The SDN/NFV topic addresses the move to improve service velocity and simply network management thanks to the introduction of software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies.
• Segment Routing Deployed in a Backbone Network: Cisco and China Unicom collaboration, a two year endeavor, enables the operator’s nationwide MPLS VPN network to support on-demand services. Cisco notes that this represents China’s first Segment Routing (SR) deployment and leverages its SDN technologies to provide an end-to-end solution. SR also helps mitigate the use of more complicated IP protocols (like RSVP-TE), which is a big advantage and leverages the power of SDN’s centralized management model. .
• Advanced Vendor Services Accelerated Delivery: Cisco’s Advanced Services teams provided full life cycle support and coordination with China Unicom and third-party suppliers, and tackled SDN, NFV, cloud computing, ultra-broadband networking, and related technology issues for the operator. The use of vendor supplied services has always been part of the “vendor – operator” model, but virtualized technologies pose additional time-to-market issues such as mastering new technologies and dealing with the complexity of integrating multiple components.
The announcement by Cisco and China Unicom represents a tangible example of how current infrastructure networks can be transformed to deliver flexible cloud-based services by exploiting new routing and networking techniques, such as segment routing which aligns well with centralized management and control (i.e., SDN) paradigms. What makes the solution significant is the combination of multiple technologies, SR, SDN controllers, service orchestration, and the ability to quickly compute optimal traffic paths through an IP network using a path computation engine (PCE). Individual components on their own cannot deliver the resultant end-to-end solution, which supports China Unicom’s ability to offer a range of named cloud-based services (Cloud Network Connection, Cloud Networking, Cloud Broadband, Unicom Cloud Shield, Intelligent Boutique Video Network, and Boutique Financial Network) which it noted in a joint press release with Cisco. Continue reading “China Unicom and Cisco Collaborate to Deliver Cloud + Network Capabilities”→
• Automates Complex Network Slicing Process: The Contrail Network Slicing Bot aims to simplify the highly complex process of defining, creating, provisioning and managing network slicing across both physical and virtual infrastructures. Network slicing is a fundamental tenet of all 5G architectures.
• Addresses Skill Set Shortage: Juniper’s network Bots, including the Slicing Bot, help alleviate the lack of internal staff education and higher level skillsets required to use network automation tools, which are often complex and require deep network knowledge. The Slicing Bot uses a high level human friendly language to translate operator intent into actionable workflows.
Juniper’s “Slicing Bot” launch enables operators to leverage technologies such as machine learning, network telemetry and SDN control, to help reduce the complexity they face as they attempt to deploy virtual networks to meet the growing demand for faster time-to-service. The new Contrail Slicing Bot joins three other Bots, which the company launched in December 2017. The Bots enable operators to operate at a business level (i.e., intent) to help automate complex network functions that are often error prone and time consuming due to manual processes and the lack of operational skills. The three initial Bot applications offered by Juniper included PeerBot, TestBot and HealthBot, which address key pain points for operators; the new Slicing Bot tackles the highly complex, but essential process of carving up the network into virtual slices, a fundamental building block for supporting 5G services. Continue reading “MWC18: Juniper Expands its “Bots” Portfolio with the Contrail Slicing Bot, Helping to Automate More Complexity”→
While the healthcare system in the United States, and abroad, is a complex ecosystem with an array of interdependencies that are influencing the way the market is evolving, four major trends are having a strong impact circa 2018.
Shifts towards “Value-based Care”. Particularly in the U.S., the healthcare system is faced with significant rising costs due to a very large portion of its population moving into retirement age. In response, the U.S. government, the largest payer in the healthcare ecosystem, is taking steps to shift reimbursements towards “value-based payments.” A central tenet of this approach is to encourage a shift in industry focus from “paying for procedures” to “paying for outcomes”. While the business impact of this trend is to transfer increasing amounts of financial risk from payers to providers and patients, the theory is that it will also result in more targeted and effective treatment and care plans.
The need to protect profitability. As the movement towards value-based care shifts more financial risks to providers, many are taking steps such as scaling up through M&A, opening practices in desirable geographies and investing in specialties to protect their profitability. For example, hospital systems are opening urgent care facilities in suburban and rural areas, drug companies are merging and/or buying retail pharmacies, and healthcare payers are partnering with health systems to help promote wellness programs.
This year’s Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum included a strong focus on 5G core network evolution.
Unlike discrete access technology evolution, the 5G core network must evolve smoothly into a radically new form (and so must carrier organizations).
This year’s Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF 2017) was held in London and boasted a record attendance of 1,400. Nevertheless, that particular number (of people) was completely eclipsed by the ‘number clouds’ appearing on massive screens behind Huawei’s CEO, Ken Hu, as he delivered his opening pitch. Driven by the increasing number of machines which will be connected to the 5G network in the coming years, cows – connected cows; one billion of them – were his first 5G use-case illustration. Continue reading “Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2017: From Connected Cows to 5G Core Network (R)evolution”→
• This year’s SDN NFV World Congress was marked by the two major open source MANO projects firing salvos at each other.
• At the end of the day, operators will choose what ‘works on the ground’, and that will be sourced from vendors and systems integrators, not open source groups.
This year’s “fifth anniversary of NFV” SDN NFV World Congress in The Hague, Netherlands prompted many appraisals of industry progress. One of the most fundamental developments during this period has been the inexorable rise of open source software. This has been particularly surprising in the NFV Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) space, generating a vast amount of activity and subsequent consolidation that has now distilled into two major open source projects vying for leadership: Open Source MANO (OSM) and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). With an OSM Workshop on the Monday and an ONAP Mini-Summit on the Thursday, the two projects comprehensively “bookended” the Congress. Operators and vendors sometimes referenced one or other (or both) during the intervening days, so there could be no doubt as to their importance to the industry.
• Calix, ADTRAN and Nokia, in that order, all hosted media/analyst events this summer which highlighted each vendor’s focus on software-defined access (SDA) solutions.
• Differentiation of SDA solutions between vendors will be more challenging than previous, hardware/performance-focused comparisons. As such, the clearest differentiation for and between vendor SDA solutions will be customer/operator wins, the bigger and more numerous, the better.
With the fall equinox upon us, it is timely to reflect on the summer of SDA. From June through August, SDA was a hot topic for three key fixed access systems vendors: Calix, ADTRAN and Nokia.
• Webscale influence on new product developments is being felt in data center interconnect and massively scalable switching and transport gear.
• Traditional telcos, however, are using these new Webscale-driven platforms to retool their own networks and prepare to deliver more agile services to protect their service base.
Since the first public networks were built, incumbent telcos like Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and AT&T have ruled network equipment roadmaps and investments – dictating the features, operation and capabilities of new networking products. However, more recently Webscale operators are the influencers. Whereas vendors had been focused on providing the high capacity and broad coverage required by rapid smartphone adoption and a massive increase in video traffic, the focus has steadily turned to support massive, low-latency throughput between the data centers that serve the most popular brands on the Internet, dubbed FAMGA (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon). Traditional network operators are scrambling to adapt to this change in service delivery focus, and better prepare their networks for the emerging 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) era. Continue reading “Webscales Yield Heavy Market Influence: Google, Facebook and Others Driving Network Equipment Roadmaps”→