& cplSiteName &

NFV 'Irrelevant' in Long Term, ONF Reckons

Mitch Wagner
6/18/2014
0%
100%

CHICAGO -- Light Reading's Big Telecom Event -- Though network functions virtualization is "critically important" in the near future, it will become "kind of irrelevant" in the long term, because it's hardware focused, said Dan Pitt, executive director of the Open Networking Foundation.

"I will tell you frankly that I think [NFV] is a great short-term benefit but of diminishing long-term benefit, because really what it does is virtualize hardware-defined networking," Pitt said at a keynote here. NFV lacks focus on OSS and other network operations separate from hardware and the functions driving it.

"In the long-term future, NFV will become kind of irrelevant, because it will all just become programming modules," he said. "But in the short term, it's critically important and of great benefit, so we are working closely with the ETSI NFV working group." The two organizations signed a memo of understanding to collaborate this year. (See ETSI & ONF Hold Hands Over SDN & NFV.)

"We're really happy to partner with them," Pitt said, as though he were aware that his statements would make things awkward at the next joint ONF/ETSI volleyball game.

ONF Executive Director Dan Pitt
ONF Executive Director Dan Pitt describes actual SDN deployments.
ONF Executive Director Dan Pitt describes actual SDN deployments.

SDN is leading the transition making software strategic to service providers' business value, Pitt said.

"Software will define your future," he told carriers. "The operators that will most succeed will be the ones that learn to own software and its processes. They'll learn to create it as well as procure it. They will understand that telecom is becoming IT."

Carriers' competitors aren't other slow-moving telcos, but companies like Facebook , Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). "I would mock these at my peril if I were a network operator."

Some carriers are already moving toward software-defined networks. OpenFlow SDN deployments in place today include:

  • A pan-Pacific network-as-a-service implementation in east Asia, provided by an undersea cable and data center company
  • A north Asia global carrier providing cloud services with customer self-provisioning for global enterprises
  • A south Asia-Pacific Internet exchange that's overlaying new technologies on old networks for BGP augmentation, available with quality-of-service controls and application prioritization
  • A studio caching and distributing entertainment video over WANs in North America

The ONF's membership and innovation are growing fastest in Asia than in North America or Europe. This derives not just from telecom providers, but also from rapidly growing Internet services such as Alibaba and Tencent, Pitt said.

The ONF launched in 2011. "Our mission is to accelerate the option of open SDN. So we do standards, but they're just a means to an end. Our success measure is the commercial success of SDN for the benefit of network operators." The organization is a not-for-profit that runs like a Silicon Valley startup. It has five employees -- two full-time and three part-time.

Board members include Google, Facebook, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, Microsoft, and Goldman Sachs -- data center operators, network operators, and a large enterprise, he said.

It doesn't have a single definition of SDN, and it supports many interpretations. "Essential to it is the physical separate of forwarding and control, otherwise you can't really centralize the control you have applied to your network and have a consistent program interface to it." Simplifying interfaces provides an application independent infrastructure. "Ultimately, the value of the networks is created by network operators through software they own, procure, and control."

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.


Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which continues today at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/19/2014 | 1:51:34 PM
Re: Mixed message?
I too was confused, and what Dan says sounds futuristic; still I can see it happening with the industry embracing the open source mantra. Thanks for having Dan clarify things.
Ryan Welch
50%
50%
Ryan Welch,
User Rank: Lightning
6/18/2014 | 4:29:27 PM
Re: Mixed message?
Dan,

Thanks for the clarification; that makes a lot more sense. 
DanPitt
50%
50%
DanPitt,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/18/2014 | 3:43:45 PM
Re: Mixed message?
Ryan,

Thanks for your thoughts. Perhaps my choice of words created a misleading interpretation. In truth, NFV is a stepping stone toward a fully virtualized – or, better yet, abstracted –network. In order for carriers to make the transition to fully virtualized networks, SDN is required, both underneath and (according to Telefónica) above NFV. NFV is one of the best ways in the short term for carriers to evolve their networks toward being software-defined, but it is not a stand-alone solution nor will it be explicitly necessary in the long run. In the long run, carriers will cease the virtualization of out-of-date network artifacts and build virtualized networks from the ground up, with software modules that relate to user requirements, not what were once network appliances. ONF is helping the operator community for both the short term and the long term. I brought up the long-term notion to get the operators thinking about the end game rather than thinking only incrementally.

Dan Pitt
Ryan Welch
100%
0%
Ryan Welch,
User Rank: Lightning
6/18/2014 | 10:51:37 AM
Mixed message?
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the point (and if I am, please set me straight)... Is he saying the NFV won't matter in the long-term because everything will be virtualized anyway? And that this will come about as a result of SDN? If that's the case, "inevitible" is probably a better word than "irrelevant".
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/18/2014 | 10:24:15 AM
Great software
Are there any examples of these that operators have created?
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
No Stopping Cable's Ethernet Gains

12|9|16   |     |   (0) comments


Vertical Systems' Erin Dunne explains why US cable operators, which now command a record-high 26% of the Ethernet market, will keep boosting their share.
LRTV Interviews
Fixing IoT Security Is an Ecosystem Challenge

12|9|16   |   05:34   |   (1) comment


Level 3 Communications' Chief Security Officer Dale Drew says service providers, manufacturers and even consumers must combine to halt massive DDoS attacks using IoT devices in botnets. The solution he has in mind includes reputation-based routing by the service provider but also more secure endpoint devices and greater consumer awareness.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Clears $2B in Business Revenue

12|8|16   |     |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Breaux discusses how the third-largest US MSO will reach the $2 billion revenue mark this year and plans to hit $3 billion by 2021
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Small Arctic ISP Caches Netflix in New Way
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/7/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
A Mobile Safari Click Here
Literally.
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.