& cplSiteName &

Five Key Takeaways From TM Forum Live!

Carol Wilson
6/9/2014
50%
50%

The sun shone brightly on Nice for almost the entire week of TM Forum Live! and the Cote d'Azur was at its sparkling best. The event itself had something of a split personality: Many of its conference sessions were packed and the TM Forum's Catalysts drew considerable attention. But, with a few notable exceptions, the exhibit floor seemed rather lifeless, as delegates were mostly engaged elsewhere.

Virtualization dominated my week in Nice, as I bounced from one session to another in the Virtualizing Everything track, so if there was major excitement generated elsewhere, I missed it. Here, from that rather lop-sided perspective, are my key take-aways, one for each of the five days of French sunshine:

  • Virtualization is giving the TM Forum , in specific, and the network management segment, in general, new focus and energy: Telecom network operators are realizing how critical orchestration is going to be to the success of NFV, and how critical NFV and SDN are to their survival. That is making orchestration a C-level discussion. Even while there is, as Forum VP-Strategy Nik Willetts admitted, a fair amount of "NFV-washing" going on, there is also considerable serious work under way, and much left to do. Other initiatives such as business transformation and digital services platforms have not generated the same urgency in recent years. (See NFV Dominates in Nice and How NFV Can Power the Digital Marketplace.)

  • Large telecom operators aren't as wary of sharing information as they have been in the past. Several equipment vendor execs noted this trend, some on the record such as Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and others not for attribution. (Maybe they think the trend is too fragile to discuss?) Getting service providers to talk about what they are doing and with whom has been difficult for some time as even basic information is regarded as strategic and not for dissemination to potential competitors. The greater threat from outside the telecom sector seems to be changing that. Certainly the operator-driven ETSI NFV Industry Specifications Group is the centerpiece of that effort. (See NFV Not a Panacea, Carrier Execs Admit and Telcos Pay Lip Service to Open Source.)

  • Open source software is going to play a role in the early going of NFV deployment at the very least. Beyond that, its role is less certain. The ability to use open source resources such as OpenStack, or the open source hypervisor developed by the Open Daylight project lets service providers start testing things out right now. Some vendors are embracing use of open source within their early SDN/NFV deployments, although they are likely wrapping these tightly in their own intellectual property. As multiple people noted, "pure" open source likely won't fly in the telecom realm, which is why it's hard to say exactly what the final impact of open source will be. Assuming it has no impact would also be a mistake because… (See Can ZOOM See Daylight? and Ericsson Unveils Carrier-Grade Server Strategy .)

  • Service providers are champing at the bit to get going on NFV deployment. They realize this is going to be a step-by-step process -- I heard this phrase repeatedly -- and the sooner they take first steps, the better. There is a willingness to try things to see if they fly and to -- cliché alert -- fail fast. That will ultimately be the beauty of virtualization -- that it will allow faster introduction and expiration of services, so carriers can try things and yank them if they don't work. That's unheard of in today's long planning and deployment cycles. Even in advance of full deployment, many operators want to push ahead -- open source software will play a role in facilitating those efforts. (See No Need to Rush Into Virtualization – Orange .)

  • There is more uncertainty than certainty where NFV and SDN are concerned. It's not hard to get contradictory statements from people who generally agree with each other because there is still so much to be worked out here. Some of the impatience referenced above stems from the feeling that it will be impossible to work out the important issues in meetings, lab tests and proofs of concept. There is a sense -- unusual in telecom -- that it is not only okay to stomp your foot down on the accelerator when the road ahead isn't certain, but that it's likely aggressive speed is somehow required. Whether this sense of urgency leads to some early deployment failures and whether that would provoke a return to caution are just two of the many unknowns ahead. (See Liability Issues Increase in Virtual World.)

    — Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading


    Want to learn more about network operators' approach to NFV? There is still time to join us next week at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. Multiple sessions, led by Heavy Reading analysts, will tackle the practical issues around virtualization and there will be demos that include proofs of concept for NFV. Come in a day early on June 16th and you can attend an afternoon workshop lead by the Open Networking Foundation that will update standards development for SDN and NFV. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.


    (5)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
6/11/2014 | 2:29:10 PM
Re: Prod
Agreed, Mitch. Altho I think the major value open source will have in the NFV and SDN space is speeding up the process of getting to lab trials and deployments. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/11/2014 | 1:34:50 PM
Prod
One major value of open source is as a competitive prod to vendors. It doesn't have to gain widespread adoption if vendors fear it enough to make their products better. 
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/10/2014 | 8:40:23 AM
Re: takeways
@t.bogataj for the most part. 
t.bogataj
50%
50%
t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/10/2014 | 3:45:06 AM
Re: takeways
Ariella,

Are you sure?
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/9/2014 | 7:45:51 PM
takeways
Thanks for the insight. The last one proves the general observation that nothing is certain. 
More Blogs from Rewired
PCCW exec David Hughes eviscerates the telecom 'poor me' mindset but with a light touch, Carol Wilson writes.
New services are taking hold, as businesses overcome their trepidation over virtualization and the technology matures, says Jim Sabey.
CenturyLink's Bill Walker is an IT guy, tasked with helping transform a legacy telco. He shared some very practical ideas about how to do that – notes from the trenches, as it were – in this video interview.
Software-defined WANs were the hot topic a year ago at Light Reading's NFV-SDN event, and a lot has happened since. What grabs the spotlight this year?
A quick trip in the Wilson way-back machine shows telecom operators have been at this a long time, maybe too long?
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Nokia Bell Labs & Verizon Stretch Fixed 5G to the Home
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/13/2017
Juniper's New Contrail VP Hails From Google
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 11/15/2017
Eurobites: Telefónica Reckons Plastic Is Fantastic for FTTH
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 11/15/2017
Animals with Phones
Why Cats Don't Run Tech Support Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives