From Networking to Network PaaS

In the recent past, information technologies operated in static infrastructure silos. However, mass adoption of the cloud delivery model has irreversibly changed enterprises’ expectations of how IT infrastructure services should be built, provisioned and priced.

Retooling carrier networks using virtualization technologies puts the agility of the cloud model within reach. We expect carriers’ adoption of these technologies to drive “Platformization” of networks, allowing enterprises to manage all network services, from Internet to data-center interconnection and public cloud connectivity, seamlessly.

This will create a substantial opportunity for operators to expand the scope of services beyond connectivity. However, it will also be a significant change, if carriers are to adjust to these new realities.

 

The enterprise network is gaining prominence because of digitization. Enabled by widespread availability of low-cost connectivity, businesses are using digitization to enable operational efficiencies, service and product innovation and, in some cases, new business models.

Sectors as diverse as travel, automotive, finance, retailing and utilities are all increasingly dependent on both their own and third-party infrastructure and application platforms for engagement – hence growth and productivity.

 

Digitization is driving profound changes in networking traffic. Greater external engagement with customers, employees, ecosystem partners and “things” is also fuelling demand for bandwidth, to interconnect private and public data-processing and storage facilities.

Moreover, traditional enterprise client-server application demand is giving way to step-change growth in web applications, collaboration tools and videoconferencing traffic. These new workloads demand substantially higher bandwidth and improved performance and availability.

Moreover, fuelling the digital economy from “big data” for real time analytics to artificial intelligence, requires scalable networking services that can expand and shrink on demand, to deploy, for example, a new service across thousands of branches. 

This effect is exacerbated at multi-local corporations, which are experiencing a step change in external bandwidth growth. They also face internal growth due to emerging application-to-application traffic across owned data centers and the Internet as well as cloud infrastructure services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure, and cloud applications and services such as Salesforce, Office 365 and Google Analytics. In this change, the network has become the pivotal element of digitization, which connects the enterprise to almost everything. However, networking as we know it cannot keep up for long.

 

This viewpoint promulgates a platform-centric view of networking. It is the result of 12 months of intense activity, in which BBVA, supported by Arthur D. Little, developed a vision, defined requirements and sourced its global networking platform concept – called “Synapse” BBVA wants to share its insight from its internal architectural development process, in order to give momentum to the shift to platform-centric networking.

Project Synapse has also benefited from contributions and open discussions with product managers, network architects and sales teams at dozens of leading carriers and technology suppliers.