Light Reading
The third-largest US telecom operator is taking an aggressive yet practical approach and is willing to challenge its vendors to do more.

Inside CenturyLink's NFV/SDN Strategy

Carol Wilson
4/22/2014
100%
0%

CenturyLink is looking to balance substantial promised benefits against real challenges as it explores its options for SDN and NFV.

The number three US telecom operator is taking an aggressive but practical approach. At least that's the vision put forth by James Feger, VP of network strategy and development. Feger helped launch CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)'s dive into virtualization in late 2012 by creating a small team within his staff that worked on SDN and NFV concepts.

"Now we're at the point where any network function we look at adding to the network, our first goal is to find out can we run this as a virtual function," says Feger, who will be a keynote presenter at June's Big Telecom Event, discussing CenturyLink's innovation in this area.

CenturyLink's James Feger

Making the leap in 18 months from initial exploration to actual deployment followed two early successes. CenturyLink first deployed a virtual firewall product. Then the company deployed a virtual content delivery network (CDN) for its internal use, to distribute video for IPTV deployments and video-on-demand services. In each of those cases, the carrier had a fallback position if the virtual approach failed to meet expectations, Feger points out.

"We could always go back to an appliance approach to offering managed firewall services and to a more traditional CDN," he says. "That was why we thought we could take a bit of a risk to be early adopters."

CenturyLink is looking to participate in early demonstrations of virtualization -- such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specification Group's proofs of concept -- based on immediate product-related needs, not theoretical deployments.

"We believe that we as a company, we are going toward more managed services," Feger explains. "So when we were looking for things to demonstrate, we do have a few items to solve internally such as the next generation sets of firewall capabilities, security services, and encryption services. For things such as AAA or DNS infrastructure -- we want those virtualized, but for us that is a different level of priority."

Next page: CenturyLink's transition strategy

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Page 1 / 3 Next >
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
5/5/2014 | 9:55:37 AM
Re: Cloud will envelop the edge
"Google Fiber has already demonstrated it can profitably price at $0.00001 in the MAN" -- I'm curious what this figure is based on. Is this based on what Google is charging in KC or Utah? 

 
Infostack
50%
50%
Infostack,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/5/2014 | 9:43:07 AM
Cloud will envelop the edge
This is just the beginning of a fundamental restructuring of the telcos; all of whom are just balkanized islands at the edge of the core dominated by Google, FB, Amazon, et al... The restructuring will mirror what IBM underwent in the early 1990s as the Wintel model disrupted the centralized mainframe processing model held hostage by inefficient connectivity. Ironically a "reverse" situation than what we see at present where the core is significantly scaled and cheaper than the edge.

The edge providers are sitting on business models that still charge $0.001 to terminate the equivalent of a voice minute in the MAN (much, much more for wireless access), whereas the core WAN's economic rate is $0.0000004 and declining 20-40% annually. Bringing WAN-side scale to the edge and a focus on driving marginal cost down at every layer and boundary point (both capex and opex) Google Fiber has already demonstrated it can profitably price at $0.00001 in the MAN, and they have yet to scale the model to wireless offload and backhaul, SMB and the big kahuna, enterprise managed services.  (The latter will actually pay for a lot of edge investment.  A last mile 800 model.) So MAN costs can shift an additional 1-2 decimal places to the right as the scale economies of the cloud are driven to the edge.
FakeMitchWagner
50%
50%
FakeMitchWagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/23/2014 | 2:57:39 PM
The final bit
The final bit is the real benefit of SDN and NFV: Allowing carriers to create networks that are so flexible that customers can configure their own virtual networks on the fly, without human intervention. That will result in increased demand and revenue for carriers. Other benefits for SDN/NFV are cost savings, which are terrific, but do't grow the business. 
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/23/2014 | 1:29:19 PM
Re: Realistic and intriguing
Sure, I imagine the costs for SDN setup are a tiny fraction of buying and installing hardware.  It makes sense to do it even it fails entirely.

And if it does work, then think of all the instant optimizations you can experiment with which would otherwise require new purchases, equipment updates and so on.

It's hard to even imagine going back to hardware if it at all works.
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
4/23/2014 | 8:24:37 AM
Realistic and intriguing
THis all makes a lot of sense and, I imagine, it's in line with what alot of operators are doing -- being cautious but explorative, figuring out what is going to work and having a rewind button/backup plan. 

Great feature.
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Facebook: 30% of Users Are Mobile-Only
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/24/2014
Is Windstream Boldly Setting a New Trend?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/29/2014
Nokia Holds Steady in Q2, Raises Outlook
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/24/2014
U-verse Growth Slips But Still Strong
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2014
Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed