Well, this week there were some legal maneuvers on the Net Neutrality front. The Cable Companies through their lobbying arms are trying to stall the implementation of Title II. The FCC said no and now we are at the courts. I suspect the courts will say yes at least temporarily. In the long term it should not matter, unless things take all the way until the next election. At that point, the FCC might have a change in leadership and direction. I am not sure that a stay will be in place that long but we shall see.
On Wednesday, I reviewed the purchase of Cyan Optics by Ciena. I will not review the details of this but want to focus on the technology involved. The reason that Cyan was purchased was a technology called “Software Defined Networking” (SDN) and Cyan is an early mover in that market. Paired with another technology called “Network Function Virtualization” (NFV) service providers are trying to build a more “agile” infrastructure. It is still unclear how these markets are going to evolve, but they are important trends.
Much of this work comes from what is going on in the IT Business. There is a trend for service to be much more Web oriented. This goes from programs using Web Technologies to provide their User Interfaces all the way to Software as a Service (SaaS) products. You may think you are unaware of these changes, but think about your E-Mail. Most PC’s shipped with Outlook Express from Microsoft. That is what is called a Mail Client and provided a User Interface to your E-Mail. If you use the Webmail client of software like GMail then you have experience with SaaS.
All of this is changing the way that products and services are used to create Service Provider Networks. It is also changing the way that we use these services and relate to our Service Providers.
In the IT realm, the notion of Virtualization exploded with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Even though Virtualization (and what Engineers at the time meant by “The Cloud”) existed before AWS, it is the advent of AWS that changed lots of things. Amazon took the software that it makes to make Amazon.com and allowed 3rd parties to take advantage of this capability. They rented computing, storage and bandwidth in a way that allowed customers to start small and scale up their infrastructure as they need. AWS clients can reallocate resources as they want to different functions and capabilities.
Well, network companies want that same capability. This means that things are going to be a bit interesting for a bit of time and price and value changes. There are significant issues to work out with the technology and lots of different ways to make this work. One thing that might happen will be the rise of service providers that are completely “soft”. The value that they provide is always on demand and ride on top of other’s infrastructure. Net Neutrality as implemented may allow for or may destroy these kind of Service Providers (if you can’t get a specific kind of bandwidth some kinds of services are not possible).
So keep your eyes open and see what kinds of new providers come to be!
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