& cplSiteName &

SDN & NFV: No Going Back

Ray Le Maistre
10/17/2014
100%
0%

DÜSSELDORF -- SDN & OpenFlow World Congress -- If anyone thought there might, at some point, be a pull-back by telcos from SDN and NFV, then such thoughts would have been wiped this week, despite an eye-wateringly long list of tough challenges that now face the infrastructure operators.

The financial, hardware, software, staffing, process, organizational and cultural challenges facing network operators moving to SDN and NFV are enormous and complex: The shift will be long, difficult and expensive, and it will be years before tangible benefits will be achieved by a significant body of network operators. That, by the way, is the view of the operators that have already started their migration processes, not of bystanders and industry-watchers such as myself.

There are short-term frustrations too: Nico Fischbach at Colt Technology Services Group Ltd (London: COLT), for example, snapped at the vendor community when he took to the podium Thursday to talk about his company's progress with virtualization, telling the audience that "it has been mostly vendors pushing smoke and mirrors at you so far." (See Colt Preps Next-Gen OSS for NFV, SDN.)

But despite the challenges and barriers, the operators are all committing to a future that involves programmable networks and virtualized functions because the medium- and long-term potential for lower costs, increased agility, broader business opportunities and enhanced returns on investment are too compelling, even if it's impossible to nail down exact timescales and numbers.

That's not all. In the best presentation this week, EE senior network architect Phil Bridge sent out a very stark message to the entire operator community: The introduction of SDN and NFV is vital to the future existence of communications networks. As smartphones become ubiquitous and the Internet of Things (IoT) emerges, current network architectures are unsustainable: A new way of managing communications and data has to be found, or the game's up.


Need to know more about the management of network assets and applications in an SDN and NFV environment? Then check out the agenda for OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV: Evolution vs Revolution, November 5, at the Thistle Marble Arch Hotel, London


This provides opportunities for the vendor community, as new network architectures need to be planned, built, tested and maintained. But that doesn't mean it's good news for the current telecom vendor community -- some will be on board and be development and deployment partners to the telcos, and others will not. The ones that will play a role are those that have already begun their own soup-to-nuts transition -- a change of products, marketing, business proposition and culture that fits into the "New IP" way of the world.

The others are those that have done little more than produce virtual versions of legacy hardware-based products. They, along with many in the traditional OSS world, I believe, are the ones likely to struggle the most and find themselves consolidated or shutting their doors. There will be casualties.

In the meantime, the visionaries and leaders -- think AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Colt, Deutsche Telekom, EE, NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT), NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM), Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) -- will continue to guide the rest of the industry by sharing their experiences and outlook.

The pace is relentless: We will have hardly gathered our thoughts from this week in Düsseldorf before many of those telco leaders gather in London for OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV: Evolution vs Revolution, where I know we are going to learn about very different approaches and strategies from the likes of BT, Colt, and Deutsche Telekom.

And they need to have a plan and start working on it soon, because time's running out for what we currently call the telco network.

The telcos have faced migration and evolutionary challenges before, but nothing like this one -- this is different, because it changes EVERYTHING.

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

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
bosco_pcs
50%
50%
bosco_pcs,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/17/2014 | 1:33:15 PM
Re: Suck it and see
Ray:

Another way to look at it is to see if Cisco is getting involved. Just curious, who have the best technologies in SDN and NFV? Obviously, the idea of having the best is itself never a easy thing but also the best, even ascertained, may not come out victorious, but still, a worthwhile thing to figure out
Ray@LR
50%
50%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
10/17/2014 | 12:47:26 PM
Suck it and see
OK, so "suck it and see" might seem a strange thing to say (and may be peculiarly British) but this is the Web giant approach to stuff - try it and see if it works. We're going to see a lot more of that from the telcos with NFV in particular, starting right now with Telefonica in Brazil with its virtual residential CPE.

Watch for the telcos that start behaving unlike telcos - they will be the winners.
More Blogs from Shades of Ray
In China, consumers can now place a Kentucky Fried Phonecall.
I'm just back from a brief visit to Tel Aviv where I met a broad range of innovative teams from companies as diverse as AT&T, Sedona, Allot and Ethernity.
Time is running out to get your entries in for the industry's most prestigious awards.
The Light Reading group is now much more than the mothership website and the Heavy Reading analyst group -- the family has grown to include the Telecoms.com news site, dedicated communities and wiki-style databases.
I'm prepared for the worst that Barcelona can throw at me.
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
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
Intel CEO Leaves Trump Biz Advisory Board
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/15/2017
Are Cord-Cutting's Days Numbered?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/14/2017
Analyst Nolle: Fundamental Errors Plague NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/11/2017
Snapchat Misses Estimates, Eyes Reality Shows
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/11/2017
Verizon Video Woes Pile On
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/14/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
We Know a Tough Day When We See One 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.