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Verizon: It's All About the App

Carol Wilson
9/17/2015
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DALLAS -- NFV Everywhere -- The telecom industry needs to embrace correlative analysis that focuses on ensuring applications perform as advertised, Verizon executive Shawn Hakl said here today. That means no longer relying on traditional monitoring of network connections and boxes and hoping to contain the impact of any failures, he told the NFV Everywhere audience in a keynote address.

"We are really good at getting lines into the back of boxes and making sure they stay up and are successful," said Hakl, who is VP of enterprise networking and innovation for Verizon Enterprise Solutions . "We love that stuff and we have a lot of tools to do it."

But that static causal analysis approach breaks down as virtualization introduces new complexity into the network, with more parties involved and more components, he explained. There are too many possible problems for pre-engineered solutions to address, thus the need for correlative analysis.

"That means I can specify an end result -- I know what good looks like," Hakl said. "I know that for an application to perform successfully, I have to have a certain response rate, latency and jitter. I monitor those variables and a whole bunch of others and I can see stuff get better or worse."

It isn't necessary to know why changes are occurring, just to accept that they are and then implement the necessary network controls to ensure a quality user experience based on that information; a process that may include finding a new path for traffic in response to degrading performance. "That is a radical departure and it will take changes in tooling and in attitude," he said.


Read more about NFV strategies and the challenges of orchestration in our NFV section here on Light Reading.

Focusing on application performance is the future for new services such as Verizon's software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) service, launched earlier this month, which turns the traditional approach to networking on its head, Hakl said. But this is also where deploying SDN and NFV gets exciting, because there is the potential for real-world services to drive revenues.

By enabling real-time network routing decisions based on application needs and the actual performance of the network at the time, Verizon can provide "a broader range of control at the edge of the network, allowing people to take advantage of multiple connection options that are available, and make that appropriate linkage between performance, cost and security," he said. Using network intelligence to manage the performance of the application, starting at that layer and linking the underlying components, Verizon can predict the underlying degradation of performance and react to it in real time to ensure the application stays up, he noted.

Verizon's global network organization already manages an ecosystem of providers for its multinational customers, delivering a variety of service types whether mobile or fixed. Now, it can enable customers to "exploit the maximum possible number of opportunities to deliver service to a given site," and manage that on an end-to-end basis.

"This is more than a technology deployment," Hakl said. "It is changing the way we look at application management and the way we deliver managed services, and altering the ecosystem we use to provide those services to our customers."

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

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Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
9/21/2015 | 10:21:24 AM
Re: Security breaches
App performance supersedes traditional measures of network uptime. As long as the app is performing well, it's OK if parts of the network are down. 
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/19/2015 | 4:37:07 PM
Re: Security breaches
App performance certainly has a lot more precedence these days.

Sure, the network needs to stay up first and foremost. But after that, making sure that systems are good to go and delivering the services needed to applications is really what businesses are expecting from a provider. 
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
9/18/2015 | 4:25:03 PM
Security breaches
Monitoring application behavior is also a good way to detect security breaches. Applications that have been compromised behave differently than when they're running optimally. 
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