will also bring immediate negative effects on component suppliers (some U.S.-based), impact competition among ICT vendors, and produce uncertainty going forward.

New sanctions announced by the U.S. DoC on May 15 prohibit foundries using U.S.-made machines and software from selling chips to Huawei. In practical terms, this means that Huawei’s key silicon suppliers – Taiwanese TSMC and Chinese SMIC – would likely need to halt production of Huawei subsidiary’s HiSilicon chip designs. The immediate prospect for Huawei is especially bleak considering that the great majority of the world’s foundries use U.S.-sourced hardware or software in some parts of their process. Continue reading “U.S. vs. Huawei: Everybody Loses”

Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • OTN transport provides excellent performance in traditional transport use cases, but standard OTN has disadvantages that hamper its use in networks carrying 5G, IoT, and private line traffic.
  • Huawei’s OTN offering aims to future-proof OTN and promote its use in a wider set of use cases.

With operators facing limitations in flexibility, granularity, and traffic differentiation in their OTN networks, Huawei is introducing extensions to the technology – called Liquid OTN. It aims to improve OTN’s applicability to traffic types like 5G transport, IoT, private lines, and AR/VR, but also with a view toward making the networks more flexible and amenable to automation. Continue reading “Huawei’s Liquid OTN Promises More Flexible and Granular Optical Transport”

NGOF: Taking Optical Networks to the Next Level

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The Next Generation Optical Forum (NGOF) was founded in 2017, gathering predominantly China-based telcos, academic institutions, equipment vendors, and component/chip suppliers; in 2020, the association wants to accelerate its work on the requirements for future optical networks.
  • The current focus of the NGOF is high-quality private line technology and standards, the new generations of OTN, and 5G transport-related technologies.

Who Is the NGOF?

Founded in 2017, the NGOF has around 40 members, including network operators, system vendors, component and chip vendors, testing equipment vendors, and academic organizations. Most members are Chinese or China-based; however, some (especially on the vendor and component side) are based outside of China. Continue reading “NGOF: Taking Optical Networks to the Next Level”

VMworld Europe 2019: Powering Telco Cloud-Native Transformation

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • After forming its telco business to take a piece out of the NFV cake several years ago, VMware has continued to gain momentum with CSPs.
  • VMware is likely to expand its presence in telco networks as its core products develop to address key cloud-native transformation priorities.

At the onset of the NFV revolution, most industry players reached a consensus that the virtualized telco of the future will become a DevOps shop, running mainly on open source software components. However, even though it may work for the largest telcos, this blueprint is far from universal – as exemplified by the telco business momentum shown by one of the largest global ISVs, VMware. At the VMworld Europe event in Barcelona on November 3-7, VMworld executives put a special emphasis on their telco business, which nowadays encompasses three primary focus areas: building the telco cloud, optimizing the edge, and optimizing the radio. VMware now counts more than 100 telco cloud and service assurance clients in production serving over 800 million mobile subscribers. Telco – the only vertical business within VMware – figured prominently in the keynotes as well, with the launch of VMware’s ‘Project Maestro’ telco cloud orchestrator as one of the main points of CEO Pat Gelsinger’s presentation. Continue reading “VMworld Europe 2019: Powering Telco Cloud-Native Transformation”

Huawei Aims High with the OptiXtrans DC908 DCI Platform Launch

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Huawei launched its new DCI platform – the OptiXtrans DC908 – at Huawei Connect in Shanghai, re-entering the highly contested DCI market with a compelling product.
  • The OptiXtrans DC908 features leading platform capacity and density, as well as support for electrical and optical modules in the same box, making it applicable for a wide range of use cases.

Huawei has already gained traction in the growing DCI market with its OSN902 platform. However, its new DC908 product represents a much more ambitious entry into the DCI market fray. Continue reading “Huawei Aims High with the OptiXtrans DC908 DCI Platform Launch”

Transforming Enterprise Optical Transport with Data Center Interconnect (DCI)

Summary Bullets:

• Webscales, ICPs, and enterprises are using DCI solutions to provide high-quality, practically unlimited connectivity for their data centers, while controlling their costs through building up their own infrastructure.

• DCI vendors need to develop their solutions considering not only the connection capacity requirements, but also the increasing demands on O&M simplification, intelligence, and security.

DCI solutions have evolved, driven by the incessant growth of cloud, which will continue well into the future. According to GlobalData’s market sizing and forecast, the global cloud ecosystem expanded 24% in 2018 and reached US$ 290 billion; it will continue to grow with CAGR of 25.3% over the forecast period, reaching US$720 billion in 2022. The first use for DCI has been in providing point-to-point connectivity for large centralized data centers. But as data centers keep getting deployed throughout the network footprint – all the way to the network edge itself in edge computing installations – the demand for simple, high-performance optical solutions keep growing as well.
Continue reading “Transforming Enterprise Optical Transport with Data Center Interconnect (DCI)”

Lumina’s Funding Announcement: Big SPs Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Support from AT&T, Verizon, and Rahi Systems is a big thumbs up for both Lumina in particular and hardware-agnostic SDN in general.
  • The fact that Lumina needs external funding to grow shows that growing organically in the SDN business is still difficult.

At its launch last year as Brocade’s networking business spinoff, Lumina Networks’ value proposition focused on building a service-oriented business, catering open-source, hardware-agnostic SDN solutions to telcos and enterprises. Last week’s announcement of the company’s successful $10 million funding round (of which $8 million was from Verizon Ventures) validates this value proposition and underlines the confidence large telcos like AT&T and Verizon have in the company’s solutions and business model. Continue reading “Lumina’s Funding Announcement: Big SPs Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is”