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Living Life On the Virtual Edge

by AceKrish ‎02-23-2015 12:01 AM - edited ‎02-23-2015 07:17 AM (12,492 Views)

What imagery does “over the top” conjure up? For some folks it is the ’87 Sly Stallone flick. For others, it's a renegade that takes things to the extreme. But ask the question to a Telecom Service Provider and don’t be surprised if they have daggers in their eyes! Why so? Let’s look at what Wikipedia has to say about it – “In broadcasting, over-the-top content refers to delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content.


The key words in this definition are “without” and “control.” Essentially this dis-intermediates the Telco and allows the over-the-top (OTT) providers – think AWS, Azure, and Google – to essentially own the customer. Wouldn’t you have dagger in your eyes if your customers were the ones being siphoned away?


So what is a Telco to do? Simple – re-engage, provide meaningful value and stay relevant inside the customer’s mind. And do this cost-effectively to boot. Hmmm – maybe it is not so simple. Brocade says – think again!


Let’s take a particular example – the customer edge. This is the demarcation point between where the customer network ends and the network providers’ edge takes over. At this edge, the service provider still has visibility into the individual customers’ identity and traffic. And they can use this to great effect. How so?


By providing a network for each customer. The one pain point in providing a network for each customer is that you need to physically touch each customer and that is real…ly expensive – that is what the customer premises equipment of CPE does today. Heard of the term truck roll? The daggers are coming back in the customers' eyes. The need to actually roll a truck to a customer’s site to commission equipment (and de-commission the same) is very expensive. So clearly that is not going to work.


In a nutshell what we need is a way without ever entering the customer premises to insert ourselves in the customer traffic path in order to provide value-added, high-performing and scalable services in a cost-effective and unique fashion for each customer. Tall order? Not so says Brocade.


Really? No, virtually. I mean using the virtual customer edge or vCE.




Focus on the “red” above.

Brocade Vyatta vRouter, as vCE here, delivers high throughput on general-purpose x86 servers. It is based on open standards, open protocols and is fully compatible with legacy networks. It has advanced functionality to be able to deploy in a variety of network environments - e.g., advanced BGP, OSPF, Multicast, IPv4, IPv6, Firewall, IPSec, GRE, QoS, NAT, etc. In addition, it runs on all major hypervisors - VMware, KVM, XEN and Hyper-V. Other benefits of Brocade Vyatta vRouter-based architectures are agility, flexibility and low cost.


Whew! I said that all in one breath!


Let’s focus on the business benefits for a moment.


Well, we can all agree that any provider CO or POP clearly has an X amount of customers that will connect ether physically or virtually. This CO or POP has limited space – and very restrictive boundaries for power and thermal (among other things). So if this POP is going to turn into a potential new datacenter and actually have customer functions terminating in it, servers are a requirement. Those servers would need to be capable of handling a high density of costumers or virtual CE routers. The more the merrier so long as performance and reliability are not sacrificed. Providers will be looking at how they are going to earn back their investment on all these new servers they will likely deploy in these new locations. They want to ensure they get the most bang for their buck, and help increase their overall profits. Makes sense right?


Well, it won’t make any sort of logical sense if 1 server = only 1 customer, especially if that 1 server is only managing routing. They want to be able to cram 20, 30, 40 or even more customer routers into that 1 server. They want a virtual router that has such an optimized footprint in which they can install 30+ or even 100 of these routers, yet still be capable of delivering multiple levels of dedicated throughput. Servers today are capable of 320+Gbps of raw throughput; imagine being able to have 320 customer routers on one platform. The benefits of that level of consolidation should be fairly clear. Ok, so 320 right now is a wild claim, but you get the point.


The Brocade vRouter has been completely re-optimized to meet and deliver the requirements of high-density services and still perform line-rate Gbps throughput levels. Not to toot our own horn here, but with 1 single Virtual Machine instance of the virtual CE router, we have been able to achieve over 80 Gbps of bidirectional line rate throughput. So, if 1 VM can achieve 80+, surely an entire server is capable of having 80 instances of this virtual CE router deployed, with each instance offering 1Gbps of service throughput. That level of scale is the goal. The Brocade Vyatta 5600 vRouter for Virtual CE deployments empowers our Telco customers with the ability to drive for this consolidation, a high degree of density deployment and ensure network service level quality to meet their customers’ requirements.


So now that you are an expert on vCE, we can eliminate the daggers in our eyes, settle down comfortably and focus on “over the top” – I mean the movie where Sly Stallone decimates the bad guys!