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Answering the Question, 'What's up with the data center network?'

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

In the search for more knowledge about the incredible pace of innovation and change that is driving major network transformation by enterprises and service providers; it is always a good idea to review the postings of those on the front lines.  This is why the recent blog by Marten Hauville, Principal Solutions Architect (ANZ) for cloud networking specialist Alcatel-Lucent’s Nuage Networks  business unit and Co-Organizer of the Australian OpenStack User Group, caught my attention.

Hauville in his blog raises and answers a timely question, “What’s up with the data center network?” 

Large Enterprises: Think Like a Service Provider When it Comes to Network Connectivity

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

There is hardly a business today that does not require high speed and high performance Internet connectivity. Let’s face it, quality network access is table stakes for running a successful business in an increasingly connected world where commerce is 24/7/365 and can originate or terminate from anywhere and over any device with a browser.  As a result, ensuring good networking and communications for employees is a major priority for all businesses, but it is an especially daunting one for large enterprises due the volume and the accommodation of rapid change thanks to things like the cloud, BYOD, mobility and the virtualization of the workplace.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent application note, The large enterprise has changed, gave an interesting snapshot of large enterprise IT today.

Cable MSOs can Create New Revenue Streams with Cloud-based Big Data and Analytics for SMBs

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Cable multiservice operators (MSOs) have embraced the need for broadband data, and with good reason. Broadband data demand is expected to grow by 560 percent over the next five years, according to a recent Bell Labs study, largely driven by demand for pay TV and video and cloud traffic generated from the proliferation of data centers.

Cable MSOs are doing well by their entertainment services bundled with residential broadband offers, but this revenue is under siege by the likes over over-the-top (OTT) video services such as Netflix and Apple. Hence, cable MSOs are constantly in search of new revenue opportunities.

One strong candidate for new revenue is commercial services for small and medium-sized business (SMBs). This area generated 10 percent of MSO revenue in 2014, according to Gilbert Marciano, CMO Strategic Marketing - Customer & Market Insight Senior Manager at Alcatel-Lucent, in a recent TechZine posting appropriately titled, Differentiate your SMB services with big data. In fact, it is noted that in the U.S. Comcast and Time Warner Cable together generated roughly $5.5 billion from the segment in 2013.

Alcatel-Lucent Explains the Importance of CDC-F Optical Networks

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Today’s technology now allows a single fiber strand to carry up to 17.6 terabits per second of traffic. That’s the equivalent of transmitting 88 Blu-ray discs in a second. This ultra-broadband capability, and the new software-defined networks that service providers are embracing, have important impacts on optical networks further upstream.

“…we need to stay in the light/photonic domain as long as possible in order to reduce the cost associated with repeatedly converting wavelength photonic signals to electrical,” notes Scott Larrigan, senior marketing manager of IPR&T product and solution marketing at Alcatel-Lucent, in a recent TechZine posting, CDC-F optical networks propel us forward, and in the podcast embedded below.

5 areas OpenStack needs help to support NFV

By: Andreas Lemke, Marketing Lead, CloudBand NFV platform, Alcatel-Lucent
From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

OpenStack isn’t an as-is solution for telco network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructures. OpenStack is an open-source cloud management technology that provides many of the capabilities needed in any NFV environment. And this has prompted interest among many telco service providers.

But to realize the full benefits of NFV, service providers need NFV platforms that provide additional capabilities to support distributed clouds, enhanced network control, lifecycle management, and high performance data planes.

NFV INSIGHTS: Preparing for the future of NFV

By: Andreas Lemke, Ph.D. - Alcatel-Lucent


Have you ever gotten your hands dirty and really implemented an NFV or SDN application? Six teams from academia and industry in Israel and Europe can answer with a resounding yes! These teams gathered in Haifa at the 4-day 2015 Winter School and Hackathon event, organized by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand team and Israel’s leading Institute of Technology, Technion. The event offered a full program to get acquainted with the fundamental concepts behind cloud computing, software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).

Partnering is Key to Successful Network Transformations

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

One of the things that will characterize 2015 is the trend that started picking up momentum in 2014 that operators of physical communications networks have developed a sense of urgency about transforming their networks.  It used to be that if you were a network operator you could invest with some level of assurance that the hardware and the associated software to run it would be core to your network for possible decades before becoming obsolete.  However, as everyone in the industry knows, this is no longer the case.

As the world becomes more software-centric in terms of service creation, delivery, agility, security and performance— to meet the tsunami of data heading operator’s way and to allow network operators to maintain their relevance as ecosystem hubs rather than “dumb pipe” providers—cost efficient and effective operational excellence and the need to be fast-to-market and fast in the market with innovative services and enhanced customer experiences have become paramount. It is why so much attention is being paid to thing like Software-Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (VFV). 

The need for speed has become (pardon the turn of phrase) hyper-critical.  However, with recognition of the need to transform and do so rapidly should also come the recognition that network operators cannot transform rapidly and successfully on their own...

Why Carriers Are Embracing NFV, and What They Should Demand of These New, More Agile Environments

By: Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

Service providers are undergoing a sea change.

Their networks, which traditionally have been based on turnkey network elements running software on purpose-built hardware, are moving to a software-centric model. In this model the true value lies in the software, while the hardware is typically of the commercial-off-the-shelf variety.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is the name of this new architecture, which not only embraces the model of instituting network functionality in software and running it on industry-servers, but also allows applications and services to leverage those resources whenever and wherever they are.

Partnering to Meet the Challenges and Opportunities in Building Smart Cities

The dynamics of this global change are fairly well known, although how to address the challenges isn’t so obvious. For example, cities consume three quarters of energy and contribute 80 percent of CO2 emissions globally, according to a recent report in The Guardian. How can that energy be most effciently delivered, with minimal environmental impact?

Consensus is emerging that what’s needed are smarter, safer, greener cities. Governments and municipalities are under pressure to invest in sustainable infrastructure capable of efficiently delivering services to citizens and workers.

There’s a pretty compelling smart grid transformation opportunity for public-private partnerships embedded in this evolution. Together, telecom service providers and information and communication technology (ICT) providers can bring in their assets, expertise and experience to help power utilities meet goals for smart grid applications.

NFV INSIGHTS: The right SDN is right for NFV

By: Roland Mestric, Director, Video Solutions Marketing

It feels like it was just a few months ago when you could read articles in the trade press lumping together SDN and NFV with NFV being a form of SDN or vice versa.  Yes, both somehow are about virtualization and about converting hardware into software. Today – after numerous proofs-of-concept run by service provides around the globe – we know the role of SDN as virtually indispensable for NFV solutions that aspire to deliver the kind of agility and operational simplification we all expect from NFV. Only SDN can deliver quickly enough the (virtual) networks needed for newly deployed network functions. Alcatel-Lucent has recently demonstrated a complete virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) including a virtual IMS/VoLTE deployed in less than 30 minutes.

Successful Communications Services Have Six Features in Common

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Large enterprises increasingly resemble public network service providers as they manage access, transport and network routing while controlling devices and sessions. Whether businesses build their own or buy their communications services through a public provider, the IP communications architectures are looking remarkably similar.

“I’ve noticed that both private service operators (CIOs of large enterprises) and public service providers are implementing very similar solutions around the globe,” wrote Oliver Krahn in a recent TechZine article, 6 Steps that Improve Communications Services.
ALUSnip10.14.2.JPGSource: Alcatel-Lucent

NFV INSIGHTS: Why Distribution Matters

By: Andreas Lemke, Alcatel-Lucent Sr. Marketing Manager – Cloud

 “GM factories reduce production in aftermath of Japan earthquake 2011”, “Hard disk shortage due to Thailand flooding 2012“, “Drug shortages continue to vex doctors”, “China factory fire sends memory chip prices to three-year high (2013)”. Industrial supply chains are becoming increasingly tenuous as they are thinned out and stretched across the globe. Raw materials are available from fewer and fewer specialized suppliers and warehouses are eliminated for just-in-time production. Small, local incidents affect the supply of goods on a global scale.

In the IT industry we are seeing a similar trend. Enterprises are moving their applications and data to the cloud, but this cloud is often highly centralized and not as resilient, free flowing, or efficient as one might think. Amazon Web Services, the largest cloud provider in the world, is serving their global customers from no more than two handfuls of locations. Netflix and other companies have experienced major outages due to single failures in the cloud they used.

So what does this mean for NFV?

Network Functions Virtualization: Learnings from an NFV proof-of-concept

By: Asaf Peled, Cloud Solution Architect, Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand activity 

We live in exciting times – again. I had been wondering if there was still room for fundamental innovation, for technological disruption – the worn out word. We had the Internet bubble that burst 2001/2002. We had the advent of the smartphone in the recent years. Great innovation, but somehow they reached a plateau. Faster processors, larger screens? It doesn’t seem to make a real difference. Apple’s engine showed the first signs of sputtering.

And yet, there is something brewing behind the scenes that makes the engineer’s heart beat faster: NFV and SDN, a bold new vision about the future of networks (read these blog posts about understanding Network Functions Virtualization and Software Defined Networks). Network functions are to be reduced to pure software - doing away with all the special purpose chips, circuit boards, and cabinets into which we have poured our brains to deliver the ultimate in features, performance, and reliability.

200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

By: Earl Kennedy, IP Transport Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Optical network operators have already made the move to 100G. But skyrocketing bandwidth demand means many are already pondering what’s next. With a 200G optical solution hitting the market, you probably have questions about when to move to 200G optical – and what you need to know when you make that move.

How the Cloud is Making Datacenters Dynamic

By: Sunil Khandekar, CEO, Nuage Networks

The future of datacenters is virtual, automatic, cloud-based, instantaneous, and boundary-less. These might not be the words associated with datacenters today -- you're more likely to hear slow, cumbersome, and related words in the same breath -- but software is driving this revolution in networking.

It has been undergoing a massive shift to the cloud for years now, driven by enterprise motivations to consolidate, as well as to use computer resources more optimally and efficiently. While computing virtualization has driven this transformation, the network has fallen woefully behind. Imagine having 20 virtual machines (VMs) in a server: Tomorrow that number grows to 100, to 200 the day after, and so on.

As you realize the implications of this growth in the datacenter, it becomes clear that the traditional networking approach of connecting those VMs is mindboggling because it doesn't deliver the true promise of the cloud -- instant access to apps anytime, anywhere and with no disruptions.

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