Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Carriers could eat the WAN and more

In the previous article I shared a vision of a future beyond SD-WAN.  Requirements for this are the Telecom Carriers specifically not forgetting about their customers as they roll out the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) modernization they are currently undertaking.

This really includes, and I can't emphasize this enough, a service interface based on APIs consumable by the customer.

This means that all of the NFV MANO work they are doing needs to have a customer control interface that allows the direct consumption of their service(s).  Automated and orchestrated service chaining that speeds current methods of delivery is simply not enough.

There's also a coup in the works for those Carriers that get this one simple idea.  If they enable their NFV MANO platform to provide catalogs of consumable code, a marketplace, pioneers in WAN service enhancement will be positioned to develop new services directly for the network.

The Carriers will be able to utilize the pioneers in the WAN networking space not only to enhance their services using this platform, but they can use it to create an exceptional "sensing engine" for future products and industrialization within their ecosystem.

Let's have a look at the possible step function to get to this future state.

Figure 1.  Step Function to Carrier Cloud WAN
The starting point in this step function is the circuit based WAN topology that was primarily single customer, with the majority of consumption in the T1/E1 - DS-3/E3 range.  Through some fits and starts, eventually the predominant delivery became a shared service mechanism utilizing Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) and delivery was nurtured from at the very least custom build to a product with last mile delivery being the time consuming effort.

In the previous blog, we showed that SD-WAN is well positioned for the edge services consumption model of the future.  There are some drawbacks, particularly in the current levels of standardization, but this may well be a short stop on the way to bigger things.  Eventually this technology will incorporate all of the interesting features of direct internet offload and direct to ecosystem connections through the evolution to Hybrid-WAN.

But, I believe there's an immediate follow-on the carriers should be looking into.  The provisioning of Enhanced Cloud WAN Services.  Carriers already own all the WAN packets anyway, why not provide add-on services within their shiny new NFV frameworks?  Why not open up the platform to developers to enhance those capabilities within that new platform capability?  Why not develop a marketplace to provide new services and use the pioneers to sense the future services to industrialize?

Should this come into being, the Carrier Cloud WAN, becomes much easier to envision.  It is the industrialized future of the Enhanced Cloud WAN Services with something as simple as an Ethernet handoff at the edge and a marketplace of services, capabilities and ecosystem partners made available for Utility consumption.

Will there be business and security concerns?  Certainly.  Keep in mind, MPLS was a business and security concern because of its shared service nature when it first came out.  It's everywhere now.  #mapping

This is a followup article to: 

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