How quickly can you activate new MPLS services?
MPLS tunnels are the go-to technology to deliver network services. But provisioning and activation can take days or even weeks. Blue Planet’s Mitch Auster details how intelligent automation can solve the many complexities of MPLS service activation.
By Mitch Auster – When it comes to delivering high quality services between geographically distributed locations, providers across the world have a go-to technology they rely on – MPLS tunnels. Each service request from a customer comes with unique requirements – a bank may require gold priority paths with redundancy, a television network may demand temporary network connectivity to stream an event, a federal agency might want to send traffic excluding certain countries, or a customer could ask for a high-bandwidth, low-latency path for data traversing between headquarters and their data center.
MPLS service activation in weeks
The current approach for provisioning and activating an MPLS service with such unique customer requirements can take days or even weeks. Under the present mode of operation, a provider must have access to the current network topology of an ever-changing network, evaluate the performance metrics of each device, link and path between multiple source and destinations pairs, use manual, legacy offline planning tools to compute the new path, and manually configure all the routers along the new path.
Add multi-vendor devices or multiple autonomous systems to this mix, and the overall cost in terms of both OPEX and efforts can be quite high. But with the competition waiting with improved offers, customers may not be willing to wait for weeks, or longer, while the provider searches for the most efficient path that meets customer constraints. more>
Posted in Business, Communication industry, Economy, Education, History, How to, Net, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, MPLS, Skills, Technology
Network Edge: Enterprises are ready for a more comprehensive approach – but can telcos deliver?
Over the last few years, enterprises have begun embracing more automation and virtualization in the wide area network (WAN), says Ciena’s Artur Kwiatkowski. As their IT architectures migrate towards (multi) cloud centricity, their network environment – and especially the network edge – must evolve to be more flexible and increasingly self-configurable by the end user. To accelerate this evolution, enterprises across many industries are deploying virtual network functions such as virtual routers, firewalls, and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). For many of them, that last application has been the starting point towards a virtualized network environment.
Was SD-WAN overhyped?
By Artur Kwiatkowski – Originally, part of its promise was about commercials: it offered a more attractive cost structure for the enterprise WAN. This was to result from increased reliance on cheap underlying network transport technologies (e.g. dedicated internet access services rather than MPLS). What has proved more transformational, however – especially in European markets where price deltas for underlay services were not that great in the first place – is the increased control that enterprises gain with SD-WAN bundles over the performance of their networks, and the ability to decouple the overlay (management and policy) function from the underlay (transport) function.
Very quickly, SD-WAN became a hyped (possibly even over-hyped) concept, and vast majority of communications service providers (CSPs) active in the B2B space scrambled to pull together an SD-WAN market offering. In many cases, these boiled down to a managed service delivered by the SD-WAN providers / equipment vendors themselves, and then white-labelled by the telco as they were resold to the enterprise end user.
It also soon transpired that SD-WAN was not a one-size-fits-all application. As a result, majority of larger CSPs today have multiple SD-WAN solutions in their product catalogue, aimed at various market segments, from small businesses to global enterprises. This is not a problem in itself, but many of them end up siloed and isolated in the context of the wider service portfolio. They also often rely on manual processes for operational aspects such as service turn-up. The resulting image of CSPs is that of a bevy of swans swimming upstream – looking distinguished and graceful above the waterline, all the while peddling frantically underneath where no one can see, just to keep moving forward.
Change seems to be on the horizon, however. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economy, Education, History, Net, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, Skills, Technology