Ciena: Hector Silva's 2016 Trends

Ciena’s Hector Silva shares his thoughts on the key themes he expects to see in the coming year including network virtualisation, data centre interconnect, and security...

As we turn the page on a consequential 2015 and move our focus to 2016, it is clear that due to the web-scale dynamic and the fact that more types of applications and businesses rely on the network to deliver on-demand services and experiences, service providers will need to take action. 

Software will take a bigger role in telecoms networks 

High on the agenda this year will be software’s growing role in telecom networks. Enterprises and service providers in CALA will increasingly turn to software to help provision, manage and configure networks. We expect the region will move from the technology discovery phase for SDN/NFV into the evaluation phase and in some cases limited deployment.  Service providers will utilise orchestration as a complement to SDN/NFV to more quickly manage and provision across multiple domains and across a mix of physical and virtual networking devices. Orchestration will ultimately allow service providers to more elegantly step towards more virtualised, on-demand networks.

Data Centre Interconnect will only continue to grow

As businesses and end-users continue the trend towards virtualising their applications and networking resources, we will see an increase in data centres being built in the region, as content will need to be closer to the source – especially for latency-sensitive applications. This will drive the need for data centre operators to utilise stackable data center interconnect systems that were introduced to the market in 2015. According to Ovum, spending on DCI will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 9% from 2014-2019 in the Caribbean and Latin America (CALA). These systems use both hardware and software features to enable simple deployment, maximise capacity per rack and fiber, and provision for today’s web-scale data centre environments. 

Adoption of 200G will begin

Despite all of the excitement surrounding increased network agility, the number of deployments seeking greater capacity will also begin to grow in 2016, reminding us that these two really go hand in hand. As end-users continue to virtualise their applications and demand more bandwidth from the network, service providers will take steps to boost network capacity, while also finding new ways to monetise their infrastructure. Therefore we can expect 200G to start being adopted in the region. Additionally, service providers will add more network intelligence in the form of network applications enabled by SDN controllers. Furthermore, programmable hardware will allow providers to dynamically tune the network to adjust to changing bandwidth demands.

Service providers must have a holistic approach to security

Today’s multi-layered approach to security has room for improvement.  Much like a castle is protected by a moat, and then walls, and then rooms to protect rulers and their riches, enterprises leverage firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, identity and access management, unified threat management, and other tactics to protect user data. But what about the armies of men out in the field? How can they be protected? In 2016, we’ll see network and security decision makers take bolder steps to address data security while its in-transit, and at the optical layer, arming organisations with a truly holistic defense for data at-rest and in-transit. With advanced optical encryption techniques, enterprises and service providers alike can add an extra layer of security for data traveling across all networks, from point A to B.

Ethernet Business Services – leading to virtualised services

As the move towards Ethernet Business services continues to grow, service providers will need to find a more agile way to deliver these services, particularly to connect enterprises to the cloud that hosted in multiple data centres. Service providers will look to platforms that can deliver higher network efficiency and capacity, while delivering integrated packet and coherent optics. With solutions like Ciena’s vendor-agnostic Blue Planet software providers can automate and orchestrate Ethernet services and VNFs, as well as chain them together to create innovative new sources of revenue.

These are some of the biggest trends we expect to see in 2016 as the march towards more agile networks continues -- helping service providers transition to on-demand business models so that they can thrive in today’s application-centric world.  

Hector Silva is the CTO for Caribbean and Latin America at Ciena.

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