“SDN, NFV are central to meeting tomorrow’s mobility needs for operators”

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Exponential growth in the India’s intake for smart devices, optimistic and growing economy, rollout of 4G/LTE and the Government’s push towards ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ – all this is driving towards the need for next-gen network technologies (The New IP) and Brocade is ready to play the role of catalytic agent for this network transformational change.

Swapna Bapat, Director, Systems Engineering, Brocade India speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about how Brocade is addressing the New IP transformation and how Brocade Network Visibility solutions can help telecom managers to more effectively optimize their networks and deliver a better overall user experience, implement cost controls, and enhance revenue initiatives.

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If we were to do a comparison of rate of change in technology in the telecom space vs. the underlying technology supporting these trends, where does the Indian telecom market stand? What are the challenges?

The rate of change in technology over the last ten years has been breathtaking, smartphones, the internet-of-things, social media, and online games have connected us in ways we are still grappling with, but the underlying technologies that support these new ways of doing business hasn’t evolved at the same pace.

In India, the infrastructure we deploy today is fundamentally the same as it was 10 years ago. It may be faster, yes, but not more agile, adaptable, or scalable. We are on the forefront of the next generation of networking, and now is the time to differentiate from the pack.

Where are the big opportunities for Brocade when it comes to targeting the telecoms community?

The India market is going through a dramatic transformation with investments in private cloud, public cloud as well as network refresh due to the 10G and 40G adoption across Enterprise, Government, Telecom and other verticals.

Strong fundamentals in the Indian market – optimistic and growing economy, rollout of 4G/LTE, growing adoption of smart devices, Government’s push with ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ all point to the need for next-gen network technologies (The New IP).

This offers unique opportunities for Brocade’s next generation of New IP products to meet this challenge. In the New IP, Brocade Network Visibility solutions are a prime example of a solution that will address this demand and will help telecom managers to more effectively optimize their networks. Ultimately, enabling them to deliver a better overall user experience, implement cost controls, and enhance revenue initiatives.

Why are mobile operators considering technologies like NFV and SDN?

Mobile operators are shifting their technology focus from connecting devices to connecting people. From a network perspective, that means transitioning beyond device-specific and network-dependent services (think SMS), to universal communications and information access driven by highly flexible services and software (think iMessage).

This transition is fueled by the economies of scale that today’s virtualized data centers can provide, along with the ability to move the underlying hardware-based networking functionality into software that runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware in that virtualized data center. For the operators, this tectonic technology shift unlocks new levels of agility and economics. And they are embracing technologies that are open, software-based, and productivity focused. SDN, NFV, they believe these technologies are central to meeting tomorrow’s mobility needs.

How can increased adoption of NFV and SDN reduce CapEx and OpEx for telecom sector? where can Brocade help in this regard?

Replacing proprietary pieces of hardware with standardized serversand networking brings the agility to deliver new servicesdynamically while significantly reducing CAPEX and OPEXcosts. This liberates the carriers from hardware lock-in whichincurs extra costs further down the line; while being a boonto their customers fatigued from service providers beingunable to adapt and deliver services that address changingbusiness needs. The elevation of all the network functions toa single virtualized infrastructure with a common frameworkalso means OPEX costs are likewise reduced, as operationalvisibility and management is simplified.

Brocade’s NFV offering includes virtual packet core, software-based routing for mobile backhaul networks, and S/Gi-LAN functions, such as application delivery, load balancing, security, and network analytics products. And to deploy a virtualized datacenter and ease the transition to SDN, we’ve got an open SDN controller.

We also have OpenFlow enabled data center switches that feature an OpenFlow hybrid mode, so the datacenter can run SDN and traditional networking flows on the same infrastructure. In fact, we have technologies for every location in the network, from cell site to the data center.

What challenges of the mobile operator market will Brocade Network Visibility solutions address?

Mobile network operators are under significant pressure as the declining Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) derived from voice services is not being sufficiently offset by the ARPU growth from mobile data. At the same time, customer adoption of Over-The-Top (OTT) services—such as video—is exploding, requiring even more network capacity and performance.

This trend is driving the build-out of 4G/LTE networks and early planning for the upcoming deployment of 5G. In these transitions, mobile operators are increasingly relying on visibility and analytics to both control costs and enable new premium services and revenue streams. Unfortunately, traditional visibility infrastructures were not designed to support the latest generation of mobile networks.

Brocade’s innovative approach to building an open, software-enabled visibility infrastructure addresses this key challenge with the Brocade’s Network Visibility solutions. These solutions empower mobile network operators with critical insights into the traffic within their networks, while also transitioning their visibility infrastructures from being closed and monolithic to software-enabled, open, and disaggregated.

With an open and software-centric architecture—cornerstones of the New IP—Brocade is redefining visibility infrastructures found in mobile packet cores today, enabling mobile operators to accelerate their journey to an agile infrastructure that can support the explosive data growth and capacity demands of 4G/LTE and future 5G mobile networks.

What are some of the innovative and unique feature of these solutions?

The Brocade Network Visibility product family includes:

  • Brocade MLXe Packet Brokers and Brocade ICX® Packet Brokers: A comprehensive family of packet brokers to address the wide range of density, performance, and programmability needs of Tier-1 mobile operators
  • Brocade Virtual Packet Broker: The industry’s first full-featured, virtual TAP/packet broker for vEPC environments
  • Brocade Session Director: Software-based separation of mobile control flow processing in the visibility network to deliver maximum scalability, real-time programmability of packet brokers, and enhanced network intelligence
  • Brocade Packet Probes: Software-based, scalable, wire-speed packet processing engines that decode and reduce mobile bearer and control traffic to extract and deliver essential metadata required by network monitoring and analytics solutions
  • Brocade Visibility Manager: A single-pane-of-glass management application for the entire Brocade Network Visibility solution
  • Open APIs: Application programming interfaces between Brocade and third-party components to help ensure freedom of choice at each layer of the visibility infrastructure

This combined solution transforms the mobile operator visibility infrastructure to unlock new levels of agility and choice. The software-driven approach also delivers real-time programmability of the packet brokers, and a dynamic, scale-out architecture that supports an unprecedented 100 million subscribers per packet core.


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