& cplSiteName &

Data Center Virtualization: Tough for Carriers, Tougher for Vendors

Mitch Wagner
8/4/2014
50%
50%

Welcome to telco data center month here at Light Reading. Throughout August, we'll be taking a close look at the technology, people, and business issues driving change at carrier data centers.

To kick things off, we talked to two of the sector's key experts on carrier data centers: Jim Hodges and Roz Roseboro are both senior analysts at Heavy Reading , specializing in data center issues.

So what are the major technology and business issues driving telco data center transformation?

Jim and Roz laugh. "SDN and NFV," they say, nearly at the same time.

"I guess we're done then," I say. "Thanks for your time. Bye now!"

OK, so I didn't say that... it's not that clear cut.

Carriers are deep into the process of virtualizing their server and storage infrastructure, and are now beginning to virtualize the network, Roseboro explains.

That's true in many industries, but it's a particular challenge for carriers, which face high availability, security, and regulatory requirements that do not constrain companies in other sectors, Hodges says.

Carriers need to move methodically, because virtualizing requires deep cultural change, Roseboro adds.

Both carriers and vendors need to move from managing hardware to software. "Operators are currently managing lots of boxes and they're moving on to manage software, requiring different tools and processes," Roseboro says.

SDN and NFV are two faces of virtualization. Of the two, NFV is moving faster, in part because NFV is being driven by network operators, with a key group of major telcos -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), KDDI Corp. , NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT), Orange (NYSE: FTE), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), among others -- having published a white paper in 2012 laying out their demands. "Operators have been clear about their desire to move away from proprietary hardware solutions," Roseboro says. (See Defining SDN & NFV.)

Carrier-driven disruption is rare, says Hodges. In the past, disruptive technology came from outside; it's something the carriers could not control. "It's a major switch to the telco business model, but it's being driven by the telcos in many respects," Hodges says. "In some respects, NFV is more disruptive to the vendor communities."

Roseboro says she's been hearing from carriers that it's harder to make a business case for SDN than for NFV, because SDN's primary benefit -- at least for now -- is reducing opex. "Carriers will invest to increase revenue. It's hard to get people to invest to save money," she says.

So which carriers are leading the move to virtualization? It's hard to say.

All the Tier 1 carriers have ongoing programs, "because they realize this is their architecture of the future," and it's very much a global process, Hodges says: The operators that signed the NFV white paper in many respects have set the pace, he notes.

Operators are putting virtual firewalls and other appliances at the edge of the network to take their first steps toward NFV, but core functions have yet to be specced out, Roseboro says, adding that it's too early in the virtualization transition to identify and name leaders.


Find out more about how NFV is shaping the data center -- join us for our NFV & the Data Center event Sept. 16 in Santa Clara.


Look out during the rest of the month for more coverage of telco data center issues and developments, including features on the top people and vendors leading the transition.

And for further reading, check out these NFV and SDN articles on Light Reading:

— 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.

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Wagner’s Ring
Light Reading brings you the latest news, information and insights about clouds for the enterprise. Yes, the enterprise.
While everything else declined, cloud services grew revenue briskly in Apple's most recent quarterly earnings.
Who could have anticipated that people wouldn't like having practical jokes added to their email?
The company reorganization disclosed this week – including the departure of longtime service provider chief Kelly Ahuja – signals a fundamental realignment of Cisco and the industry around cloud computing.
When the going gets weird, the weird tweet.
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
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 Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.