The New Network Ecosystem
The consumption of digital content, mobile apps and Cloud Computing is moving at an unprecedented pace, which is driving tremendous demand for faster and more efficient networks. Today telecom operators must step up their pace in evolving their legacy systems and the new economics of their businesses to derive the greatest value from their networks.
Wilfred Kwan, Chief Operating Officer of Reliance Communications (Enterprise) and Global Cloud Xchange shares his insights on how new technologies will accelerate business transformation in this growing digital universe.
THE RACE TOWARD CLOUD, BIG DATA AND ESPECIALLY VIDEOS IS PUTTING TREMENDOUS PRESSURE ON NETWORKS TO BE FASTER AND MORE EFFICIENT. HOW WILL NETWORKS EVOLVE TO KEEP PACE?
Network operators are the heart of the digital generation. The evolution of the next-generation network ecosystem will be very exciting to watch over the next five years, especially for those players who capitalize on new opportunities with their assets and technology — they stand to benefit greatly from the innovations that next-generation technology will bring.
On the asset side, obviously you need to have the fiber economics and Data Centers, but these alone won’t be sufficient. What you need is a connected Data Center with the fat pipes and the smart pipes, which is only one side of the equation.
On the technology piece, we have seen a huge transformation of the standardizations of the commercial hardware in the last two years. There will also be more open platform software available; we also see the rising trend of the separation of the control plane and the data plane; significant advancement in security.
Many new technologies have emerged from the lab environment and gained a level of maturity which is now ready for network deployment: SDN (Software Defined Network), NFV (Network Function Virtualization), compression, protocol optimizer / quality of service , traffic monitoring / shaping and security. These enabling technologies will accelerate the pace of virtualization, coupled with connected Data Center and big/smart pipes and networks, will drive the pace of cloud adoption to a new level.
HOW IS NEXT GENERATION CLOUD ECOSYSTEM CHANGING THE BUSINESS DYNAMICS OF THE LEGACY NETWORK?
It’s all about connections, reachability, and virtualization. If you put these three together, you’ve really got a compelling story for Cloud Computing. But Cloud itself is not enough, you also need the big and flexible pipes in order to offer an orchestration model for the end users. If you look at it from a value perspective for the end user, what they’re looking for is flexibility; at the same time they’re looking for a model that they can actually choose between a CAPEX and an OPEX model.
Going forward, a lot of the orchestration will be done in real time, either self-serving or by the network providers, like ourselves. At the same time, we’ll be providing them a lot more flexibility that has not been seen before. A lot of that will be done in real time. If we can do that, that will be the next generation network.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR THE END USERS?
The value for our end users is that it will be very easy for our customers to realize their business goals as they focus on their core business. They can leave the network piece to providers like ourselves. We are equipped be their one-stop-shop. Basically, we can help them connect with the rest of the world not, only through our GCX Global network, but also provide connectivity through our partners. And that makes building a real business much easier than before. The barrier to entry is also much lower than what we have seen 10 years ago.
A key thing to note is that while technology may change with the evolution of the next generation network, one thing that will not change is the need for Managed Services. Although we see many customers move to the Cloud and optimize on virtualization, they still need a provider with a one-stop-shop solutions. From a provisioning and a life-cycle management perspective, that hasn’t changed!