Carriers Not Cheering Complex Class of Service

MUNICH -- Ethernet Europe -- Random thoughts from the week after:

Multi-COS Has Its Skeptics: As expected, Carrier Ethernet 2.0, the MEF 's latest initiative, was a hot topic at this event, from MEF President Nan Chen's opening introduction through to the final panel of analysts reviewing the previous two days.

Most of the discussion was upbeat, but one aspect of the new initiative -- the multiple Classes of Service -- a number of service provider speakers seemed uncertain at best.

Multi-COS is a key part of Carrier Ethernet 2.0. It defines three classes of service over eight services types -- VLAN and 8-port versions of E-Line, ELAN, E-Tree and E-Access. (see MEF Sticks a '2.0' on Carrier Ethernet).

The idea is to create options for enterprises, including new options to more efficiently support the differing demands of cloud services. But adding so many options can also create confusion.

"Let's not add complexity where we don't need do," commented Henry Bohannon, head of Ethernet and IP Services Product Management at Colt Technology Services Group Ltd , during a panel discussion of wholesale service providers. There was immediate agreement from other wholesale panelists.

Often end users will say they like options and will want to discuss what they are, but they often come back to the lowest common denominator when buying a service, said Craig Waldrop, Senior Product Manager at Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX). "Theory is different from practice," he said. "There will be a need later to prioritize traffic differently, but I don't know that we need all these options now."

A day earlier, on a different service provider panel, a group that included Robin Tero, chief architect, Interoute Communications Ltd. , and David Tomalin, CTO of euNetworks Group Ltd. , placed a higher priority on Carrier Ethernet 2.0's interconnection and manageability provisions. The multi-COS "doesn't have intrinsic value" for network providers, Tomalin said, because their customers are mostly focused on reach and cost. While service providers may be able to use multi-COS tools, they probably won't be able to charge for them, agreed Tero. "They don't add value," he said. "My customers want Ethernet at this price, this reach and this speed -- it's a 'keep it simple stupid' model."

Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Certification Coming: MEF President Nan Chen said the certification blueprint for Carrier Ethernet 2.0 is being completed and that certification will be formally announced in late April.

Networks now lagging the cloud in automation and granularity: Network service providers created the original cloud -- it was their data service -- but now are lagging cloud service providers in being able to offer network services that have the flexibility and on-demand service at a granular level, warned Keao Caindec, CMO, Cloud Business Unit for Dimension Data , which is now part of NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT).

Recalling his days at competitive service provider Yipes!, Caindec said it was possible even in 2000 to offer bandwidth on demand capabilities, which let customers turn up their service as needed on a Gig-Ethernet pipe. That's something the network industry has to work hard at doing again, he said.

Dimension Data is using automation capabilities developed at OpSource -- also Caindec's old stomping grounds and a 2011 acquisition -- and making those systems available to service providers as part of a wholesale offering that can be turned up as a public-private cloud offering in anywhere from five weeks to three months, he said.

Exchanges Change Models Ethernet exchanges are moving further away from their original business models. Instead of providing ways for Ethernet service providers to interconnect their networks to extend their service reach, companies such as Equinix and Telx are increasingly selling services directly to financial services companies, other enterprise and cloud service providers. Both Chris Eldredge, president and GM Ethernet Exchange and Product Management for Telx Group Inc. and Waldrop of Equinix confirmed that reality.

Heavy Reading senior analyst Stan Hubbard, event chair, agreed with this shift, and points to financial service companies as the "canaries in the coal mine" for other enterprises, suggesting other companies are likely to follow, using exchanges to link to the cloud or other services until the volume of traffic makes direct connections more financially reasonable.

Back to the Future: Joe Manuele, executive VP-worldwide sales and customer support for Actelis Networks Inc. , has a unique view on how service providers can return to profitable data services. Instead of focusing on adding new capabilities, Manuele talked about a simpler time when profits could be found in frame relay, which he called the original cloud service and the last data service on which carriers turned a profit. Because frame relay was a true standard, everything about it -- installation, training, support, delivery -- was the same in every circumstance, and therefore easy to replicate. Manuele's advice to service providers is to reduce their number of access network options down to two and focus on providing high quality, predicable and secure services over those networks.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:35:18 PM
re: Carriers Not Cheering Complex Class of Service

First, please clarify: I thought there are 4 services types in CE2 (Eline, ELAN, Etree and eAccess) with 2 CoS in each of those service types

Also, to be certified for CE2, would a vendor or service provider have to support all 4 service types and 8 CoS (2 for each service type)....or could a vendor/service provider be considered CE2 if it supported 2 or 3 service types and 4 or 6 CoS?


Also, I thought that until CE2 was released, there were only 3 CoS--I'm assuming these were for the 3 service types since eAccess was only released with CE2.

Sorry, if above is confusing...

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:15 PM
re: Carriers Not Cheering Complex Class of Service

Interesting, so there's an element of Carrier Ethernet 2.0 that might be overkill.

In a sense, there's no harm. If people don't want the multiple classes of service, then carriers don't have to use them.

Interesting that there are doubts about it, though. I would assume the MEF vetted out the idea quite a bit, so *somebody* out there must really want it, right? Right?

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:07 PM
re: Carriers Not Cheering Complex Class of Service

Hi Flook - I think you're right about there being 4 service types x 2 CoS in CE2.0. (Or is it still 3 CoS? I don't have my notes handy.)  Dunno about the certification requirements.

And I think you're right about there being 3 CoSs in a pre-CE2.0 world.

btw, here's an MEF rebuttal to the panel discussion, posted on the Ciena site:


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:35:04 PM
re: Carriers Not Cheering Complex Class of Service

> Also, to be certified for CE2, would a vendor or service provider have to support all 4 service types...

I guess I should be a good corporate soldier and mention we have a Webinar coming up on CE2.0 certification, on May 2.


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