1. Take Five with Nav Chander

    CEN Feature (Mar 5 2013)

    1. Take Five with Nav Chander

      Carrier Ethernet News caught up with Nav Chander at the recent Metro Ethernet Forum quarterly meeting. As research manager for telecom business services and associated carrier network infrastructure within IDC's Worldwide Telecom Division, Chander is closely focused on Carrier Ethernet services.

      CEN: Have you been following what’s happening within the MEF with regard to software defined networking and the cloud?

      NC: The MEF is trying to look at the cloud and SDN and virtualization together, which is important and timely. What’s not clear are the use cases. I don’t see much work happening on that yet.

      The MEF is trying to decide what it will do with the Open Networking Forum. It’s important for the MEF to position itself as an enabler and Carrier Ethernet can become one of the access technologies to enable network virtualization.

      Network virtualization is more of an end goal of the service providers. It will be implemented over many years. IDC will be publishing something shortly that will go into more uses cases that I’m seeing in the market.

      CEN: Carrier Ethernet 2.0 includes various service definitions. Are any of those related specifically to the cloud?

      NC: The MEF is trying to extend Carrier Ethernet service definitions to include cloud service delivery. They could have virtualized private services that Ethernet could access. My perspective is that it should be about data center internetworking. We’re doing a report about data center WAN networking.

      Businesses are using different types of data centers -- their own, service providers’ and colocation. And they’re looking at connectivity and technologies and applications.

      There’s a very good use case for the MEF involving Ethernet used to connect storage networks across data centers, but it’s mostly point to point. As you know Ethernet is in data centers already, so it’s a natural fit for Carrier Ethernet to somehow provide end-to-end-to end connectivity in the data center.

      IDC forecasts that by 2016, Ethernet switching fabric will be 35% of the technology in data centers.

      CEN: More and more businesses are adopting cloud services because they like being able to add computing power as needed – and some people are saying that connectivity for those services needs to be just as flexible. Is that something that providers of Carrier Ethernet services are pursuing?

      NC: We have seen bandwidth on demand products and services built over the years. Various companies have tried to do it.

      What’s changed is that enterprises have become used to virtualized service deployed at a rapid pace. Year over year we’ve seen a jump to 36% from 32% of enterprises adopting virtualized services. It’s a significant proof point that they expect or would like to see the same thing available on a wide area network.

      They don’t always need services available all of the time. Some will be on all the time: where they need high bandwidth and low latency they will need fixed bandwidth.

      TW Telecom decided to offer dynamic bandwidth and let the customer configure within a portal how much bandwidth they want on the fly. Verizon has something similar. They haven’t talked much about it.

      We’re in the early days of this. Customers need help. It’s not as simple as compute cycles or storage. In networks you have many links between the access link and the cloud and the customer may use different providers.

      That is one of the goals of some of the service providers that I speak to: more flexibility in the WAN.

      The real issue will be the back office -- How will you bill and support all of this? If you can’t change back office provisioning and billing you won’t be able to make money at that.

      Carriers are more focused on profitability rather than being the coolest and being first to market.

      CEN: Are you definitely seeing demand for bandwidth on demand from business customers?

      NC: We’re seeing real demand. Carrier Ethernet has been adopted by so many enterprises. They’re willingness to look at it has grown. They’re more comfortable with it. Some have been using it for four to five years. Now enterprises are getting used to the on-demand services with some public cloud use and so it is natural for these Ethernet users to ask about being able to dial up or down bandwidth for a specific time of day/week/month or for a specific application.

      And we’re seeing new types of users in the mid-market. Rogers is doing very well with Ethernet wholesale and the mid-market.

      CEN: What’s happening with Carrier Ethernet exchanges?

      NC: I don’t see a lot of activity. Service providers are all making their own agreements. They’re all doing network-to-network agreements.

      I don’t know if exchanges have had success – maybe in mobile backhaul.

      Carriers haven’t put much investment in Carrier Ethernet exchanges. And exchange providers such as TELX are focused more on cloud and virtualized services.

      One of the MEF goals was creating network-to-network interfaces. That’s why we’re seeing a huge surge in wholesale agreements. 

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