Light Reading

Metaswitch: Telcos Must Get Soft to Survive

Carol Wilson
5/13/2014
50%
50%

NEW ORLEANS — Metaswitch Forum 2014 — Telecom service providers need to think of themselves as software companies and behave accordingly, Metaswitch CEO John Lazar told his company's invited audience of service providers here this morning.

A few minutes later, Lazar began to sketch out a few details of how Metaswitch Networks intends to help its customers move forward to a cloud-based, software-centric, all-IP future at the pace they themselves set. But more on that later, as the news trickles out here.

Moving to a software-centric approach is important for getting new services to market more quickly and thus addressing the revenue crunch telcos face today, Lazar noted. Those aren't new themes for the Metaswitch crowd, which includes many smaller telcos who have watched their voice revenues erode and pressure to support greater bandwidth for data increase exponentially without any real revenues attached.

Some of those listening may have been more intrigued by what Lazar said next: that thinking and behaving like software companies in the way they address network transformation and business plans will also help telcos become more valuable and potentially attract more investment.

"You only have to look at Whatsapp, which sold for, what, $19 billion," Lazar pointed out. "Investors both private and public like companies that use software smarts to cut costs, increase revenues, drive innovation, and become more open and agile. So it's not just about the technology in the network; it's about your value."

That's interesting thinking for a market that has been battered by the loss of federal subsidies, in addition to the loss of traditional revenues. The message may be intended to get the attention of telcos who might think the current transition to virtualization through SDN and NFV isn't yet relevant for them. Because it is.

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

(16)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 7:42:40 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Seven,

I'm not sure I see your point. Some networks functions lend themselves to virtualization in the network or outright cloud sourcing to another provider.

Voice is an app, abstracted from other parts of the network. It's not an all or nothing approach for cloud. I agree that some functions don't yield to virtualization (today or maybe ever).

POTS line you don't virtualize. That's hardwire stuff. It's dead. Voice is bits and packets delivered from a cloud platform running on x86 servers connected to an IP network and delivered to a device over any broadband network.

Cloud Voice Platform

 

 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/15/2014 | 6:53:48 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Kevin,

So how do you offer Dark Fiber service over that network?

See the point?  You are taking a single slice of the network and saying "Hey NFV me."  What I pondering is that this may yield little for a carrier.  They still have a whole ton of things to virtualize and some of them don't yield to virtualization.  Hard to virtualize a POTS line.

Which is VERY different than in the IT infrastructure which is essentially x86 based computers connected over Ethernet/IP/TCP networks.  So, most if not all functions are VMed or VMable.

So, not sure how you virtualize a Media Gateway with POTS on one side of it.  But have at it!

seven

 
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 4:36:55 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
@brookseven

We say don't just virtualize the media gateway (which vendors want to still sell you as hardware anyway), VAPORIZE the network. Use the cloud for Voice Network as a Service (i.e., the cloud voice platform).

Alianza isn't the only company pushing this way. Look at BroadSoft with BroadCloud and GENBAND with Nuvia as box selling vendors moving to a SaaS model.

Most vendors want you to buy their new something (all software nowadays). Well, given what's available, some networks just don't need to be rebuilt. They should be cloud sourced.

Momentum for Cloud Voice Platforms in 2013

Next Generation Voice Platform – Leaping From Network to Cloud

Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 2:07:30 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Oh, I agree others will follow suit. And what we saw in the IT industry is that the other companies tear themselves apart in the effort to try to follow the leader. For them, the cultural change doesnt help; it simply accelerates their decline. Leaders seeking change inside the company fight against others looking to preserve the status quo. 
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 9:04:52 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
You are right @Phil and @Mitch as well.  This will be a monumental change for these organizations but it will either be evolve or go the way of the dinosaurs.  I am not one to suggest throwing away the baby with the bathwater so evolution may be slow and deliberate but it still must happen.  The end result will still be some sort of hybrid of dedicated hardware and general purpose, software controlled hardware but it still must happen.
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 4:38:09 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
I agree it's hard to pull off -- just ask the several companies that failed because they didn't make cultural shifts to stay relevant. I'm just saying that it only takes one company to make such a shift and succeed, and others will try to follow suit.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/14/2014 | 3:46:13 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Phil Britt - That kind of cultural shift is hard to pull off. It's deep in the company's internal organs and DNA. Even failing companies that see competitors succeed with a changed culture have difficulty making the change. 

Companies are comprised of individual people. And a company's top executive ranks are by definition comprised of individuals who have succeeded under the status quo
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 12:03:54 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Carol,

In the spirit of debate, I would like to challenge your statement.  Mostly to see if we can liven this up and get Phil to jump in with a Metaswitch counterpoint.

So, if you are switching to NFV for something you already do then I have to ask a question:  Does the VM version of the product replace exactly the existing solution? 

Let's use Metaswitch as an example:  Can I Virtualize the Media Gateway (of course not)?  From a carrier standpoint, this means that like any other solution there are both gains and losses from the conversion to VMs.

I would propose a different way of looking at this.  The reason that VMs work so well in the Web world is that there is a set of Universal Languages.  HTTP, URLs, TCP/IP, etc.  End systems source these languages and the network processes them.  

In the data center world, everything is connected via TCP/IP over Ethernet (of some form or another).

If this is going to work, I think we need to think of all things as exchanged in these basic format.  The challenge is that this means that things like MPLS networks need not apply (just as an example). 

I think this is going to be really challenging for telcos as they try to bridge their silos between their different businesses.  One or more will adopt separate NFV/SDN implementations for different purposes.  And the silos will continue and that any gain is minmized.

seven

 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 11:24:33 AM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
You're right about the cultural shift that would need to be made -- something telecom companies have had a hard time doing for several years. But these companies are largely "me, too." Once one announces a sharing plan, they all have it. Once one offers unlimited data, they all have it. Once one raises or lowers prices, they all do it.

So once one adopts this type of culture -- and is successful with it -- they all will.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/13/2014 | 1:47:05 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
I've heard this exhortation to become software-focused at least once before. It seems to be a popular theme at carrier conferences. The shift requires a deep and fundamental cultural change from hardware-focused to software-focused, which will prove overwhelming to many organizations. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Rewired
Some folks say they'll never forgo six-nines reliability and 50 millisecond restoration standards, but there are definite signs Web 2.0 approaches are taking hold.
After almost three decades of writing about fiber-to-the-home, I'm finally getting it and I'm going for the whole gig.
Alliance with Deloitte creates one-stop shop of cyberattack mitigation by adding governance, risk management and compliance consulting.
Rutberg's Rejeev Chand gets FCC's Clbyburn plus Google Fiber and DISH execs to play the true-false game, with interesting results.
New open source group provides substantial industry insight at MWC -- here's hoping they keep up the effort to keep non-members informed.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (5) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (0) comments


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Between the CEOs
Debating Network Evolution With Cisco's Cedrik Neike

6|23|15   |   12:54   |   (2) comments


Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
LRTV Documentaries
Vodafone: What's Good for Moms Is Good for Business

6|23|15   |   3:04   |   (3) comments


Megan Doberneck, the general counsel for Vodafone Americas, discusses her company's progressive maternity policy, explains why promoting women in tech is good business and offers some some good advice for any women in the industry.
LRTV Interviews
NFV: Ready for Prime Time

6|23|15   |   05:09   |   (1) comment


At BTE 2015, Vip mobile CTO Dejan Kastelic talks about how NFV is ready for the real world and how Telekom Austria is introducing centralized resources for its group operations.
LRTV Documentaries
Tykes Talk Tech

6|22|15   |   02:30   |   (9) comments


What does optical fiber look like? When will 5G arrive? What's the WiFi password at Ikea? Light Reading sat down with three 8-year-olds to answer some of the communications industry's most burning questions...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners With TDC for World's First Early DOCSIS 3.1 Field Test

6|22|15   |   3:06   |   (0) comments


In a move to enhance user experience, Denmark's TDC aims to become an early adopter of DOCSIS 3.1. In partnership with Huawei, TDC recently ran the world's first field tests on its coax network that reached speeds nearing 1 Gbit/s.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
Eurobites: Activist Investor Takes Stake in AlcaLu
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 6/30/2015
Colt to Jettison Ailing IT Business
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones