It’s usable for theoretically anything, but mobile-network scenarios will likely take the spotlight first due to Mobile World Congress happening next week.
ESP is a services orchestration layer sitting between applications and the Evolved Programmable Network (EPN), Cisco’s catch-all term for compute, storage, networking, and other infrastructure that goes with them.
ESP does relate to previous Cisco acronyms: It’s part of the Cisco Open Network Environment (ONE), Cisco’s full-network answer to (and architecture for) SDN.
Cisco is stressing the openness of ESP, saying it works with applications from Broadsoft, Metaswitch, and Openwave Mobility, for starters. Ever since it stated discussing SDN, Cisco has been emphasizing its use of open-standard protocols.
The first two examples of ESP being announced are a cloud-based DVR and what Cisco calls the Virtualized Mobile Internet. The latter includes a virtualized packet core (vPC — but others have been calling it the vEPC) and virtualized Gi-LAN.
The Gi-LAN is a probable early target for network functions virtualization (NFV), Cisco says. (Huawei, among others, agrees.) It’s a part of the network consisting of multiple systems that work in different combinations for service chaining. That means it’s going to become a stress point as networks gear up to support machine-to-machine communications, said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of Cisco’s service provider mobility business, in a talk with SDNCentral late last year.