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On Enterprises and Service Providers

“Service provider” and “enterprise” are often seen as opposites in networking circles. (For the purposes of this article, “enterprise” means “business” rather than “large business.”) I’m fortunate to have worked closely with both service providers and enterprises. The contrast is indeed sharp. Service provider networks are the product to be sold; they need to be fast, responsive, and connected above all else. The way a service provider network consumes equipment and services is fundamentally different from the way an enterprise does. This has more of an impact on how network function virtualization (NFV) works for the service provider than it does for the enterprise. Of course, all service providers also have an enterprise network for their back-office functions.

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