Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013. Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.
Contributed article by Mitch Auster is Senior Director, Portfolio Management, at Ciena
The Service Provider WAN gets Virtualized and Orchestrated
In recent years, data center operators have
recognized that the internal network connecting virtualized compute and storage resources is
an obstacle to fully realizing the possible flexibility and efficiency benefits
of the cloud. In 2012, the significance of data center network virtualization
reached new heights, highlighted by VMware's $1.2B acquisition of Nicira. We
predict that in 2013, Service Providers will ramp up cloud-style network
virtualization in the wide area network.
have offered virtual private network (VPN) services for many years; however,
such VPN services are fairly static - if a business customer wanted to add a
location or change service parameters, they had to place a service call and
wait days or weeks for the order to be implemented. Providers have used the
same approach to deliver end-user applications such as IPTV and VoIP, with the
same inherent friction for network modifications. This was livable when
enterprise IT and service product managers could reasonably forecast network
requirements several months in advance.
in the self-serve era of cloud, demand is becoming unpredictable and is exacerbated
by the wide range of bandwidth and quality-of-service demands caused by the
explosion of video applications, the dynamic nature of where bandwidth will be
consumed due to the mass penetration of smartphones and mobile tablets, and the
loss of control of where bandwidth demand will originate due to the strength of
over-the-top services. One way for providers to deal with this uncertainty -
call it the dumb pipe model - is to overbuild capacity, an inefficient model at
more efficient and valuable way is for providers to embrace performance-on-demand.
In 2013, we will begin to see more providers gathering network assets into a
programmable pool of resources to be drawn upon - in an explicit fashion - by
the applications that need them, when and where they are needed. One such
application is the cloud orchestration system. Ciena has shown with its Data
Center Without Walls service architecture that cloud providers can reduce
compute and storage resources by up to 35% by federating their disparate data
centers and enabling workloads to be flexibly placed, migrated and
interconnected among them. This requires large volumes of virtual machines and
data sets to move between a given pair of data centers in a relatively short
period of time. Allowing the cloud orchestration system to dial up inter-data
center capacity when needed and turn it back down when the transaction is
complete can reduce network bandwidth requirements by 50%. It also allows cloud
service delivery from where it makes most sense - perhaps closer to the user--
to improve quality of experience, or from data centers where power is currently
key element to enabling performance-on-demand is the network controller. This
software virtualizes the network and abstracts it to the application
service-layer through a standard application programming interface (API). It
maintains a global view of all resources allocated or available as well as a
policy database to control what resources each application or user has the
right to request.
software-defined networking approach results in much greater network efficiency
and operations automation and, more importantly, it results in greater network
value than a dumb pipe. By allowing service layer software to orchestrate
application processing and content transfer decisions - e.g. from which server
location, at what compression rate - in concert with network resource decisions
- e.g. with what available QoS, at what cost or price - service providers can
optimize the total system for improved profitability and customer satisfaction.
2013, we will see adoption of these flexible and agile operating models that
will give IT the ability to better respond and support business initiatives by
transparently using both in-house and cloud-based resources.
Mitch Auster is Senior Director, Portfolio Management, at Ciena.