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May 06, 2016

The Holistic View of Network Design: Musings from GENBAND's Perspectives16

Here is an interesting question to consider: Does SDN mean the end of the Stupid Network?

Before the self-hatred of network operators tells me no, let me ask it another way: Is Amazon Web Services a Smart Network?

Embedded in the history of line cards and other hardware interfaces to customer-facing interfaces like ISDN, PRIs was a mixture of software with the hardware that made the network interface from customer to call control easier.

With the virtualization of the carrier network, the model is very close to AWS, Azure and Blue Remix. As a matter of fact, that is normally the answer to my question, “What will the customer order?”

I don’t really like that answer.

After hearing all the people at Verizon Partner Solutions events still selling Voice Grade circuits, I came to the conclusion that the customer was not interested in becoming savvy.

Think about it for a moment. These are sales into enterprise companies. I have to believe that they own at least one cell phone and have a laptop connected to Wi-Fi at home and at work.

And yet they don’t want to think about SIP trunk – they want DSOs!

As I write this I am at GENBAND’s Perspectives16.

Carriers can ride the glass to data centers where SDN and NFV make it so that Erlangs and Mother’s Day trunks are a thing of the past. When I think of the agony of network design in the past, this is a great experience.

And yet, celebrating the throughput still feels like a plumber proud of the pipe, while the customer wants a sink.

This has made me come to the conclusion that GENBAND should use Kandy in their cloud application environment as a configurator for customers as they lag behind the intelligence now in the network.

As Virtualization makes it so that processing is behind the scenes, to make the virtualization easy for the customer you have to let them buy what is familiar.

Now before my readers get into a snit, let me say that Yes, customers understand applications, and video on demand and other relatively new features.

However, these services were acquired because they were easy to understand.

Making it so the customer orders something they recognize from the past is essential. Remember, it took the inclusion of the phone to make the app store a reality. If Steve Jobs had tried to make the iPod with connectivity -- but not cell phone -- I am sure we would still have our Blackberrys.

In other words you can change the game, but you have to make it so it fits into people’s needs.

Lots of companies want virtualized services, but customers just want service.

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