Carrier Ethernet powers the cloud

John C. Tanner
05 Dec 2012

When the Metro Ethernet Forum announced Carrier Ethernet 2.0 in February, much of the focus was on its implications for mobile backhaul. And understandably so. Mobile backhaul has proven one of the major success stories for Carrier Ethernet as cellcos seek cheaper and more scalable backhaul options as mobile data traffic grows well beyond the capacity of E1 links. And Carrier Ethernet 2.0 tackled one of the chief limitations of Carrier Ethernet as a backhaul technology - the ability to manage multiple classes of service on a single link.

However, coinciding with the release of Carrier Ethernet 2.0, the MEF also set its sights firmly on cloud services (see related story “Preparing for the next generation”). In a concept paper on Carrier Ethernet's role in the cloud, the MEF said that cloud computing and cloud services would have "a massive impact on the Ethernet services market", and to that end, the MEF was undertaking a phased approach to developing Carrier Ethernet as a key WAN technology for cloud services, particularly private cloud services for enterprises.

The MEF declared that it was engaging with cloud players market to educate, understand and evolve Carrier Ethernet networks and services to "ensure that the advantages of Ethernet services can be used by the new cloud-centric IT services model."

The MEF also said it would work with the cloud community to "identify their unique dynamic and elastic WAN service requirements to enable communications service providers to offer Ethernet services that optimally support the delivery of private and hybrid cloud services."

Obviously it's early days for the MEF's cloud push, particularly when it comes to Carrier Ethernet 2.0 - the first MEF-certified products for CE2.0 won't be out until at least next year.

Even so, there's quite a bit of buzz in the Carrier Ethernet space about the various roles the technology will play in the cloud, and what CE2.0 will bring to the table.

"The cloud angle brings new life to Carrier Ethernet beyond just plain vanilla Ethernet VPN services," says Yuri Gittik, chief strategy officer for RAD Data Communications.

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