Level 3’s SDN Analytics Comments Are Music to Our Ears

Level 3 Communications was in the news last week during Light Reading’s Carrier SDN Networks Conference. Reporting from the conference, (“Level 3: Analytics Unlocks SDN Potential”) Mitch Wagner of Light Reading quotes Level 3’s VP of global network software development, Travis Ewert:

“We’re very much advocates or strong endorsers of that on-demand model — pay for what you use, use by the slice, on demand, when you want to use it. Self-service web portals can help drive network-on-demand services. But users don’t want to go to a portal. They want direct, machine-to-machine connections for programmable networking. That’s where data and analytics come in. Analytics can be the basis of if-then programming, using passive and active metrics to define thresholds and triggers to automatically provision network resources.”

This is of course music to our ears at Packet Design. We have been advocating the use and importance of analytics in provisioning new on-demand services as well as the need to orchestrate across segments – the kind Ewert refers to as machine-to-machine connections. Legacy service provisioning (for example, a service provider signing on a new major customer) involves the planning engineers to assess the network to make sure there are sufficient resources and the necessary policy and class of service knobs are in place. This of course takes time, and the network is ill-equipped for the kind of on-demand model Ewert is talking about.

Software has to be powered by the same kind of network knowledge and know-how the planning engineers have and make the same decisions, but in real time. This of course involves extreme network telemetry including topology and current services running on the network (like the ones in Route Explorer), both current and predictive future traffic matrices (like the ones in Traffic Explorer), and performance measurements such as delay, loss and jitter (like the ones in our newly launched Performance Explorer) as well as algorithms to implement the know-how.

I will be talking on this subject at this year’s Big Telecom Event June 9-10, as well as at the Open Networking Summit June 15-18. We will also have a booth at the Big Telecom Event to showcase some of our work. We hope you can join us at one or both of these events.