Ethernet Europe: Coming Down From the Cloud

It's not Ethernet or cloud services alone that will please enterprise customers, but a hybrid approach, according to Verizon Business

Michelle Donegan, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

April 12, 2011

3 Min Read
Ethernet Europe: Coming Down From the Cloud

LONDON -- Ethernet Europe 2011 -- While much of the telecom industry has its head in the clouds, Verizon Enterprise Solutions 's Jeff Schwartz, head of global Ethernet WAN product management, shared a more down-to-earth approach to delivering enterprise services in his morning keynote address here. (See Cloud Rolls In to Ethernet Europe and Etherman Hits Europe.)

Schwartz stressed that enterprises do not need merely Ethernet services or cloud-based services on their own. Rather, a hybrid approach that incorporates the physical network, services and myriad management capabilities is what's required to meet the communications needs of corporate customers.

"While there is a shift to more virtual-type communications, it's not complete," he said. "It's not one or the other, but a mix of these things together."

If an enterprise is interested in a cloud-based arrangement, the underlying technology is still the same, he explained.

Furthermore, cloud-based services aren't necessarily right for all enterprises all time, and Schwartz outlined some of the scenarios where cloud services are most appropriate.

For example, when a company needs temporary computing power, they can buy what they need where they need it in a cloud service. A similar situation exists for companies that have to deal with seasonality, when a lot of networking capacity is needed only during certain times of the year.

In these cases, a cloud-based approach can help an enterprise avoid investment in what would be underutilized network assets. It can also free up cash for an enterprise.

"[You want to deliver] the most flexible type of arrangement with as much technical advancement as you can," said Schwartz.

And that means Ethernet services are not necessarily the natural choice for every type of user. Ethernet works best in environments such as a company's headquarters or data center sites, where there is very high bandwidth needed, stated Schwartz.

"Ethernet may not always be the right technology for the customer," he said. "More often, there is a data center, remote facilities, remote workers, wireless access. ... It's the combination of all these technologies together that provide the value to the customer."

But all of these great service capabilities will be for naught if an operator cannot show the customer how well it's delivering on its service contract through service level agreements (SLAs). Operators also have to provide a self-service portal so that enterprise customers can monitor the service performance themselves, said Schwartz.

"It's only as good as the capabilities that you're providing in a meaningful way," he said. "If you don't have a self-service capability, you're out of the game. You have to be able to do what you say you can do," continued the Verizon Business man, who noted that it's one thing to "guarantee the performance," but another to "show the customer that you achieved that, or above."

For more
Here's a look back at some of Verizon Business's Ethernet and cloud activities:

  • Keeping Customers in the Dark

  • EENY: Is Everyone's Ethernet the Same?

  • Verizon Goes Global With VPLS

  • Verizon Brings GPON to the Desktop

  • Verizon Crashes Silos to Build Clouds

  • Verizon Aims for 'Everything as a Service'

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Michelle Donegan

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry on both sides of the Pond for the past twenty years.

Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom, Light Reading, Telecom Titans and more.

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