Service providers all over the world are in the middle of a shift from hardware-centric to software-controlled, service-focused networks. They're chasing substantial and far-reaching benefits such as reduced costs, speedier service rollouts and enhanced flexibility to address emerging needs. Network functions virtualization (NFV) is one of the break-through technologies enabling the transition. NFV enables a dramatic change. Network functionality is virtualized, enabling standard servers and general-purpose storage to operate network appliances, which take the place of dedicated hardware. Consider the cumbersome range of hardware types, functions and variants that are currently required over the lifespan of IT services with a given customer, and the substantial cost, scalability and flexibility benefits are readily apparent. Virtualizing hardware-specific functionality eliminates the need for diverse hardware and allows for an unprecedented degree of service agility. Service providers are (finally) freed to ...
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In the last few years, Data Center Operators and Internet Content Providers (ICPs) have grown from being just footnotes on analysts' charts to dominating transport bandwidth consumption. A pervasive question in the press this year has been how much bandwidth do the new kings of consumption really need? One prognosticator will claim they need as much as they can get, and would buy a Petabit if made available today, while another industry sage proffers a single Terabit will suffice for the foreseeable future. So who's right? It turns out, both. To illustrate the point, let's look at two ICPs in the exact same line of business, similar in size, global reach, and number of subscribers. Both have hundreds of thousands of servers running in leaf and spine configurations. Computing clusters are formed by groupings of these servers and switches between them. These clusters used to be ...

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It's hard to go very far, especially if you work in the IT or telecom sectors, without hearing or reading about the Internet of Things. The IoT seems to be everywhere. And that's a problem. Right now we're at a transitional point in the history of the IoT and, indeed, communications in general. Overlapping trends – including virtualization, machine-to-machine, high-speed networking, mobility as well as very inexpensive processing and storage – have opened the gates to ubiquitous computing. It's redundant at this point to say that the Internet of Things will be big. For folks who want a review of the pretty astounding numbers, check out Business Insider. In an ironic way, this isn't so great. The vision is getting ahead of the reality. Two clichés come to mind: “Be careful what you wish for” and ...
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We're all familiar with the tantalizing benefits of network functions virtualization (NFV) - flexibility, scalability and cost-efficiency, to name just a few. But there are certain issues that still need a lot of scrutiny. Of these issues, network security and data protection are paramount. Operators and suppliers know that these two areas need to be addressed if a truly successful NFV infrastructure is to be widely adopted. Network security and data protection are especially important for enterprises that are unsure whether they want to move mission-critical data and vital network functions into the cloud. Without the necessary assurances, enterprises will be unwilling to adopt NFV-based services. What’s important to consider here is that, far from being a weakness, NFV can actually provide additional security and protection ...
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“But some of us haven’t even got 4G yet!” – were the first words spoken by my wife when I mentioned this article topic to her. Of course she’s right – the wife's always right! But seriously, isn't talking about 5G about as premature as getting excited that Tokyo are hosting the Olympic Games in 2020? And it's not because it's a secret; it's simply because, as yet, no-one really knows what it is. No one except, it seems, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who captured the headlines with his spin-heavy, hashtag-laden speech during the opening of CeBIT in Germany last year ..

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