Virtualization to fundamentally change telecom networks

Eve Griliches, IDC program director
06 Feb 2009

Service providers are dependent on the infrastructure they build to deliver profitable services, but they must also be nimble and flexible to scale these services. Investment protection and operational continuity are also critical components in purchasing infrastructure. Ideally, carrier revenue should be increasing while capital and operational expenditures are decreasing. Juniper Networks is helping provide this in two new ways.

First, Juniper is introducing the TX Matrix Plus switching fabric to interconnect up to 16 T-series core routers. With up to 1024 10G ports or 256 40G ports, carriers can build a 25 Tb routing platform in only 11 racks. All interfaces, software and high-availability features come standard on the platform, as does the JUNOS operating system.

Second, Juniper is introducing integrated optics (DWDM interfaces) supporting G.709 and GMPLS. Juniper has been criticized for not having this matrix available to date, but the real question is this: Is there really a need for a routing node of such high capacity‾ The answer is actually yes, but for different reasons than building just a single 25 Tbps node. Providers have built multiple IP overlay networks with little or no convergence of those networks. Each network that is built for a specific service is, in fact, a routing overlay.

This means providers that support multiple services for several product-marketing divisions must build multiple networks to support these services. And here lies the interesting change in infrastructure we are seeing: Service provider and carrier networks are beginning to look more and more like IT infrastructure.

Virtualization to fundamentally change network infrastructure

The data center today adopts virtualization as the de facto operating model, and although it may take a while to adopt this model in service provider networks, it is a paradigm shift that is indeed happening. Virtualization can and will fundamentally change infrastructure networks in the same way it changed data centers. Providers know they need to converge their networks, but embedded in their organizations are standard ways of operating that may take longer to change.

Juniper is introducing network virtualization so providers can enable virtualization in their core without changing their operating environment. The hardware combination of the TX Matrix Plus with the JCS 1200 enables secure virtualization and brings all the 'separate' routers onto one common infrastructure without changing the organizational structure of the provider, the business model or the network. It decouples the infrastructure and services into secure and isolated networks on individual hardware, where accounting, billing and services for the wireline, wireless and wholesale divisions within the provider operate on the same equipment.

Juniper's core network virtualization: How it works

How does it work‾ Juniper's JCS 1200 creates protected system domains -- essentially hardware logical routers using one or more slots on a physical router. Each protected system domain may perform network functions, such as core or aggregation, and/or service functions like VPN or peering. In essence, each division and/or service is isolated and secured within a hardware logical router. With this key feature, providers can optimize their network and support new business models on shared but secure infrastructure.

The benefits are clear: Services are decoupled from the infrastructure, the organizational model within the provider need not change, each network is still operated individually by its organization, and expansion can take place with little risk to the existing network.

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