& cplSiteName &

Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator

Ray Le Maistre
10/16/2013
50%
50%

BAD HOMBURG, Germany -- SDN & OpenFlow World Congress -- Deutsche Telekom has started its migration towards becoming a "software-defined operator," a senior executive told attendees here Wednesday morning, noting that all major operators need to follow suit if they're to survive in the long term.

And he not only shared DT's vision of a simplified network but told delegates how the German giant is planning to address the shift to a next-generation OSS, a (if not the) key challenge facing operators planning their SDN/NFV strategies.

"Current networks are not ready for the traffic growth that's coming and competition is getting even tougher… ARPU [average revenue per user] levels are not going to be going up. We have a lot of complexity and it's hard to be fast. We have to invest in our networks" and become more software-oriented, said Axel Clauberg, VP of aggregation, transport, IP, and fixed access networks at Deutsche Telekom AG, "otherwise we will not survive."

Operators such as DT need to move to "dramatically simplified networks" to be able to match the Internet services giants. "The OTT players can move very fast because they are software-oriented," he noted. "We need drastically simplified IP networks, IP/optical integration and an infrastructure cloud model [carrier datacenters]" that hosts all manner of functions, applications and content, noted Clauberg.

That's essentially the TeraStream model first outlined by Clauberg more than a year ago: a simplified IP backbone infrastructure supported by software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities. DT's vision of virtualized appliances "triggered the formation of the NFV group at ETSI… we needed other operators to move in the same direction," he noted. (See Carriers Peer Into Virtual World and DT Unveils New Network Vision.)

And now there's a much greater emphasis on how DT's OSS needs to evolve to manage and help orchestrate that network. "We have a very fat OSS and a lot of legacy systems" that are very hard to switch off, he noted. But by the end of this decade DT aims to have a network that supports native IPv6 in its IP transport core, has simplified tunneling protocols and a transport protocol (almost certainly Ethernet, which by that time should be achieving 1 Tbit/s), and a "unique OSS approach."

That approach is based on the Yang language, which has been adopted and utilized by one of DT's key vendor partners, Tail-f Systems . (See Deutsche Telekom Selects Tail-F.)

That fits in with the more open technology approach that will underpin and run TeraStream. DT's fundamental decision at the start of this process was that it needed to break away from the proprietary world that telcos have worked in for so long and "build new networks on open standards technology, not proprietary software, so we are using KVM for our hypervisor and are developing orchestration capabilities around OpenStack, which isn't perfect yet of course."

For Clauberg, the ultimate goal is that the next-generation network will become less of a burden and free up DT to "focus on services, to be programming services, instead of re-architecting the network and the OSS."

And DT isn't just talking the talk: It has been testing out its TeraStream model at Hrvatski Telekom, its regional operator in Croatia. But while it's possible to start building a new age network with multi-vendor packet/optical capabilities -- Clauberg said Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems Inc. have been proving themselves in Croatia -- there's only so far DT can try out its vision currently, as "there is no carrier-grade SDN today… but we're working on it," noted the DT man. (See DT's All-Cisco, No-Optical Network and DT's Croatia Unit Taps Cisco.)

And it's a big challenge for all involved. Clauberg noted that DT needs to build a team that comprises IP, datacenter, programming, and operations specialists that can work in small, empowered, and agile teams, while both the carriers and vendors need to adjust for the migration from hardware-based to software-based business models. In addition, the vendors need to be able to deliver in terms of scalability, flexibility, automation, energy efficiency, cost optimization, and, critically, security. "We need carrier-grade security mapped to a modern virtualized environment and on that there are no compromises," noted the DT man.

It's an approach that's inspiring others, notes Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie. "DT is determined to take a leadership position and it's showing what can be done and what still needs to be developed. Clauberg's presentation was very positive about the potential of SDN and NFV but it was also a reminder that there is no alternative for the operators."

It also set the bar for how vendors, particularly in the OSS community, need to respond. "This is a major challenge for the existing OSS players -- they need to deliver real-time streamlined OSS tools," adds Finnie. (See ESDN: OSS Implosion and SDN & NFV to Shake Up Operator OSS Market, Heavy Reading Finds.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(10)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
C Chappell
50%
50%
C Chappell,
User Rank: Blogger
10/25/2013 | 8:56:17 AM
Re: I wonder what Mrs Merkel thinks
Is the fixed network secure? Belgacom, anyone? John Naughton's article in the Observer last weekend talked about software that can be burned into hardware, providing remote access that can't be closed even if you switch off the hard drive or reinstall the operating system. Some argue that layers of virtualization and abstraction can actually make it harder for hackers. But I agree, Patrick - security in the SDN/NFV environment is a big topic which needs more focus. 

 
pdonegan67
50%
50%
pdonegan67,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/25/2013 | 6:02:51 AM
I wonder what Mrs Merkel thinks
I wonder what Mrs Merkel thinks of Deutsche Telekom's network and its network security being "virtualized". I suspect she would favor trials being carried out on the fixed network first.
RolfSperber
50%
50%
RolfSperber,
User Rank: Light Beer
10/21/2013 | 5:45:45 AM
DT and SDN
It will be hard for the incumbent vendors like Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco to make the move towards open source network operating systems. A single layer service/transport (simplified view!) environment controlled by SDN plus NFV will definitely have less added value for them and for integration they will face competition from smaller companies with only small overhead. With the help of appropriate northbound interfaces SDN/NFV will enable DT and other carriers to create new services on the fly and at the same time be ready for application triggered configuration/commissioning. With open source NOS capable of horizontal communication the carriers might also be ready for multi domain network virtualization.

 

Rolf
sterlingperrin
50%
50%
sterlingperrin,
User Rank: Lightning
10/18/2013 | 12:33:37 PM
Re: DT is showing the way
I would add that if the large operators are going to ask their suppliers to make radical changes, the operators will also need to follow through on the promise and deploy what has been asked for. This is not a comment on DT in any way - just a general comment on big telcos based on their history. I think that many suppliers have been burned by taking big telco commentary at face value and then not seeing the visions carried out in the end.

This time could very well be different - comments from DT and other major operators point to urgency and are pretty consistent. Still, I'm sure many incubment suppliers must have some doubts in the back of their minds making them hesitant to radically adjust their products, etc.

Sterling
C Chappell
50%
50%
C Chappell,
User Rank: Blogger
10/17/2013 | 7:50:04 AM
Re: DT is showing the way
Actually, that's not really fair to DT which was one of the first operators to put innovation and transformation on the agenda - albeit with not as much fanfare as others. But part of the appearance of antediluvianism (if that's a word!) is that many European operators are hamstrung by regulation and job protection issues which are preventing them from changing too far too fast. US companies can sling thousands of redundant staff out at a moment's notice - European companies can't. Amazon and Google, with their tax avoidance policies, cavalier attitude to personal data and no accountability to national governments will dance lightly on the graves of telcos.... 
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
10/16/2013 | 5:24:09 PM
Re: DT is showing the way
Very interesting to hear this from a company some of us would still lump in with the crowd of slow-moving telco dinosaurs. Still, there is much work left to do to fulfill this vision.
C Chappell
100%
0%
C Chappell,
User Rank: Blogger
10/16/2013 | 1:58:33 PM
Re: DT is showing the way
I've just written a white paper on YANG and its companion network config protocol NETCONF - Creating the Programmable Network: The Business Case for NETCONF/YANG in Network Devices. It's clear that these technologies are on the up, in large part thanks to DT.
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
10/16/2013 | 10:10:07 AM
Re: DT is showing the way
So, does it have a choice? DT doesn't think do - this is do or die.

 

Can it do it? That's the 3 trillion dollara year question....
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
10/16/2013 | 9:53:17 AM
Re: DT is showing the way
What strikes me are comments such as "dramatically simplified" and "drastically simpler" - these are not evolutionary changes DT is seeking. And that's different from past "transformations."

Can a company this size make dramatic changes? Does it have a choice?
Ray@LR
100%
0%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
10/16/2013 | 9:01:43 AM
DT is showing the way
Deutsche Telekom is consistent and committed and, in patr, is driven by the fear that, without a much more simpole and agile and scalable network, it is toast.

Listen up, operators of the world!! You need to get on board -- stop fighting and get with the program!! 
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
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 Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
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
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
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.