The Central Office Re-architected as Data Center (CORD) project has received quite a bit of notice lately, particularly since Google (News - Alert) took a leadership role in the initiative last month. Designed to bring all the efficiencies of SDN and NFV that are becoming entrenched in the data center space to the telecom world, CORD is set to propel telecom on the final leg of its journey into the cloud.
But long before SDN and NFV became the acronyms du jour pervading virtually every corner of the technology sphere, Carrier Ethernet existed as a telecom networking mainstay, bringing broadband connectivity to the enterprise and facilitating the technology landscape in existence today.
Gaining prominence in the early 2000s, Carrier Ethernet has evolved to become a ubiquitous networking standard, enabling speeds of up to 10 Gbps and connecting the enterprise to the cloud. Used by carriers, enterprises, government agencies, utilities and other vertical markets, Carrier Ethernet is characterized by its scalability, reliability, standardized services, superior QoS and service management features.
Perhaps one of the most important features of Carrier Ethernet is that it enables traffic streams to be prioritized to manage QoS. That’s a huge benefit to organizations routing voice and video traffic over Ethernet. The software-defined approach simply takes this a step further, enabling intelligent management and routing of this traffic to gain even greater speeds and efficiencies. Cost control is another important benefit, since converged networks are capable of combining business, residential and wireless traffic to keep individual costs down.
“The next stage of Carrier Ethernet growth will come from cloud services and Carrier Ethernet interconnects, combined with virtualized network services,” wrote The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) in a 2012 blog post. “The cost advantages of Ethernet alone cannot keep pace with the uncontrollable demand for bandwidth combined with the emergence of on-demand network services.”
And this is where the software-defined model has entered the picture, offering a complementary way to architect and manage Carrier Ethernet networks. SDN and Carrier Ethernet have an awful lot in common, with the overriding goal of providing high levels of availability and quality of service through centralized provisioning and management of resources. As mobility and the cloud drive demand for more and more bandwidth and higher speeds, the software-defined approach to Carrier Ethernet is set to become a pervasive part of networking technology.
Edited by Maurice Nagle