Dell lifted the veil last week on its planned involvement in network functions virtualization (NFV) but the computer maker has bigger announcements to come that are likely to signal a deeper engagement in the service provider community. (See MWC Offers Peek at NFV Projects.)
After assuming leadership of the CloudNFV group, Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) is looking at the broader implications of virtualization and the role it could play in helping the telecom sector in this significant transformation, says Wenjing Chu, distinguished engineer and CTO in Mobility & Net Virtualization. Chu has stepped into the lead position in CloudNFV once held by CIMI President Tom Nolle. (See CloudNFV Moves Quickly to Product Stage, Answering the NFV Management Challenge, and New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud.)
Given CloudNFV's work with both the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specifications Group, where it is one of 11 proofs of concept, and the TM Forum, where it is one of five NFV Catalyst Projects, Dell is already now at the center of a significant segment of the NFV effort that tied to network management and orchestration.
Chu says, however, that Dell Research is leading an effort to create a "pan-Dell" approach to virtualization that will look at the broad implications of this change for telecom and is where Dell can play in multiple aspects over a period of several years.
Chu told Light Reading:
- We are driving a pan-Dell solution that will involve different product groups. We already have cloud solution groups that are driving some of the largest and best private cloud systems together. And our networking group and telecom vertical OEMs are working very actively. There will be a big announcement coming out very soon about a corporate-wide strategy.
One thing to expect from both CloudNFV and Dell is an emphasis on maintaining an open system, as NFV is developed, even if some near-term answers are easier to achieve without that, Chu stresses.
"We don't want to get to where we are virtualized but we still have a vertically integrated system," he says. "You can quickly throw something together and say, 'Hey, where is NFV,' and you can create point products. But we want to make sure we have an open system in place when we are done."
Chu also sees NFV being attacked from many different angles, depending on the perspective of the company involved, as well as by multiple standards groups and industry forums. The ETSI NFV ISG has become a great place for all of those viewpoints to be considered.
As for CloudNFV, Chu agrees with his predecessor that the effort is moving very quickly and may be ready to productize its approach sooner rather than later. But he adds that it remains focused on solving the problems of its operator customers, working closely with them on their internal efforts, and making sure CloudNFV can not only solve the MANO issues but also help the operators sell the value of the solution internally.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading