Telefónica's Elizondo on UNICA's Promise of Network Automation

Kelsey Kusterer Ziser

With automation and monetization both central to the theme of this year's NFV & Carrier SDN event, Telefónica's Antonio Elizondo will kick off the event with a keynote on the carrier's virtualization journey and efforts to automate the creation and operation of network services.

As the head of network virtualization strategy and technology for Telefónica, Elizondo has been part of the service provider's global CTIO team steering its virtualization strategy since 2012 and has worked at Telefónica since 1998. Elizondo says his keynote at Light Reading's event next month will focus on how Telefónica is using UNICA, its network virtualization program launched in 2014, to automate network services.

"The key to automate is having clear, common standards and common universal information models," says Elizondo. Central to achieving this goal is Telefónica's efforts in leading ETSI's Open Source MANO (OSM) project, he adds.

One of the major challenges that operators have faced in the move to virtualization is the "challenge of having a common framework to onboard and deploy VNFs and model the lifecycle in a vendor-independent way," Elizondo explained in a video interview with Light Reading's Iain Morris at Mobile World Congress last February.

During his presentation next month, Elizondo will explain how Telefónica has worked to overcome the challenges of onboarding and deploying VNFS by leading the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) OSM project, which is the service orchestration piece within UNICA. In addition to Telefónica, service provider members of the ETSI OSM project include the UK's BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) in the US. (See Telefónica Warms to ONAP, Sees Merger With OSM as 'Possibility'.)

"When OSM was launched, part of the objective was to try to achieve an information model agnostic to the technologies that different service providers were using in their infrastructure -- this is one of the successes of the OSM project. That's part of the lessons we've learned," says Elizondo in an interview with Light Reading.

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In addition to addressing lessons learned during the carrier's virtualization journey, Elizondo says he plans to explain what's on the horizon for UNICA, which will provide Telefónica with the ability to automate network services and operate in an "agile way to work and adapt to new technologies." Last year Telefónica deployed UNICA in Germany, Argentina, Peru and Colombia. Now it plans to add more advanced orchestration capabilities and expand to 11 markets, including Spain, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador, later this year.

Telefónica also plans to leverage UNICA in its 5G strategy -- "Adding the capability to support 5G, network slicing -- how to model that, and support microservices," says Elizondo.

Elizondo will deliver the keynote at the annual NFV & Carrier SDN event on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. To hear his keynote and ask questions in person, register for the event here. You won't want to miss additional keynotes from Kevin McBride, Principal Architect of SDN & NFV Technologies, at CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL); Scott Fairchild, Vice President, Client Experience, for Spectrum Enterprise ; and Bryce Mitchell, Director of NFV, Cloud, Innovation Labs & Support Networks, at Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T). We'll see you in Denver!

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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8/24/2018 | 1:34:11 PM
Feed the disruptors
These telco’s talk a lot, but I’m not seeing a commensurate level of action. At some point, these guys need to sign a contract, and give the disruptors some money.
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