flexibility and feature velocity, CommScope technologists Tom Cloonan and Chris
Busch dispelled the myths around virtualization at SCTE – and helped network
innovators see a broader definition of the trend.
CLICK TO TWEET: CommScope's Tom Cloonan and Chris Busch explain five things network innovators can do now for virtualization.
happens when you
put the power of the future into the hands of industry engineers? Good things.
empowered a capacity crowd at SCTE’s Innovation Theater last week, handing out
flow diagrams of the decision tree that innovators travel when transforming
their network from centralized, appliance-based architectures to distributed,
occasion: SCTE’s Innovation Theater. The topic: Report from the Front Lines:
The Real Real About Virtualization.
can virtualize anything,” said CommScope CTO for Network Solutions Tom Cloonan.
“You can virtualize your control plane, your management plane, or your data
plane. And when you open it up to all those things, there’s many things you
could virtualize going forward.”
Flexibility is the driving force of
virtualization, offered CommScope engineering fellow Chris Busch. “You can have
conversations about cost, but those are all relative to different use cases and
scenarios,” he said. “At the end of the day, virtualization is granting the
operator incredible freedom in the way that they can … handle their growth and
manage their business.”
and feature velocity are significant benefits for operators, added Cloonan.
“Because this is in software, operators can more rapidly develop features; they
can bring in third parties to come in and help them develop features… So, this
will help drive features out into the field more rapidly."
of the most striking conclusions of the discussion, moderated by Leslie Ellis: One size will never fit all when it comes
to virtualizing network functions.
is permitted at any point in a network’s architecture," explained Cloonan.
“A lot of folks think the only virtualization out there is for virtualized
cores in a Remote PHY environment. That’s not true. You can virtualize the
control plane, the management plane, the MAC plane, the data plane…and you can
pick and choose which you want to use at any point in time."
applications can also become part of the fabric of how operators move their
business forward, added Busch. “The great example is e-gaming…the delivery of
that next immersive or ultra-low-latency experience for the customer. We can
bring that gaming service into the edge that may also be serving some virtual
DOCSIS cores. It’s part of a unified management plane that says 'We know these
customers are e-gaming opt-in subscribers; we know they’re in these service
groups. We can give them low-latency DOCSIS service; and we can bring that
gaming experience very close to the hub, maybe even deeper into the network
over time.’ So, at the end of the day, the gaming community is going to say, `You
need to be on cable because that's the best experience for gaming.’”
never had so much bandwidth,” Busch concluded. “And we’ve never had so much
opportunity to deliver it as fast as we can."
And finally, virtualization is not new.
“Virtualization's roots go back to the 1960s and began with IBM mainframes,”
said Cloonan. “In the 1990s, it got a big kick with the arrival of virtual
machines. And six to eight years ago, it got another big kick with the arrival
of containers.” Earlier at the conference, CommScope celebrated its 10th
offering virtual network functions in the cloud.
Cloonan and Busch agreed that security is the most important — and too often overlooked — priority for network
innovators inserting virtualization.
lot of open-source code gets used in virtual environments,” said Cloonan.
“Strong test programs from your vendors are key.”
platforms - whether code or cloud-compute platforms - increase the importance
of a vertically hardened stack of micro services and first-class-citizen
applications in a DevOps release pattern, added Busch. “You want to have that
warm embrace of knowing that you’ve got security, sustaining, QA all coming
along for the journey."
Download your copy of Network Transformation to the
Edge Decision Tree — which lists pros and cons of a number of virtualization
Watch the session here.