Juniper Networks announced a new vision for the future of metro networks: Cloud Metro. By reimagining metro networks, operators can start overcoming their most pressing business and technical challenges and reinvent their role in the digital ecosystem.
Why is the Cloud Metro such a big deal? With the acceleration of 5G, IoT and edge services, there are incredible opportunities for network operators to benefit from this growing digitalization—and a host of new challenges, as well. These new and distributed applications are shifting service delivery from the traditional provider edge into the metro, driving more volume, more velocity and more variety of traffic within the metro. Suddenly, a new generation of 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and distributed edge services become possible. And large service provider and enterprise networks are the engines that power it all.
Before we can get there, we need to start thinking differently about a part of the network that’s been overlooked for too long: the metro. And by “metro”, we mean that critical part of the infrastructure today that handles access and aggregation, where all the many things accessing the network come together. To unleash tomorrow’s digital experiences, we must rethink our basic ideas about how metros are architected, how we operate them and even what they’re used for.
In the next few years, metro traffic will grow 4x faster than anywhere else in the network—and most of it will stay there, serving distributed edge services. The lines separating different parts of the network and services (business, residential, mobile xHaul) will blur. And new distributed 5G and edge services will push nearly a third of all workloads out to edge clouds. Traditional metro networks built to trombone traffic through a centralized core won’t get the job done. To capitalize on new 5G and edge opportunities, network operators need a network built around experience-driven outcomes, not connectivity. They need a Cloud Metro.
Juniper’s Cloud Metro vision reimagines today’s siloed, point-to-point metro networks as a single, versatile IP services fabric. Our vision is built on our experience with cloud-scale operators managing massive networks at scale with automated operations. Today, we’ve translated those design concepts to address new needs of next-generation Metro networks. Unlike today’s fragmented architectures, a Cloud Metro is built for resource-pooling, network slicing and automated cloud-based operations. It interfaces with both physical and virtual network functions to offer distributed services closer to the end user. It intelligently distributes user plane functions and the service edge wherever needed to maximize efficiency and quality. Plus, it uses a cloud-like architecture to bring cloud agility and resiliency to metro networks.