Report from Ethernet Expo, New York City
It has been a whirlwind week in New York for Light Reading’s Ethernet Expo event. My company, Overture Networks, was there in force to meet with dozens of customers and partners at what has easily become the largest Carrier Ethernet focused event in North America.
This year, for the first time, Heavy Reading’s Stan Hubbard gathered his Ethernet Executive Council for a private dinner to share some of the results of his research and to interact with the 30 or so members of the council who were in attendance. The dinner was good and the company was even better. The next day, Stan shared some of his research with the greater Ethernet Expo audience. One of the key takeaways for me was the confirmation that we have truly entered into an era where broad acceptance of Carrier Ethernet has placed new requirements on providers to deliver a ubiquitous offering to reach their customers wherever their business locations might be. The winning operators are almost universally using a combination of their own optical facilities along with Ethernet, TDM and copper leased access lines.
The event also saw a series of informative talks from service providers and innovative vendors. The highlights for me included:
- Equinix and Telx publically requested that we, as an industry, drop the use of the term “carrier” from what we had all been referring to as the “Carrier Ethernet Exchanges.” Their argument goes something like this: We are moving to a model where Ethernet services and exchange connections are not limited to interconnecting carriers. In particular, Enterprise access to cloud resources constitutes a tremendous new application for exchange providers.
- Mike Rouleau from tw telecom declared the end of the era of “big dumb pipes.” Rouleau says the enterprise CIO is working hard to drive value back into the business, and a key to doing that is to make services faster, better and easier. His position that the best model for cloud applications is to combine the best of breed applications with the best of breed connectivity. This, he said, can’t be achieved with an all-in-one “walled garden” approach of many cloud operators. Where it really gets interesting is in his vision for tw telecom’s network model. Here, Rouleau laid out a three-phase plan that starts by providing their customers enhanced end-to-end visibility into the granular performance indicators of their services. The second phase is to give the enterprise the keys to control their capacity dynamically. This bandwidth on demand concept is nothing new, but Rouleau thinks with Ethernet, we can finally get it done. And the final phase consists of giving their customers control over the priority, bandwidth, queue depth and a number of other parameters associated with their applications. So here, the network would have visibility at the application layer, and be able to dynamically respond to requests from the enterprise to the changing needs of the business.
- There was a consistent call − from both service providers and vendors− to simplify Carrier Ethernet service management. This was the message from Overture’s Brian van Voorhis and Ciena’s Kevin Daines, although van Voorhis gave three great examples of how service providers are doing a great job today leveraging the service management capabilities of Carrier Ethernet to solve selected real world problems.
If you attended the event, please share your key takeaways using the comment link. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks.