IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

It's time carriers embrace opportunities from the Cloud

Mon 10 Aug 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As enterprises embrace the cloud, carriers have an incredible opportunity to assist with migration, layer on orchestration, and differentiate their services using SDN and NFV.

Enterprises are voracious consumers of bandwidth – and the use of that bandwidth is changing. The bread-and-butter for enterprise connectivity has been WANs, wide area networks that connect disparate business locations.

Carriers, of course, offer a variety of technologies for enterprise WANs, such as the commonly used SONET/SDH and Carrier Ethernet, running over fibre in metro areas, across countries and through undersea fibre links. Those are adequate for yesterday’s WANs, but aren’t enough for tomorrow’s new reality: links to the cloud.

As enterprises embrace the cloud, bandwidth needs change, and so do customer expectations. With cloud applications, branch offices don’t connect to a small number of enterprise data centers; instead, they link to multiple cloud hosts.

Connections must be created and changed quickly, in a matter of hours or days – and the traditional snail’s pace for provisioning new services is simply unacceptable. What’s more, enterprises expect bandwidth to be scalable, safe and secure, and project the corporate network boundary across all of its connectivity.

The requirements of enterprises migrating to the cloud represent a challenge, and an opportunity, for carriers, cloud service providers, equipment makers and the industry. Telcos and others are already embracing new standards, and layering on advanced orchestration and service differentiation, to seize these new opportunities.

The core enablers: IP, carrier ethernet, SDN and NFV

At the heart of advanced carrier connectivity is IP, which is replacing other private-line protocols. “The service providers are tasked with migrating customers,” explains Erin Dunne, Director of Research Services for analyst firm Vertical Systems Group.

“You have many large service providers out there that have said, the old stuff is going away, and we're moving everything to IP. That's a huge task.”

Moving to IP in the carrier realm means offering customers Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0), a wide-area Ethernet service that provides multiple classes of service, manageability and interconnects.

Often implemented on top of MPLS, CE 2.0 carries virtual LANs to provide point-to-point links. Some CE 2.0 services are provisioned to be point-to-point links to provide access to applications; others are configured as multipoint-to-multipoint to handle data broadcasting, video conferencing, and support of multiple data centers.

The other two core protocols for the modern network are Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). SDN separates the router’s control plane from the data plane, distributing intelligence throughout the network.

This not only allows the network to be quickly reconfigured without a truck roll, but also allows it to adapt and grow without minimal changes to expensive routers and switches. NFV allows carrier and enterprises to implement additional functions directly on the network itself, such as firewalls and load balancers, without additional hardware

According to a broad consensus amount industry researchers, about a third of service providers are currently using SDN and NFV in their Ethernet or IP VPN service networks or they're planning to do in 2015. About half are planning or considering SDN and NFV deployments further out in 2016 or later. Only 15% of service providers have no plans to deploy SDN and NFV in networks.

Orchestration builds on the care

Enterprises require more bandwidth, flexible connectivity and rapid provisioning, in many cases to support cloud migrations. Protocols and technologies like IP, CE 2.0, SDN and NFV allow carriers to offer those services to support enterprise WANs.

What’s needed to make it work? Lifecycle service orchestration (LSO), which lets carriers quickly provision new services, and also gives enterprises the ability to, in some cases, self-manage their connectivity.

The organisation driving much of today’s standards work behind LSO is the MEF, which also developed Carrier Ethernet. According to Kevin Vachon, COO of the MEF, there are several drivers enabling orchestration:

“Firstly, SDN inherently drives the need to have more complexity and sophistication at the software layer and less at the hardware layer. So as compared to traditional networks where you had a lot of smarts in the hardware, some smarts in the software, SDN is the opposite,” he said.

“You see this sophistication requirement as compared to traditional proprietary networks flipping around, much more sophistication in software. And SDN is happening.”

The second factor driving the need for a substantial service orchestration capability, Vachon continued, is market demand for on-demand and agile services.

“Businesses want to have bandwidth on demand. They want to get network as a service. They want to be able to buy a network capability. They want to be able to get it quickly, they don't want to wait three months.”

Vachon added, “Customers want to have self service portals. If you're going into a portal to change the characteristics of your service, you can't have an army of people in a back room making those network changes on the fly on a live network. There has to be automation.”

“It's no surprise to me in that the industry is moving in the cloud direction,” Vachon said. “Cloud services, cloud applications cannot realise their full potential if the network fabric underneath is not dynamic and agile and automated and so on and so forth.”

Carriers see the value of orchestration, said Amit Sinha Roy, Vice President of global telco Tata Communications, and are beginning to realise LSO will help make networking services more efficient to provide.

“It’s across the lifecycle of the relationship that a provider has with a customer,” added Roy. “Starting from provisioning the service itself, going through to the control, the performance, automation, usage, monitoring, even managing security, pushing policies. It's across the entire lifecycle. Right from the start of the service, the relationship through managing the service and then even switching it off. That's the entire lifecycle that LSO would help manage.”

Orchestration and the cloud

Gint Atkinson, Vice President, Network Strategy and Architecture for network provider KVH Colt, described a real-world scenario about the carrier challenges — and orchestration opportunities — for connecting enterprises directly to cloud service providers. His examples used Amazon Web Services’s Direct Connect service linked directly to an enterprise data center with a CE 2.0-based point-to-point link, called an E-Line.

“Minimally, on the E-Line going from AWS Direct Connect to the connectivity into the data center to somewhere else, all the way to the user's data center, their private cloud and then all the way back into a branch office, there are many Ethernet segments inside there, each one separately provisioned and then orchestrated,” he explained.

“Layer 2 connectivity into AWS can be problematic,” Atkinson continued. “Enterprises need to set up Layer 3 services. Configuring the virtual router is something a service provider can come in, and it’s easiest with end-to-end lifecycle orchestration.”

Taking the cloud connection scenario to the next step requires NFV, he said, when the customer realizes that they're having security issues or a huge slice of that network capacity and CPU capacity is consumed by dirty data. In this situation, an NFV-based security solution from Wedge Networks would solve the problem.

“Now someone in that service chain wants to spin up a security service and Wedge Networks can come in with their NFV and this gets spun up all in orchestration.

It's not just a security function, I'm going to have dozens of other functions that I want to spin up over time. But I really can't do it now quickly and easily because I don't have lifecycle orchestration.”

Atkinson advised, “SDN is not the bleeding edge any more, it's leading edge. And the same thing with NFV, it's not bleeding edge any more. And to really maximise the value out of these capabilities and make new service mixes and a new experience for the users of cloud connectivity, we need lifecycle orchestration.”

The manufacturer perspective

As an equipment maker, not a carrier, Dell has a different perspective – but also sees the value of SDN and NFV, said Jeff Baher, Senior Director for NFV Solutions, for Dell Networking.

“From Dell's perspective, we see NFV and SDN playing out similar ways in the way the laptop in the server industries have,” he said. “Where there is more of a horizontal orientation towards ecosystems, there is semiconductors, there's systems, there's operating systems, there’s applications.”

Baher continued, "On the enterprise side, there's borrowing from a lot of NFV and SDN. We see a lot of large enterprises trying to advance their private wide-area networks with many NFV related technologies. Everyone is coming at it from different angles, leveraging a lot of the same technologies."

Paul McCluskey, Director of Business Development at orchestration solutions provider CENX agreed, but sees that the move to SDN, NFV and orchestration won’t happen overnight due to the huge quantity of legacy networking infrastructure.

“Look at the amount of money spent on infrastructure every year, especially in the U.S., Look at the wireless carriers, tens of billions of dollars. That stuff's not going to go away.  So we know that NFV is necessary,” he said.

“But not overnight. You can't just switch everything off and replace it. All of that infrastructure's been paid for, it's earning money.  So there's a need to not just orchestrate across the new infrastructure but also across the existing infrastructure.”

McCluskey put the right words to the question facing the entire industry: “How do you offer services ubiquitously across your existing and all of the new infrastructure at the same time?  That’s the big challenge for the service providers as we go through this transition.”

Article by Alan Zeichick, Camden Associates president and principal analyst​.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
What every CISO must answer to enable a best-in-class security operations program
It has been widely reported recently that South Australian government employees have been the victims of a cyberattack.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
The post-pandemic workforce requires secure IAM capabilities
HID Global discusses what identity and access management means for organisations in today's convoluted digital world.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft previews Power Platform website design offering
Microsoft has announced the preview of Power Pages, the fifth product in its Power Platform family, designed for low-code makers and professional developers.
Story image
SaaS
The paradox of change, and how to get around it
The business decision to technologically transform should not come from an IT department but from the business itself.
Story image
GapMaps
GapMaps Live to improve brand decisions on physical locations
GapMaps has released its latest service GapMaps Live, giving more insights and features to help brands make better decisions about physical locations.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Getty Images delves into the world of NFTs with Candy Digital
Getty Images and Candy Digital, the next-generation digital collectible company, have announced a new multi-year partnership agreement.
Story image
CrescoData
SPS network now available to CrescoData eCommerce customers
CrescoData, a Pitney Bowes Company and PaaS business in the commerce space, says its customers can now connect to the SPS Commerce Retail Network.
Story image
Vectra AI
Vectra’s inaugural Partner of the Year Awards revealed
APAC companies Baidam, Firmus, ShellSoft and Macnica have been recognised in Vectra AI's inaugural Partner of the Year Awards.
Story image
DaaS
NetApp launches Spot PC, a new Desktop-as-a-Service solution
This is a new managed cloud DaaS solution with security, automation, observability and optimisation capabilities, designed for the needs of today.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Frost & Sullivan recognises Genesys as leader in new reports
Frost & Sullivan has recognised Genesys as a leader in the cloud contact centre market for its robust cloud and digital capabilities.
Story image
Kubernetes
Sysdig unveils new Kubernetes troubleshooting and cloud innovations
Sysdig has introduced two new innovations that look to help bolster cloud services and simplify Kubernetes troubleshooting.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Cyber attacks
Devastating cyber attacks expected to hit energy sector
Energy executives anticipate life, property, and environment-compromising cyber attacks on the sector within the next two years.
Story image
Silver Peak
The path to an adaptive, modern network
Managing and securing the network looks different than it did just two years ago—especially given that most of these networks are made up of multi-generations of infrastructure stitched together over time.
Story image
Rackspace
Skills shortages hold orgs back from capitalising on cloud 2.0
Organisations are becoming more comfortable with sophisticated 'cloud 2.0' technologies, even as they confront difficulties in hiring and retaining IT talent.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft, Cloudian partnership offers data center flexibility
Cloudian’s HyperStore object storage platform is now integrated and validated to work with Microsoft SQ Server 2022, offering more flexible and scalable data centers.
Story image
Data Protection
Information management capabilities to meet privacy requirements
Organisations with customers or operations across more than one country face a spate of new and proposed privacy and data protection laws.
Story image
Sustainability
Aligned Data Centers increases sustainability-linked loan
Aligned Data Centers has increased its sustainability-linked loan from $375 million to $1.75 billion to speed up the next phase of its strategic growth.
Story image
Red Sift
Entrust expands strategic partnership with Red Sift
Entrust has expanded its strategic partnership with Red Sift to make it easier for businesses to adopt Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) standards for email identification and security.
Story image
Multi Cloud
Red Hat updates dev tools, empowers use of hybrid and multicloud
Red Hat has unveiled updates across its portfolio of developer tools, designed to help organisations build and deliver applications faster.
Story image
Ransomware
CERT NZ releases first Cyber Security Insights for 2022
CERT NZ has released Quarter One: Cyber Security Insights 2022, which offers an overview of reports about cybersecurity incidents affecting New Zealanders.
Story image
Training
Infosec unveils role-guided cybersecurity training roadmaps
Infosec Skills Roles maps hands-on training and certifications to the 12 most in-demand cybersecurity roles to maximise training efficiency.
Story image
BYOD / Bring Your Own Device
How zero trust can lead the battle against ransomware
SecOps teams champion a zero trust strategy to support the fight against the escalating risk of cybercrime and help monitor threat actors across a network.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Accenture - a collective security approach a driving factor for cyber resilience
With the approaching Davos World Economic Forum upon us, it is even more imperative to discuss the impact of cybersecurity on business operations leading into the future.
Story image
Sustainability
SoftIron named global leader for efficient DC infrastructure solutions
SoftIron has been named a global leader for supplying energy-efficient data infrastructure solutions for core-to-edge data centers after an assessment by Earth Capital Ltd.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Barracuda expands cloud-native SASE platform
"The expansion of Barracuda's cloud-native SASE platform for hybrid deployment models and IIoT environments solves a number of challenges."
Story image
Surveillance
i-PRO releases smallest AI-based surveillance camera on the market
The new i-PRO mini network camera is now available, with a pocket-sized form factor and full AI analytics functionality.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Infosys
Consumer relationships with digital services continues to change
Two years of pandemic-induced reliance on technology for work has altered our relationship with digital apps and services, new research has found.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Digital transformation increasing business complexities
A new survey suggests businesses must re-examine their digital transformation approach to better help employees adapt to change.
Story image
Sustainability
Equinix announces milestones on sustainability commitments
Equinix has released its 2021 Sustainability Report which outlines progress, innovation and accomplishments on key ESG commitments.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner reveals top three tech trends for banks this year
Gartner says generative artificial intelligence, autonomic systems and privacy-enhancing computation are gaining traction in banking and investment services.
Story image
Microsoft
Elevation of Privilege the top 2021 Microsoft vulnerability
BeyondTrust has released its 2022 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report, finding that Elevation of Privilege is the top vulnerability category for the second consecutive year.
Story image
Digital Signage
MAXHUB's Digital Signage range to bolster boardroom productivity
The new MAXHUB Digital Signage technology is purpose-built to make every kind of team meeting more effective.
Story image
Manhattan Associates
Shortening the click-to-customer cycle through smart technologies
Speed of delivery without accuracy is a dealbreaker for consumers. How can retailers operating in an omnichannel environment overcome the challenge of click-to-customer cycle times.
Story image
Innovation
Fastly acquires Glitch, enables faster developer innovation
"This acquisition brings together two of the worlds best ecosystems for application development into a single, seamless developer experience."
Story image
MEC
MEC spending for private cellular networks to reach $5.8b
A new ABI Research report finds the revenue for Multi Access Edge Compute (MEC) deployments for private cellular networks will reach USD$5.8 billion by 2030.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Harnessing digital innovations to maximise loyalty programmes and improve CX
When it comes to the retail sector, merchants have never had access to so many different client touchpoints and data to understand their customers better.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Comcast to use ThreatQuotient for cybersecurity operations
Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and SKY Group, has chosen ThreatQ Platform and ThreatQ Investigations to meet their cybersecurity needs.
Story image
New Relic
New Relic launches vulnerability management platform
New Relic has introduced New Relic Vulnerability Management to help organisations find and address security risks faster and with greater precision.
Story image
Digital Marketing
Similarweb acquires SEO and rank tracking company Rank Ranger
Digital intelligence company Similarweb, which specialises in analysing web traffic, has acquired Rank Ranger, a market leader in SEO and rank tracking.