The Impact on Your IT Department of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • NFV will dramatically reduce the number of expensive hardware appliances that carriers and large enterprises need to deploy throughout the data centre and network
  • Instead of so many hardware boxes, networks will be able to deploy cheap-as-dirt high volume server infrastructure with VMs running on top to replace all those functions previously occupied by hardware
  • SDN promises control of the network fabric with more of this control extending to the enterprise in due course

SDN and NFV are garnering attention in the industry with exciting benefits being promised to consumers of network and IT services. The longer term view of NFV is that VMs running network applications on mass-market low cost server infrastructure will replace expensive dedicated appliances. The implication of this for owners of extensive network and data centre infrastructure is ultimately far lower costs, since adding VMs on servers means procuring cheap-as-mud standard servers as opposed to far more expensive dedicated equipment such as switches, routers, deep packet inspection boxes, firewalls and session border controllers. Moreover the amount of technical and engineering support required to manage significantly virtualized network components such as  CDN, carrier grade NAT, and other services, is far less because provisioning and on-going management is automated and managed by customers is supplied using a client facing dashboard. This is a futuristic view, and we anticipate such possibilities from 2014 and beyond.  Read more of this post

Novel Business Models Built Upon an All-Internet Philosophy Threaten to Disrupt Traditional Telecom

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Aryaka launched Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) for IPSec-secured access over existing Internet links onto Aryaka’s POPs to create global data WANs.
  • Kunnect provides an early-mover cloud-based hosted call center solution with a free-of-charge version.

The rapid expansion of companies that have based their products and strategies entirely in the cloud from the outset is disrupting traditional market models. This is hardly new: After VoIP providers first disrupted traditional telephone calling rates, Skype pioneered P2P technology that largely abolished per-minute billing for voice. However the change is ongoing. Two companies are recent examples that break traditions with aggressive sales for all-cloud products and services targeting the enterprise: Aryaka and Kunnect. Usually free trials are a consumer play, and that’s because they are low-cost, best effort, over the unsecure public Internet, and shared infrastructure are not really the routes that the cautious business IT buyer would choose to go down. On the other hand, the cost to deploy a fully managed and dedicated circuit with security appliances and the backing of professional service teams is very high. Read more of this post

What Does Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Mean for the Enterprise?

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • MEF CE 2.0 service provider certification is not yet available on end-to-end Ethernet services.
  • There are compelling benefits arising from CE 2.0, but it will take time before these reach corporate users.

Carrier Ethernet (CE) 2.0 was unveiled by Bob Metcalfe (the inventor of Ethernet) and the MEF during February of this year, and it is designed to provide industry-wide benefits – to service providers, equipment manufacturers, and end users of Ethernet services, both business and residential.  So, how does CE 2.0 relate to the real-life requirements of corporate data networks?  In other words, if you are an IT manager looking after the enterprise data WAN, should you really care about CE 2.0? Read more of this post

BYO Devices and the Bottomless, Bandwidth-Slurping Pit That Is Social Media

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Fifty to one hundred applications is the norm, rather than the five to ten apps of yesteryear.
  • Devices are also changing, with laptops now accompanied by smartphones and tablets.

On a recent business trip to Paris, guests of the hotel had to pay upwards of EUR 12 to access the in-room Internet service.  However, WiFi was free in the hotel lobby, and as a result, a dozen Web users were in the lobby at any one time half accessing this ‘free’ Internet experience via a whole variety of handhelds.  Surely, this puts unsurpassed demand on the WLAN link in the lobby and results in lower revenues for the hotel from in-room access.  It can be argued that today’s work places face similar network and IT challenges, with workers entering the work space with all kinds of handhelds for conducting business and accessing the Internet and applications from any location.  Some companies ban certain social media Web sites, whilst others allow and encourage these, understanding that the new generation of Twitters, Facebooks, Salesforce.coms, etc., are entering the business realm as professional tools and for collaboration.  IT managers could throw bandwidth at the issue, but the result may well be simply an improved viewing experience on YouTube, rather than the desired effect of having certain business applications perform better. Read more of this post

Has the 99.999% Availability SLA Gone the Way of the Dodo?

J. Stradling

J. Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Traditional network SLA metrics do not take into account changing IT needs.
  • Is your network vendor willing to extend service guarantees to application availability?

There are many ways of looking at network service level agreements (SLAs).  For telecom providers and certain clients, they can be a mere commercial agreement whereby network downtime will be compensated.  In other cases (for example, when downtime can prove very costly or even disastrous to a business), the enterprise customer will need to pay for extra resiliency in the form of five-nines availability or even 100% availability based on 1+1 back-up and/or a 3G wireless broadband data link.  Traditional data WAN SLAs still contain the standard metrics, such as jitter, roundtrip delay, latency, availability and MTTR, and this is a good thing overall for making sure the carrier is accountable for the networks. However, IT managers should also be exploring SLAs all the way to applications running on the desktop. Read more of this post