Carrier Ethernet, the On-Ramp to Private Cloud Services
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Carrier Ethernet, the On-Ramp to Private Cloud Services

By Mike Aquino, President & CEO, Overture Networks

Carrier EthernetMike Aquino, President & CEO, Overture Networks

To support the ongoing move by enterprises to relocate applications to the virtual private cloud, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are leveraging a new foundation of virtualization and automation. In an earlier edition “Laying Foundation for a Dynamic Infrastructure”, I had mentioned, cloud, virtualization and software-defined services are moving from proofs of concept to deployments. In addition to these principals, Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE2.0), has emerged as the onramp to cloud services or, as Camille Mendler, Principal Analyst and Head of Enterprise Verticals at Informa Telecoms & Media, has said, the “digital fuel for the cloud” in a tweet. This foundation enables CSPs to build service solutions not based solely on bandwidth, but also around an application experience for their enterprise customers.

44 percent SMBs will switch from third party cloud services providers to their primary communications services providers if offered bundles of traditional and cloud services

The Drive to the Cloud

A recent Amdocs study shows that 68 percent of Small To Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) “are more likely to select a service provider that offers cloud-based services over one that does not, and 44 percent said they will switch from third-party cloud services providers to their primary communications services providers if offered bundles of traditional and cloud services.” Over the past few years, CSPs have been acquiring cloud companies, a trend kicked off by CenturyLink with the purchase of Savvis in 2011 and, more recently, its acquisition of Tier 3. Other CSPs are following suit.

Jim Poole, GM of Global Networks and Mobility, for Equinix, an IBX data center & colocation provider, has noted in an article “many cloud companies went to market with an over-the-top delivery model over the Internet.” Indeed, as growth in video, mobility and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications continue to drive bandwidth and connectivity requirements, most of the revenue share for these services has been going to over-the top providers. However, Poole further states, “the reality of the corporate market is that it sits on a private, wide-area network— and increasingly that network is Ethernet-based.” What will shake up this model of providing cloud services over-the-top is relatively ubiquitous CE2.0 at the metro service edge, so that the physical and virtual worlds may be united and carrier-class services brought to the cloud.

Benefits of CE2.0 for Cloud Services

CE2.0 supports several attributes like scalability, resiliency and quality of service that are crucial for the delivery of cloud services. Ethernet access providers are recognizing that they can turn the complexity of their metro edge networks to their advantage by providing differentiated private cloud services. This differentiation of services further reinforces CE2.0 as the business class service of choice, while also allowing CSPs to align network Service Level Agreements (SLA) with cloud service SLAs.

With CE2.0, traditional cloud service providers can use a single link to an Ethernet access provider to connect with enterprise cloud consumers over a dedicated network connection or a Layer 2 VPN. The same CE2.0 network can also be used to deliver public cloud services by providing connectivity to the Internet. For IT department managers, CE2.0 addresses enterprise requirements for high performance with secure and controlled access to private cloud applications. For end users, this provides a predictable experience because the private cloud service delivery is controlled from end to end.

Virtual Private Cloud Solutions

Because enterprises have very high performance and demanding security requirements, they frequently opt for private cloud connection services–those that also provide the flexibility of dynamic capacity and the ability to connect to multiple private clouds. While these dedicated connections meet performance needs, a flexible and scalable solution is also needed. A dynamic virtual private cloud service that combines the standards based performance of CE 2.0 with an open architecture offers a number of key benefits:

• Dynamically connect any customer to any cloud(s)
• Dynamic bandwidth controls
• Open API for service interconnect automation
• Standardized service definitions
• E-NNI aggregation efficiencies
• Multi-layer automation, visibility and optimization
• Integrated service up-sell

CE 2.0 enables high performance connections with the flexibility and scalability advantages of a switched infrastructure. By automating service creation, activation and assurance, carriers have access to more agile and dynamic service controls that help reduce cost while bringing new cloud services to market much more quickly.

Camille Mendler said in an article, “there were 300 cloud service launched by telcos in 2012.” Gartner predicts that “by 2016, the cloud services market will approach a quarter of a trillion US dollars.” Clearly, CE 2.0 is essential for a virtual private cloud offering and delivers the cost, performance and flexibility that carriers and service providers need to meet the growing demand for cloud services. 

Conclusion

There is an enormous effort underway to drive towards the delivery of standardized, simplified and automated private cloud services. Solution vendors are enthusiastically innovating to meet the needs of CSPs in this dynamic and rapidly evolving space. 2014 marks the beginning of deployments that will drive speed, flexibility and reduced costs to how carrier-class cloud-based services are created, activated and assured. The realization of these efforts will bring about personalized, application-aware, managed offerings with self-service options, giving enterprise CIOs control without the burden of managing infrastructure.

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