Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR!

Following a leaked memo from Metro Ethernet Networks president Phillppe Morin, Nortel Networks Ltd. today emailed journalists to say it has decided to "refocus" its investment from Carrier Ethernet Switch/Routers (CESRs) to next-generation packet optical transport equipment.

In a statement sent to Light Reading, Nortel says it is cutting back on the money it puts behind its Metro Ethernet Manager (MEM) products, Metro Ethernet Services Unit 1800s, and Metro Ethernet Routing Switch 8600s.

To clarify, Nortel will still sell these bits of kit, but it will no longer have any big new features for, or revisions to, the CESR product lines, outside of a few periodic maintenance releases.

Why? Morin's memo offers a clue: "The overall market for Carrier Ethernet is not growing at anticipated rates and that will only worsen with the global economic downturn. We will continue to invest and increase our focus on maintaining our leadership in Optical."

Nortel says it will still serve, support, and ship products to its Carrier Ethernet installed base -- and it says that the CESR decision doesn't impact its Ethernet access and aggregation products, or its Enterprise ERS 8600 portfolio.

Nortel says it will focus its packet-optical and former CESR development dollars into two areas. First, it will keep adding packet capabilities to its Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 and Optical Metro 5000 series platforms. And it will invest in metro Ethernet access and aggregation solutions, as well as staying committed to its partners that make customer premises Ethernet gear (including ANDA Networks Inc. , Axerra Networks Inc. , and others).

"We are not abandoning our Carrier Ethernet technology innovation, but simply focusing our Carrier Ethernet investment away from the switch/router segment," Nortel's statement to Light Reading says. "This decision supports the goal to make Nortel a more focused company."

In his leaked memo, Morin's closing paragraph hinted at the jobs toll this move might take: "Even though this is the right business decision, I realize it's more tough news for employees and will impact the Carrier Ethernet team."

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:10:19 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Can you tell us of any carrier deployments of photonic burst switching? I know there are companies pursuing this and that they have even deployed a few campus networks..

But can you point us to any real carrier deployments? Even a T3 or T4 carrier?

or is this simply more market pumping by matisse and / or intune?

t.bogataj 12/5/2012 | 4:10:19 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! heretoday,

get acquainted with Carrier Ethernet before you make any more dumb statements.

Your first homework is to understand the difference between PBB/802.1ah and PBT/PBB-TE/802.1Qay.

The second one is to understand the serious technical background of PBB on one hand, and the marketing-focused background of PBT on the other.

The third one is to get the idea how PBB and VPLS complement each other. (And no, I am not mentioning PBT in this combination.)

When you do it all -- welcome back!

tata, T.
heretoday 12/5/2012 | 4:10:18 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! It's dumb to ask NT what they mean when they make a vague statement about what they are or are not supporting. Suspect that's why NT is in the shape they are in.

So enlighten us. If NT decides to move forward with PBB in the access. They keep the ESU's and aggregate them into what? Surely they are going to support E-Tree, E-Line and E-LAN. Don't have to use PBB to do this but lets say they are.

Where are you going to aggregate the access? What type of element? Phillippe says they are out of the switch/router business in support of CE.

Do you not still need to support multicast in some form? If you are interworking with VPLS do you not need MPLS support in some form? The implication there is that in that element you need to support some form of routing and routed protocols along with label distribution and service mapping.......

It's dumb to ask NT what their intentions are here?

And yes I get the perceived advantages of PBB and it's OAM in the access. But I have concerns about it's future with out a Tier 1 vendor and provider buying into it to build a revenue stream to continue the support.

davallan 12/5/2012 | 4:10:17 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Hi t.botataj

I'm not quite parsing your statements...your bias is showing...

Primary difference between PBB and PBB-TE is control plane and how OAM is used...

Difference between PBT and PBB-TE is negligable

The serious technical background behind both PBB, PBB-TE, SPBB etc. largely came from common sources...and has similar merit.

PBB fixes some problems with, but I have trouble with claiming it complements VPLS as IMO VPLS does little for PBB that native Ethernet solutions (PBB-TE and SPBB) do not already do, but front ending VPLS with PBB also introduces a new set of problems. This seems to be nothing new in the history of VPLS...every step on the VPLS road has been the addition of more complexity trying to fix problems from the previous incarnation...

chechaco 12/5/2012 | 4:10:16 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! "... get acquainted with Carrier Ethernet before you make any more dumb statements ..."
I agree that understanding of underlying technology is important but what's more important, in my view, is understanding of terminology. The Carrier Ethernet does not require or is limited to support of PBB-TE. The Carrier Ethernet is connection-oriented packet switching service that is OAM hardened to deliver Quality of Experience according to existing SLA. The Carrier Ethernet can use co-cs (TDM), co-ps (MPLS-TP) as well as cl-ps (IP/MPLS) network as server layer.
"The third one is to get the idea how PBB and VPLS complement each other."
They are orthogonal.
heretoday 12/5/2012 | 4:10:15 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Well said "chechaco". And to my point... Morin is taking advantage of the fact that nobody has really defined what Carrier Ethernet is or isn't. But lot's of people have preconceived notions. Simply stating NT is continuing Carrier Ethernet isn't enough.

And you are 100% correct in the variations that could be called Carrier Etherent. Why not? The problem is, if we agree that your assesment is correct, you need some pretty good smarts in the metro access aggregation point that can terminate, translate, pass trough and treat some pretty complex protocols... This is what MPE was suppose to do for NT and their Carrier/Optical Ethernet story. $150-$200 Million later they couldn't get it to do anything and bailed. So now what?

If Cisco/Juniper/Alcatel/Tellabs don't want to sign up to provide gateway support for Nortel's variations on less than standard protocols.... who would buy the access gear unless it was just intended to be an island?

Anyway. Enough. Bottom line is NT isn't saying and likely doesn't know right now. Which simply means carriers need to take caution with the NT Carrier Ethernet story.
Creagh 12/5/2012 | 4:10:14 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Sailboat, if T1 carriers are engaged in trials or at an advanced stage of planning trials of a disruptive technological change like OBS, why would they inform their incumbent equipment vendors ? As ever there will always be a pivot year when people look back and wonder what they missed. What we tend to forget is that carriers pocket's are not limitless and they need to innovate a lot sooner than the flock that sustain themselves off them. Nortel's issues here simply serve to reinforce that change might as well be upon us.
^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:10:13 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Creagh,

I am VERY familiar with the carriers, carrier decision making, carrier trials, approval process, need for confidentiality.

You answered a question I did not ask. I did not ask were there any technology trials. I know full well carrier labs trial all kinds of things and this must be kept confidential on both the carrier end of things and on the supplier end of things. This is the world I spend my days in.

You used an amateur debating technique that is used when one does not want to answer the question that was posed. Respond with an answer that sounds reasonable, but does not answer the original question, nor come even close to it.

The question was: can you point to ANY real world deployments of the technology you so faithfully flag and promote?

Any? Any at all???

To my point, big carriers don't en-mass adopt a new way of doing things that is this different and radical. Almost always, smaller more nimble my flexible carriers adopt first, then other medium sized carriers follow, then finally a T1 will jump in.

So, LONG before any real T1 carrier trials would even happen (note I said "real carrier trials" key word being REAL.. not a guy in carrier research lab checking out technology. Trials are different than that).. long before any T1 trials would happen, there would already be a few smaller T3, T4, IOC small mom & pop rural company, some large enterprise or campus... some kind of earlier adopter reference accounts.. then a progression up the food chain.

So, once again, I ask you in clear uncertain terms: can you name ANY deployments on networks that generate revenue for ANY carrier ANYWHERE in the world? Or really, even any meaningful enterprise or campus deployments?

NOTE: in my earlier question to you, I specifically said.. any small carrier... NOT a T1.. and yet you responded by giving me this BS statement about how T1 carriers do business. This is something that ANYONE with more than 1-2 years experience already knows full well. Especially if they are in this industry!

So, don't tell me the patently obvious and avoide answering my direct question: ANY deployments Creagh of this photonic burst switching approach? Anywhere? Even a university supercomputer private network? ANYTHING?

I know this technology has been under development for a long time. Lots of millions poured down this drain from several failed companies, the one still hanging in there, but certainly not thriving (Intune) and the new one, Matisse.

So, no ducking Creagh: Got any real news for us are are you once again just hyping the potential for a maybe future?

It has been suggested on these boards in the past that you find a more subtle way to promote your products and agenda. perhaps a non private test trial (there are test beds out there where this could be done) and a co-published white paper on the benefits.. perhaps co-authored by a real test bed and maybe ohhh, I don't know.. LR, or Telephony or a real industry source?

Just a thought.

t.bogataj 12/5/2012 | 4:10:13 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Dave,

you must have parsed the messages too quickly: the difference between PBB and PBT is exactly what I was trying to emphasize. Otherwise yes, I am biased against PBT; I never tried to hide this.

Being the right addressee for heretoday's questions, I would rather expect you to comment on Nortel's PBT plans. Well?

Dave & chechaco,

w.r.t. PBB+VPLS, I like the statement that "they are orthogonal" -- that gives us a two-dimensional solution, beyond the religious wars between Carrier Ethernet and MPLS proponents.

"Front ending" (as Dave put it) VPLS with PBB effectively addresses MAC-scalability: integrating BEB into VPLS edge solves MAC-scalability of VSI. On the other hand, H-VPLS addresses scalability of PW mesh. What more could one want? (No, Dave, not PBT.)


back to heretoday's question: Regarding Nortel's current situation, and having been given a kick from BT's 21CN -- what are Nortel's plans with PBT (if any)?

heretoday 12/5/2012 | 4:10:12 PM
re: Et Tu, Morin? Then Fall, CESR! Interesting comments and perspective Creagh. I posted the message to see if I could pull the chain of someone at Nortel. I don't think Tata is Nortel... wouldn't mention VPLS, for example if he/she were. But I'm speculating.

Regarding your comments, Nortel is counter to your theory. They ONLY market to T1 for new technology forsaking T2/T3.

Bell Canada was the primary customer focus for what became the MERS8600 PBB story. It started in 2000ish with some exprimental work with IP encapsulation (Nortel IPLT) and evolved to a proprietary macinmac which became the drafts for PBB.

Bell pulled back from the NT PBB story and so NT had to shop for a new T1 carrier. BT became the focus.

Understand that each time a T1 focus changes, the Plan of Record changes to accomodate the priority features of that carrier as ALL carriers are different with different needs.

When BT backed off, the Verizon SES RFP became the focus. NT promised a revised POR for the Vz SES win forsaking promises to other Carriers. With all of these changes in POR the program got backed up... paralyzed.

But the promise of building a product just for Vz is obviously very appealing to Vz. And if it pays out, it is very profitable to NT. In the past there were several Vz/MCI focused product development efforts that went well... some that went bad.

But now with the appearnce that Morin is killing the PBB gear promised, Verizon is going to have to restart the SES... supposedly with someone else. There is/was A LOT of money in the SES RFP initiative.

Still wondering what they are going to do....

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