Light Reading

Telco Data Centers: Reinvention Starts Here

Roz Roseboro
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst
5/23/2014
50%
50%

The reinvention of telco data centers is still in the early stages, but the opportunities and challenges facing network operators and their technology partners are quickly becoming clear. Software-defined networking (SDN) lies at the heart of the long-term potential of next-generation telco data centers. It also presents some of the biggest issues in telco data center transformation.

Heavy Reading has traced the rapid evolution of SDN in the telecom environment from the start, and my new report, The Future of Telco Data Centers in the SDN Era, expands our research view into what may become network operators' key strategic asset in the next-gen telecom ecosystem: virtualized data centers.

The report highlights and analyzes the impact SDN will have on the telco data center networking domain, including the various implementation scenarios and approaches of new-entrant challengers and established vendors. It offers insight into the current thinking of telco data center operators regarding their emerging requirements and expectations for networking infrastructure. It also identifies the likely evolution of the networking as telcos transform their data centers to support SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV), including an in-depth review of the strategies of 12 key networking technology suppliers.

With increasing competition from hyper-scale web players and OTT providers, telcos have recognized the need to move quicker and lower their costs -- both opex and capex. They are virtualizing their data center resources to increase utilization rates and automate service creation and delivery. They are also planning to virtualize network functions themselves. Doing so will allow them not only to move away from higher-cost network elements based on proprietary hardware, but also to become more agile and flexible. Virtualized functions will make it easier to deploy functionality in distributed data centers that reside closer to an end user's location.

New entrants are taking multiple approaches to data center networking. Though they are often linked together, the new crop of networking suppliers is hardly monolithic. It is true that most use platforms that are based on merchant silicon (as opposed to custom ASICs), but they vary in the nature of the functionality their solutions support. Networking-focused companies such as Pica8 offer Linux-based OSs that are loaded on to bare-metal switches in support of the "white box" approach to data center switching. Companies such as BigSwitch, Vello Systems, and Plexxi offer some switching support, but they are more focused on applications.

BigSwitch has recently pivoted toward its unified physical and virtual network fabric and network monitoring application. Vello, too, switched gears midstream and now provides software to manage data center infrastructure, as well as applications running on this infrastructure. Plexxi is focused on the concept of "affinity," mapping the relationship between various network elements needed by a given workload, and programming the fabric with the necessary topologies.

Pluribus Networks stands somewhat separate from the rest, because it offers a converged infrastructure solution. Its Freedom Server-Switch product line, combined with the Netvisor OS, provides a "fusion" of compute, storage, switching, and hypervisor functionality in a single device.

Telco data centers are in the midst of a substantial transformation. Telcos aiming to lower costs and improve efficiencies are open to new solutions, including those from new suppliers. Each of these new companies is addressing a subset of the myriad requirements emerging from this transition. They are pushing commoditization of the networking function, meaning all vendors -- new and incumbent -- will need to find a differentiator that will add value.

— Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/28/2014 | 2:09:47 AM
Customer
How big is the market for virtualized DC service ? Do operators have the skill-set to deliver it on their own ?
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/27/2014 | 1:35:23 PM
Re: Reinvention starts here
Lowering the costs of services they provide as Telco opens up a new market niche for the company. Increasing its efficiency also makes it competitive among other data centers. They will be able to reduce competition on their part since most consumers go for the product that is effective and has a low cost. This will help the company in dealing with any kind of challenges they may face as a company. Reinvention is needed.
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
In part 2 in a series of blogs on 'Accelerating NFV Implementation,' Caroline Chappell looks at the long-term vision for NFV and how operators can get there.
In part 1 in a series of blogs on 'Accelerating NFV Implementation', Caroline Chappell looks at why OpenStack is set to play a key role in the NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) stack.
What are the biggest SDN questions facing service providers today? Heavy Reading's Sterling Perrin highlights the major talking points as he prepares for a full day's debate in Denver.
As the quest toward the Gigabit City continues, it is becoming clearer that public-private initiatives may be the key to success.
Interest in the commercial drone industry is growing and technology is developing quickly. This is laying the foundation for a range of future drone-based applications, including the use of drones in communications networks.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
AT&T Testing Virtualized GPON
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 5/15/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
AT&T Takes 'Startup Mentality' to Wholesale
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones