& cplSiteName &

Alcatel-Lucent CTO States the Case for NFV

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
4/3/2013
50%
50%

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The industry needs hardware virtualization, and while network functions virtualization (NFV) might not be the answer, it's a good start, Alcatel-Lucent's CTO said here yesterday.

Marcus Weldon was speaking as part of the launch of Nuage Networks, the AlcaLu spin-in focusing on software-defined networking (SDN). (See Alcatel-Lucent Spins Up Its SDN.)

The answer is certainly not ATCA, which is "the last attempt of the industry to standardize and has largely failed," Weldon said.

What's wrong with ATCA is that it's a box mentality, Weldon said. A particular function is scaled up by adding the exact card for that function, and when you run out of room in the box, you've got to install and configure another box.

What NFV promises is freedom from boxes, in a sense. You'd still need equipment, but a function could grow by being activated in as many instances as necessary. "That's the problem. We're running at box scaling rules and we have to get to Web scale," Weldon said.

NFV isn't necessarily going to save the world. In fact, Weldon took a couple of jabs at the group: "They're not going to standardize anything; they're just going to point to standards," he said. "They're united, but they're not sure what they're united around'

Fair enough. The NFV has only met a couple of times, just long enough to establish that they exist and determine how well the members get along. The group's next meeting is in three weeks in Santa Clara, at Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s site, which added a touch of timeliness to Weldon's talk.

Virtualization is important because it's happening on the data-center side, and telecom, for now, can't possibly keep up, Weldon said.

He gave the example of WebRTC, open-source software that allows for real-time communications on the Web. Apps using WebRTC could scale up rapidly at peak times -- if everybody ran to grab a particular Web video promoted in a Super Bowl ad, for instance -- but on the telecom side, IMS wouldn't be able to respond in kind. IMS is still bound by telecom systems that can't be expanded so quickly.

NFV sometimes gets described as an attempt to bring cheaper hardware into telecom. But the real benefits are in scaling, not penny-pinching, Weldon said. By escaping that box paradigm and working on a virtualized basis, operators would be able to deploy functions more quickly, and scale them up and down at will, he added.

Of course, cost matters, too. NFV could result in some telecom equipment moving to virtual form running on general-purpose processors. But it wouldn't happen to everything, Weldon argued.

Anything coming in contact with the physical layer is probably not do-able on a general-purpose processor -- that would include coherent optics, the radio access network and DSL, Weldon said. He also argued that core routers won't virtualize, as the number of processors needed to replace a core-router ASIC would be just ridiculous.

Virtualization comes with risk, as Weldon mentioned repeatedly during his talk. Server virtualization is based on the assumption that server failures are no big deal; that's fingernails on a chalkboard to the telco five-nines mentality. Changes to OSSs might be required as well.

Then there's the telecom culture, Weldon said. Network operators would have to work hand-in-hand with IT, "and that's not a comfortable conversation or an easy one."

For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/3/2013 | 5:13:27 PM
re: Alcatel-Lucent CTO States the Case for NFV
Cultural resistance could be a substantial barrier to things like NFV and SDN. That might end up being the big story in carrier SDN, a year or two from now.-á
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
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 Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Shades of Ray
What to Expect at MWC 2017

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


5G is set to dominate as the key buzz term at this year's Mobile World Congress but there are other pressing 4G matters to address.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa: A Lot More Than SD-WAN

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kelly Ahuja, the new CEO of Versa Networks, speaks with Steve Saunders of Light Reading about how Versa offers much more than just SD-WAN, and its plan to grow market adoption in 2017.
LRTV Documentaries
Facebook Gets Physical With Its Security Strategy

1|31|17   |   00:48   |   (0) comments


Facebook has introduced new measures that will enable users to secure access to their accounts using a physical 'key' application.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO: M&A Coming but Not Quite Yet
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/14/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Cloudifying the Communications Network
Prayson Pate, CTO, Ensemble, ADVA Optical Networking, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
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.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.