Light Reading
The shift toward SDN and NFV is not so much a revolution as just the latest example of ongoing industry evolution that should spur services innovation.

SDN & NFV: Evolution, Not Revolution

Robin Mersh
3/21/2014
50%
50%

There’s been an explosion of chat, articles, and videos about SDN and NFV recently, and while some are dubbing these new buzzword technologies as the "Holy Grail" that operators have been waiting for, others have their doubts. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

The potential to ease pressure on fixed costs whilst also dynamically developing new revenue streams shows the attractiveness of NFV (potentially using SDN), but business conditions remain challenging on all fronts, and this includes both regulatory issues and standards development.

SDN and NFV are technologies with promise, but how do we realize that promise? Operators like the look of them, while vendors try to work their magic around what they could actually deliver. And all the time, all players are looking to protect their current revenues.

At the recent Broadband Forum meeting in Malta, we saw that things are already happening. Axel Clauberg, VP of Transport, Aggregation, and IP & Fixed Access in the CTO team at Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), gave a keynote, where he pointed out that NFV and SDN, coupled with simplification of IP, was already creating what he termed the "software-defined operator." (See Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator.)

This is an entirely new business model for service providers, and Clauberg showed how the German operator had gone from negotiation to launching a network for subsidiary T-Hrvatski Telekom in Croatia in just three months!

We're talking about a full 100G network here, using interoperable IP and optical integration with network and cloud technologies coming together for service production. This was certainly a dramatic example of innovation at work: Without doubt, SDN and NFV are disruptive to the current multiservice broadband network. But with disruption usually comes this kind of innovation and new opportunities.

However it develops, it's going to be interesting, and the Broadband Forum is intent on developing a central role in the NFV and SDN evolution, as it's an important part of another major challenge the industry still faces -- that of technology migration.

However effective a disruptive technology is, change will be evolutionary.

– Robin Mersh, CEO, Broadband Forum

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/23/2014 | 4:12:30 PM
Re: NFV, SDN & cloud
Kruz is right, and that's one of the reasons while these technologies will experience a slow growth prior to critical mass.

Service providers are simply not going to dive into this new area without a lot of careful testing and planning. That being said, I think it will happen a lot faster than many of us expect it to. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/21/2014 | 5:42:47 PM
Re: NFV, SDN & cloud
Kruz, I'm doing research into adoption obstacles for SDN, and that's emerging as a clear favorite. SDN advocates aren't doing a great job of articulating business benefits. 
t.bogataj
50%
50%
t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/21/2014 | 1:17:59 PM
Disruptiveness?
Those vendors that adopt the view that "SDN and NFV are disruptive to the current multiservice broadband network" are bound to fail, period. RIP.

But those who are able to show a painless/seamless transition from traditional models of sevice delivery to SDN-based, are the likely winners in this arena.

This transition is not spoken about at all, and most vendors just pretend to believe that the operators will jump the SDN wagon and embrace SDN just because it's so great. Sadly, even associations (ONF explicitly named here) produce no useful guidelines in this regard.

Not a surprise, those ONF members that have their transition propositions keep them to themselves... as their own possible advantage.

T.
Kruz
50%
50%
Kruz,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/21/2014 | 9:07:31 AM
NFV, SDN & cloud
The problem with NFV and SDN is that it provides no clear business and revenue opportunities and most importantly, it is still hard for telco to understand, especially when compared to cloud offering.
More Blogs from Column
There are three important questions service providers need to address for in-market and out-of-market expansion.
Cablevision's new Freewheel WiFi service will offer 'unlimited data, talk and text' plus access to Cablevision hotspots for a smallish monthly fee, but is hotspot access worth the price?
Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) technologies could help relieve future bottlenecks in communications networks.
Small cells with advanced C-RAN capabilities create a new opportunity to meet wireless demand more economically and deliver the best possible user experience to subscribers.
To get real customer visibility and to consistently deliver a higher quality experience, MNOs must have access to real-time location awareness.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (4) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
LightSpeed Looks to Plug the Gigabit Gap
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/23/2015
Parks Predicts HBO OTT Success
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, Universal, Intel and Microsoft, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.