4G mobile broadband networks are launching fast and moving to a flat and distributed hierarchy. Dictated by performance needs, data management is moving closer to the network edge.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, this evolution of the mobile network -- from a centralized data center to a distributed architecture -- can be thought of as a data center without walls.
The historical paradigm for mobile networks is the hierarchical and centralized core network. The advent of 3G and 4G mobile broadband greatly increases the data traffic to the IP Network and Internet point of presence.
This gives rise to the specialist DPI and Optimization firms, such as Allot and Sandvine, who prosper with high performance, purpose built custom hardware that sits in the data stream for inspection and management.
The major infrastructure vendors are stepping up their game by upgrading the performance of these functions in the Packet Data Network Gateway (PGW).
The move to distributed networks means only a fraction of the data traffic passes through a local or regional data center. As a result, less computing power is needed and integrated solutions in the PGW are increasingly feasible and competitive.
There are great implications for the DPI, Optimization and Policy industry, especially as virtualization moves to the Core Network.
With a distributed, virtualized Core Network, blade oriented solutions will provide a highly integrated and flexible solution where Policy, DPI and Optimization are placed in local or regional data centers.
"If it were not for performance needs, no operator would deploy a distributed network," says Joe Hoffman, principal analyst at ABI Research.
But since the market demands that performance, Virtualized and Distributed networks deliver and afford additional degrees of integration. Local and regional data centers will be populated with one or very few platforms, giving an edge to the virtualized Packet Data Network Gateway vendor.