Data Center Directions
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Data Center Directions
Innovating at the Edge in the Age of the Cloud
Oct 7, 2012

With the rise of Software as a Service and Social Media network service providers are witnessing a game changing shift in how consumer and business services and applications are delivered. Some service providers see the opportunity to break beyond their connection oriented business model and embrace these new cloud-based services. In order to do so they are looking for ways to adapt their networks to accommodate these new services.


Service Delivery on the Edge

In order to take advantage of the new business models brought about by the service transformation network service providers need to consider a number of factors, including adopting progressive business and monetization strategies and considering subscribers’ preferences in the service definition process. For the network service provider the most critical change is to leverage the underlying network architecture to support the new service offerings. As a result the traditional architecture of service provider edge networks is undergoing an aggressive period of evolution and shifting focus from simply a point of network connectivity to becoming a vital services creation and innovation point.


Subscriber Defined Services

Matching services and applications to customer expectations has always been a formidable challenge for telecom operators. However, it is now even more difficult given that the expectations of a telecom subscriber have changed drastically over the past few years. In the past consumer and business subscribers were tethered to the network services provider as their sole source of services, but today these subscribers have connections to OTT providers and access a variety of personal and business applications. An Important change is that these subscribers are not just service consumers, but they are also shaping service innovations by leveraging more intelligent and programmable platforms and devices.


The Need for Service Innovation

There is powerful change going on in the service delivery relationship between subscribers and networks that is driven by subscribers on a much larger scale than ever before. To meet these expectations, operators must adopt new approaches in their service delivery infrastructures, especially at the network edge. They need to shorten the time to market for new applications in order to maximize opportunities and capture customer loyalty. Cloud architectures inherently require a more open and flexible software architecture to support delivery of more specialized services. Since the edge is a first point of contact in service execution, a more software intensive edge architecture is important for enabling the adoption of services and applications in the cloud. This is leading to the development of what we call "The Universal Edge." 


The Rise of the Universal Edge

The Universal Edge is not a single product, but a more agile combination of elements that can be flexibly deployed to meet an operator’s goals. In contrast to the “siloed” hardware and software implementations of a traditional network edge, the Universal Edge utilizes modular software, extensible control and management planes, and highly scalable hardware solutions to achieve its flexibility. This approach allows services to be more easily virtualized and distributed to meet specific requirements without compromising overall performance. The Universal Edge will leverage a number of design elements to increase scale, enhance agility and innovation. 


To learn more see, The Innovative Edge: The Rise of Cloud-Based Services - by Heavy Reading, and visit Juniper’s Universal Edge Page where we introduce the next generation of MX technology that is enabling service providers to push innovation to the edge.