There has been a lot of talk in recent years about what might be enabled by the many software-defined networking and virtualization capabilities being developed and marketed by hundreds of vendors in the communications sector, but not so much in the way of independent verification of those systems.
That's why Light Reading hooked up with independent test lab EANTC to see just how the world is changing for communications service providers (if at all). Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) was confident enough to let a team from European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) into its facilities in San Jose, Calif. and, in essence, behave like a CSP that wanted to test, evaluate and validate New IP functions that can potentially transform communications application creation and delivery processes. (See Validating Cisco's Service Provider Virtualization & Cloud Portfolio and New IP: Bigger, Better.)
I have known and engaged with the EANTC crew for a number of years, and I know the culture that it has (and needs) to operate as a trusted testing resource for the industry: The bottom line is, they can be trusted to be totally objective, something that's absolutely vital if you want to know what works and what is possible.
So it was pretty amazing to read EANTC's report once it had spent two weeks in San Jose, acting the role of a CSP that offers VPN services to enterprise customers and using multiple Cisco systems that enable a New IP approach (using cloud-based virtualization) to VPN service configuration. Here was Cisco putting multiple systems, including technology brought on board via the strategic acquisitions of Cariden and Tail-f, to work in a way that CSPs want. (See Cisco to Spend $141M for More SDN Help and Cisco to Buy Hot Startup Tail-f for $175M.)
Even more important was that this validation program wasn't a pure Cisco technology process: As the EANTC team noted in its report conclusion, it "verified that the Cisco solution works with at least one third-party device and uses free software and standardized interfaces, as defined by the IETF, to orchestrate and manage services."
That's just one of the many interesting and useful insights that the EANTC team has delivered in this first-of-its-kind report. If virtualization, SDN, NFV, cloud and all of the aspects of the new IP world are in any way of interest to you, I suggest you check out what is a full and detailed report.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading