Most organizations delivering managed services today, regardless of the service type, are still heavily using manual or at best semi-automated processes.
This makes these services difficult to re-tool. It is often the case that providing new services to a customer requires you to buy new gear, wait for it, configure it, and then send it to a technician in the field who will install a new physical box in order to provide that service.
In fact, I spoke with one organization recently, that estimated it would take them at least 6 months to deploy a new security service to customers using physical hardware.
This makes it very difficult to remain competitive.
We have seen similar examples of this need to expedite an industry’s ability to get to a prototype and end result more quickly. 3D printing comes to mind as a good example of how new technology enabled them to revolutionize their approach, in this case for manufacturing prototype builds. 3D printing allows a product to be rapidly prototyped and discarded if the prototype is not viable.
Virtualization similarly enables rapid prototyping, and rapid discard for non-viable services. By enabling automation, virtualization allows product managers to quickly architect, design, test, and validate new services before they are rolled out into the market.
This sounds good, because it is. However, it is important that you keep a few things in mind as you select a platform for your network. First you need to find a platform that provides versatility and scale. You want to work with a vendor who can help you to deploy your VNF in your network where it makes the most sense for your business, your operating model, and your customers. We have seen scenarios where service providers find it easier to start with a centralized model, and others who find it easier to start with a distributed model.
Additionally, your platform investment should deliver on current plans with VNFs, but also be extensible to support future scale. The versatility of VNFs is extremely beneficial to get services up and running, but there is a threshold where it makes economic sense to cut over to a built for purpose hardware solution.
There are many choices to make when creating a platform with which to deploy virtual security (and other) services, but the desired end state is this – a scalable, open, end-to-end solution, that allows for customer driven, creation of services in the shortest amount of time.
I recently had the pleasure of attending Juniper Networks’ annual partner planning event in San Diego. While the show was great, and I highly encourage all of our Juniper partners to attend our next event, one of the sessions that stood out for me was Scott Stevens session on Key Value Drivers for the channel. Scott is the Managing Director of Technology and Investment Banking at William Blair & Company, a global investment banking and asset management firm, based out of Chicago.Read more...
As I head into this year’s INTX Conference, I’m excited to see how our customers are tackling the continued demand for bandwidth that drives year-over-year, double-digit capacity growth on their present networks.
Cable operators are very familiar with solving impossible problems.
Consider this, demand for services and bandwidth on cable networks continues to grow at 50-60% a year, new competitors are entering the market offering fiber-to-the-home and over-the-top services that threaten their installed base, and existing competitors are trying to buy back market share by competing on price.
Yet, according to a recent FierceTelecom article, the cable broadband subscriber growth continues to outpace the traditional Telcos. In fact, US cable companies picked up 767,629 new subscribers in 3Q15, while their Telco competitors lost 143,338. On the commercial side, Comcast was named the fastest growing Ethernet provider by Vertical Systems Group’s year-end 2014 US Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard.
How does Cable manage to outperform the competition? InnovationRead more...
The annual Cable Congress was held in Brussels from 11-13 March, and Juniper Networks were there along with our partner Gainspeed. For those not familiar with Cable Congress it brings together executives from companies spanning the entire cable ecosystem from content producers to equipment vendors to cable operator and service providers to policy makers. This year’s event attracted over 800 attendees from 42 countries including representatives from some 200 service providers and 75 content providers. A truly global gathering of the cable industry.Read more...
In the past few weeks, Juniper has announced a series of new products and initiatives centered on virtualization. We’ve announced our Virtual MX product, a direct implementation of our MX 3D Edge Router in a hypervisor environment. We also announced advances in our Contrail Cloud NFV system, and a slew of advancements in Junos DevOps automation and orchestration.
Many of our cable customers are asking, what does this mean for us?
In modern cable and Internet networks, agility is quickly moving from buzzword to value creator. While today’s networks are excellent examples of robust and advanced technology, the reality is that software based services that ride “Over The Top” of the network have been able to innovate and deploy new services faster than status quo networking. These OTT services are often competing with the core product offerings of cable operators, thus pushing the network into bit-cheap connectivity. This presents the cable industry with a dilemma.
To answer OTT competition, should the cable industry simply replicate the software and service environments of those OTT providers? While this may be tempting, and provide a fast path to market, it does not leverage the intrinsic value of the network itself to enable new and disruptive packet based cable products and services. OTT providers are what they are because they don’t have a network. Cable has the network, and can construct something truly new and innovative.
At Juniper we believe that data in motion, as in a network, creates value from that data. But we also believe that data in motion, coupled with policy, assurance, scale, reliability and operational simplicity unlocks more value per bit on large networks. This philosophy, combined with a cable product offering analogous to, but not a clone of the OTT providers, is key for cable operators moving forward. Leverage the network to build great products and services.
So back to virtualization. New products from Juniper like Virtual MX, Contrail Cloud NFV and our DevOps automation and orchestration systems enable the same sort of agility and disruptive innovation at the network layer that also exists at the application layer. We can now, for the first time, turn scalable, trustworthy routing into a malleable, extensive resource based on software and cloud computing infrastructures. Turning up new services can take seconds instead of weeks. Scaling infrastructure can be done in a graceful manner instead of huge steps. And operating these networks becomes simpler and driven by advanced software analytics.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss how Juniper’s products and services can help the cable industry advance towards new and disruptive products, services, and innovative uses of data in motion.
Students participate in SDN Workshop and Competition with Juniper Networks and Comcast Communications. The weeklong event provided students access to industry experts on Software Defined Networking and the opportunity to write an application that solves a real network challenge.
Perhaps the most significant challenge facing the internet today is the ability for service providers to keep up with the rapid pace of demand for content, services, and bandwidth from residential and commercial subscribers, while maintaining an economically viable business model. Yes, the network has become a bottleneck. Its static nature is not capable of keeping up with the increasing real-time demands for services and applications.
A new approach to network architecture is required, which will enable network operators to respond with greater agility to consumer and corporate demands for dynamic application delivery across a variety of access types. Service Providers need a network that is open, programmable, and responsive to network traffic patterns and loads real-time.
However, today’s internet infrastructure is comprised of a wide array of different, and in many cases, unique, fit for purpose components. Each of these components is built as a monolithic embedded system, meaning that the hardware and software is uniquely designed for each product or product family. While many of these network devices run an operating system (OS), the operating systems they run are often customized to be tightly integrated with the device/platform and specific network applications they were designed to support. Because of this, few of them are truly open to 3rd party development and even fewer, if any, allow for new software features to be added without requiring the network operator to update the entire software image.
This approach is actually similar to the embedded OS on your Smartphone, which is the OS that you don’t see. This is the OS that handles signaling, authentication, call set up, cell hand off, and data forwarding to and from the cellular network. Clearly this OS is very different from the OS that manages the user interface and applications. The one you do see. It is this second OS that provides the ability for 3rd party developers to write applications for your Smartphone platform that can be installed and removed without affecting the entire system.
So how do we get to a network that provides a user experience more like the OS we experience on our Smartphone, yet still handles the ‘important stuff’ that provides the real-time responsiveness and QoS that we expect from the network today?Read more...
Earlier today at the SCTE CableTec Expo in Denver, Colorado, I had the opportunity to present Juniper’s vision and architecture for a cable oriented packet optical core and metro transport system. In front of an audience of about 150 cable industry engineers, architects and operators, I spoke of a network in which packets become the foundational technology for a network transport system that enables huge scale, efficiency, elasticity and programmability. We are calling this the Cable Metro Packet Optical Transport System. This architecture fits into Juniper’s larger vision for cable, which is an all-packet, end-to-end multiservice delivery platform for advanced cable services and applications.
Modern cable metro and core networks are today built in very fragmented, isolated layers. Typically there is an optical transport group managing DWDM and ROADM technology, and an IP or IP/MPLS group managing packet routing and switching. This division of labor results in a less than optimal system, where investment in one layer is sometimes unmatched in another, or bandwidth is allocated in a manner unaligned with the application demands of the network, or the time to scale and implement network upgrades is significantly longer than the ideal.
At Juniper we propose to merge the optical and packet layers into a single entity, creating a fluid, fabric-like transport layer that is programmable and adaptable to the business demands of cable networks. By leveraging the latest technology in integrated 100 (and future 400 and 1000) Gb/s transponders, advanced silicon switching, and software defined networking, we can construct a network to carry all services that a cable operator is offering (residential and commercial) on one network, in a converged manner, with common management, analytics and traffic engineering processes.
IP networks, as the foundational technology of Internet connectivity, are nearly infinitely flexible and malleable; indeed the any-to-any, statistical multiplexing connectivity model of IP is one of its most appealing attributes. However, IP by itself can also be unpredictable. The hop-by-hop lookup nature of IP means there can be a degree of uncertainty in path selection and protection. Traffic engineering in an IP environment is often very coarse, based on IGP metrics or manual, policy based routing configurations. Transport networks, by contrast, are very linear and predictable, a known entity, and offer a stable platform upon which to build contemporary networks.
To architect a flexible transport fabric using packet-optical methods, we need the best of both worlds – the any-to-any, statmux benefits of IP with the predictability and management of optical transport. MPLS provides the necessary tools to build this system. By applying the services framework that MPLS and MPLS Traffic Engineering provides to the latest in optics, silicon and SDN, we can create a truly differentiated transport network for modern cable networks.
MPLS provides a mature, proven, standards based framework for implementing policy driven services in packet networks. MPLS isn’t just for telephone companies or organizations selling circuits. Rather it provides an abstraction layer and structure for implementing reliable packet based services across any type of network infrastructure. MPLS Traffic Engineering, when coupled with an external controller known as a Path Computation Engine, creates the ability to construct a full mesh of paths (known as LSP’s, or Label Switched Paths) of infinitely variable size between elements in a network – using policy defined by the network operator and influenced in real time by actual conditions in the network infrastructure.
Contemporary networks often result in stranded bandwidth – bandwidth that is unused because of the point-to-point nature of optical transport. But MPLS and the packet optical architecture eliminate this stranded bandwidth, resulting in greater efficiency in the network and better throughput for applications. Pure IP networks often have no ability to create value added services such as VPN’s or ensuring latency sensitive applications take specific paths, or advanced OAM (management) services. But MPLS natively provides all of this. MPLS can also carry all IPv4 and IPv6 based high-speed data or residential Internet services. Indeed, any service offered over this architecture benefits from the statistical multiplexing benefits of packets and the policy creation framework of MPLS TE.
At Juniper we believe the future of cable networks is in packets. Our vision is that of an all-packet, end-to-end multiservice delivery system for advanced cable applications and services. This vision extends into the access layer of the network as well. Working with our partners at Gainspeed, Juniper is developing a modernization of the cable last mile to where all-IP, all-DOCSIS multi-gigabit access infrastructure for both commercial and residential services is a reality. When realized, the all-packet access network coupled with an all-packet core and metro network will result in a very progressive, flexible and efficient network system for the cable operator.
For more information on our innovations for the cable industry, including the Cable Metro Packet Optical Transport System, visit our www.juniper.net web page or reach out to your Juniper cable account team. We are co-developing this vision with many major cable operators, and we welcome your feedback.