Light Reading

App Aware? Networks Aren't There Yet

Dan O'Shea
12/20/2013
50%
50%
Repost This

It might seem like the telecom industry has been chasing the goal of application-aware networking for years on end, but the reality at the carrier level is that the migration to an AAN model is far from complete.

The recent Heavy Reading Insider report Application-Aware Networking: The Carrier Perspective (subscription required) gives a different sort of glimpse at a networking philosophy birthed by concerns about the ongoing data explosion, rapidly increasing network complexity, and the ability of service providers to cut through all that to enhance customer experience management.

AAN and the related, parallel trend toward application performance management (APM) have generated some industry debate. They have been touchstones this year for many vendor announcements targeting different zones of the network. These include the traditional hardware sellers (Cisco Systems' Application-Centric Infrastructure strategy) and the software-defined networking upstarts (Big Switch's application-aware Unified P+V SDN switching fabric). APM has inspired a rush among network monitoring vendors not only to get more granular with their monitoring capabilities, but also to ensure their systems can feed network and application data into big data analytics engines (See What Applications Will Want from SDN, Cisco's ACI Gets Physical With SDN, Big Switch Previews App-Aware SDN Cloud Fabric, and Gigamon Steps Up Traffic Intelligence.)

However, Steve Koppman, the report's author, found that some major carriers, including AT&T, were hesitant to discuss their progress on the AAN front. Also, it seems that carriers in general are just now adjusting to the notion that they can't improve application delivery and performance management simply through bandwidth upgrades.

"Until recently, market participants typically believed they could, and needed to, achieve acceptable application performance levels with resources near at hand," Koppman wrote. "New challenges were most often met by adding bandwidth or devices, with no requirement for anything like application-aware networking."

As carriers better understand the need for AAN and the options for making it happen, this long-discussed philosophy will finally come to fruition and bring its promised changes to the networking realm. Koppman sees that happening in another 3-5 years, which (coincidentally or not) is the about same timing as the anticipated software and virtualization revolution.

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
@mbushong
50%
50%
@mbushong,
User Rank: Moderator
12/23/2013 | 10:44:06 AM
App-awareness is more than APIs
Part of the reason that app-awareness isn't everywhere is that the "Here is an API" approach basically builds a gate and asks the person on the other side to figure out how to get through it. The real work needs to be a common set of abstractions that work in vendor-agnostic environments. It is not surprising there hasn't been more progress here because the work to-date has been either too low-level (OpenFlow is good, and it doesn't address this type of problem) or too vendor-specific. 

I suspect that the new wave of commercial controllers will start to solve these problems. The endgame might still be a ways out, but at least there is movement now in these areas.

-Mike Bushong (@mbushong)

Plexxi
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
Report: NFV/SDN Standards 'Myopic' on Service Management
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed