Tuesday, November 25, 2014

GEN14: What's Driving Business Ethernet Services?

by James E. Carroll

Vertical Systems Group recently reported that customer installations of Carrier Ethernet services in the U.S. will reach one million ports in 2018.  The projected figure includes all retail Ethernet services at speeds ranging from sub-10 Mbps to more than 10 Gbps.

So, what's driving the market for business Ethernet?

The recent MEF GEN14 conference in Washington, D.C., which brought together over 1,000 attendees from 36 countries, featured keynotes and presentations from many of the leading Ethernet service providers.

 A few takeaways:
  • There is a paradigm shift underway to cloud-centric services.
  • Enterprises are seeking secure and scalable direct connections to leading cloud providers.
  • Network vendors are delivering new service orchestration platforms that promise service innovation and business agility for operators.
  • The MEF is developing its "Third Network" framework to define automated e-to-e provisioning.  (the first network is the telecom infrastructure and the second network is the best-effort Internet)
  • There are 3 pillars for the Third Network: the MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO), the ONF's SDN, and ETSI's NFV.
  • Allstream and Tata Communications are already showing an Elastic Bandwidth Proof of Concept where an API automates the ENNI between networks.
  • XO Communications sees Ethernet access disrupting legacy connections and yet serving as a complement to MPLS-based IP VPNs.
  • Global Capacity, which offers an Ethernet-enabled Cloud Ecosystem, noted that there are already 12,000 network asset owners, over 2500 in the U.S. alone.  It is targeting "Connectivity-as-a-Service", offering a national aggregation network combined with a software-driven cloud marketplace with automated provisioning and analytics.
  • Lumos Networks sees VoLTE as one of the emerging use cases for dynamic bandwidth in backhaul networks.
  • Time Warner Cable believes the industry is just in the Early Adopter phase of cloud adoption. It is offering its NaviCloud Director platform providing advanced self-service capabilities.
  • Colt, which operates 42 metro networks across Europe connecting over 20,000 buildings and 436 data centers, is now offering dedicated access to its own VMware-powered cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure and VMware. Further partnerships are expected.
  • The Cloud Ethernet Forum (CEF) launched its Clouded Leopards Den competition to find and support start-ups powered by cloud services.