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Telcos 'Sample Their DNA' Around SDN

Ray Le Maistre
6/4/2014
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The prospect of SDN and virtualized network functions is forcing network operators to take a long, hard look at their operations and culture, according to the executive director of the Open Networking Foundation , the organization dedicated to the promotion of SDN and the OpenFlow standard.

Dan Pitt, a keynote speaker at the upcoming Big Telecom Event in Chicago, says "the carriers are taking a good look at themselves. I call it 'sampling the DNA' -- looking at how the telcos see themselves" and how they approach new strategies.

That self-analysis is needed, as the prospective introduction of SDN and NFV into carrier networks marks a major shift in the way operators need to behave, and that's a huge challenge. "The least flexible part of the telcos is the culture," says Pitt. "It's not easy for the carriers to think like software companies." (See Empowering End-Users Through Open SDN.)

And any shift towards virtualization will require new skills and training for those planning and running communications networks. "The skillset is very important for the telcos. They face major challenges, and we are looking to help them with all the needs they have in terms of training and gaining the right skills," says Pitt.

Play It Again, Dan!
ONF executive director Dan Pitt tickles the ivories in the lobby of the Ritz Hotel in London during a recent visit to the UK.
ONF executive director Dan Pitt tickles the ivories in the lobby of the Ritz Hotel in London during a recent visit to the UK.

So which operators, in his view, are leading the way in terms of SDN adoption?

Pitt says many telcos are at various stages of tests, trials, and deployments, with Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) being "very public about what they are doing," while Pacnet has "a good point solution." (See NTT Launches NFV-Based Cloud Services, Pacnet Turns On SDN in APAC, US, NTT Taps SDN to Enhance Cloud Flexibility, and Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator.)

There are many, though, that are making significant progress but not being so vocal, including Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. (NYSE: CHT) in Taiwan, says Pitt.

Pitt will share his views on SDN developments during a keynote address on Tuesday June 17 at the Big Telecom Event in Chicago, while the ONF, alongside the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) , is running a workshop on Monday June 16 that will delve into the development of carrier SDN and the evolving role of industry standards. For details, see this detailed agenda.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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