Business Case for Cisco SDN for the WAN
Traffic requirements are growing rapidly because of the widespread acceptance of online video services, cloud computing, and mobile broadband. WAN costs also are rising with traffic growth in part because of suboptimal network utilization efficiency. At the same time service creation processes are lengthy and service providers’ responses to competitive threats such as over-the-top video and cloud-based services have been sluggish, resulting in slow revenue growth. A root cause of rising WAN costs and slow revenue growth is poor WAN management information flows and many manual work steps. Software defined networking in the WAN offers the opportunity to drive down costs through increased operational efficiency, increased service creation velocity, and differentiated and personalized network services.
Cisco WAN Automation Engine implements SDN in the WAN for service providers’ networks. It is a platform that provides real-time visibility, analysis and control across multivendor network infrastructure and services. Real-time software abstraction of the network allows applications to gain visibility and control of the network through web programming techniques rather than through device-specific embedded programming techniques. This strengthens service providers’ network control and lessens their dependence on systems vendors. ACG Research analyzes four use case examples to demonstrate the financial benefits of SDN in the WAN as implemented by WAE to service providers. Two dynamic bandwidth management examples identify opportunities for service providers to sell occasional, high-bandwidth services to enterprises and quantify financial metrics, including net present value, gross profits, and return on investment. Two traffic engineering examples describe opportunities to apply automated traffic load management to increase service velocity, reduce operating expenses, and improve network utilization.