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Carrier Ethernet 2.0

Getting Nitty-Gritty on Carrier Ethernet

Carrier Ethernet has become ubiquitous to the point where it is often taken for granted. But today's service providers are pushing the boundaries of what Ethernet was designed to do -- to handle significant shifts in network demands as data centers and the wide area network converge, says Vishal Sharma, principal technologist and founder of Metanoia Inc.

Sharma, who also leads the Carrier Ethernet Group on LinkedIn, a group at the center of ongoing discussion of the trends around Carrier Ethernet, is the driving force behind a one-day workshop being held as part of Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in Chicago this June. The Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud Age event on June 8 will examine how this workhorse networking technology is becoming more flexible and dynamic, even as it retains the reliability and quality of service for which it's known.

What makes this workshop unique, Sharma says, is its focus: "Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud Age" is aimed at the folks within the network operator organizations doing the heavy lifting where Carrier Ethernet's transition is concerned. And the intent is to create a highly interactive event, where the audience is as engaged as speaking participants in discussing challenges and solutions to their everyday problems.

"Our Carrier Ethernet Group is a group of independent professionals all in telecom, interested in furthering their knowledge of modern packet networks, and that has expanded beyond Ethernet to NFV and SDN and more," Sharma notes. "We are all interested in one common mission."

That mission is being driven by the growing need to use Ethernet in new ways to connect data centers and the WAN, in the metro and long-haul networks, he notes. As major Internet providers and cloud service providers create their own networks and as traditional network operators work to become more flexible in introducing new services, Ethernet is evolving as well.

"Carrier Ethernet is more than just Ethernet," Sharma says. "As the MEF [MEF ] defines it, Carrier Ethernet is the carriage of Ethernet frames over a variety of technologies that satisfy the MEF requirements for reliability, QoS and service management."

In a series of three panels, the "Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud Age" workshop is tackling core issues for network operators, building on the real-world experiences of industry players. From the successful strategies of smaller operators to the move to make Ethernet on-demand and the importance of creating services specifically aimed at key verticals, the workshop is focused on addressing practical issues.

"We have a set of folks engaged in Carrier Ethernet who are very active but don't talk a lot about what they do, and we are bringing them together to have that discussion," Sharma says. "These are the people who are actively deploying or looking to deploy these advanced technologies, but haven't been heard from in the traditional conference environment."

The size of the workshop is being limited and everyone who attends is being asked what they can contribute in the hopes of building an intimate atmosphere in which information can be shared and everyone can learn, he says.

More information about the "Carrier Ethernet for the Cloud Age" workshop can be found here, and it is still possible to register to attend and participate.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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