NFV (Network functions virtualization)

HP Defends NFV Smarts After Vodafone Attack

HP Enterprise has hit back in defense of its NFV credentials after Vodafone accused the vendor community of displaying no leadership in critical areas.

Addressing a packed conference room at Light Reading's OSS in the Era of SDN and NFV event in London earlier this week, Massimo Fatato, Hewlett Packard Enterprise 's global OSS boss, insisted that HP Enterprise was taking a leadership position in the orchestration field.

"We launched our vision a couple of years ago by starting to look at how to support carriers to orchestrate in a virtualized world," he told attendees. "I am sorry to hear Vodafone say there is no one leading."

The UK-headquartered mobile operator is believed to have extremely ambitious targets for the launch of NFV-based services, and David Amzallag, Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s NFV head, blasted vendors for showing "no initiative at all" on the development of open interfaces in a presentation he gave before Fatato's. (See Vodafone Calls for End to Five Nines and DT, Vodafone to Launch SDN-Based VPNs.)

Amzallag also sounded unhappy that vendors and operators are trumpeting NFV proof of concepts (PoCs) that are not part of a clear deployment plan. "I don't think this is good," he said. "You need to understand when you will commercially deploy a use case -- having the technology ready is very far from having a service that is ready to be launched."

Likely to be under pressure from senior Vodafone management to show that NFV can live up to its headline promises, Amzallag lashed out at suppliers for their shortcomings on new service orchestration and interfacing with OSS.

With support for a multi-vendor network deployment seen as a major attraction of NFV, one of his biggest challenges may be getting different vendors to sit at the same table and work together. "This requires a different relationship with the vendors, and we also need a different pricing model," he said.

But Fatato turned the tables on Vodafone when discussing PoCs. "We are investing a significant amount of resources in PoCs but you are asking for that," he said. "We need to have the vision together -- not just the vendors."

The HP Enterprise executive acknowledged, however, that transforming the OSS would be "extremely challenging" and that he did not have a "one-size-fits-all recipe" to address the various issues raised by Vodafone.

"We are already in production translating the vision into reality but, believe me, it's not easy," he said. "But we are doing this in an open fashion and making sure we can handle a multi-vendor environment."

For more NFV-related coverage and insights, check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.

HP Enterprise is touting a go-to-market approach based on the related concepts of openness, modularity and agility, but Vodafone says it needs immediate action from vendors on open interfaces.

"We will not be able to wait a year or two years for interfaces after investing in [NFV] technology -- buying technology and waiting two years to start using it is ridiculous," said Amzallag. "We need action to drive this forwards."

Vodafone is not the only operator that has been sounding off about the difficulties of deploying NFV technologies, with UK fixed-line incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) recently drawing attention to the perceived shortcomings of some open source technologies. (See OpenStack Doubts Surface After BT Ultimatum and BT Threatens to Ditch OpenStack.)

During another keynote presentation at the OSS event, Andy Reid, BT's chief network services architect, said there was a pressing need to address some of the confusion about the roles that different elements of the NFV architecture are supposed to play. (See BT Wrestles With NFV Orchestration Confusion.)

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

DHagar 11/6/2015 | 8:01:30 PM
Re: Sounds Like Some DevOps Need More $$ mhhf2ve, exactly!  Also, if they are truly wanting a platform that works, it is not just a matter of deployment, it requires a different design that does take time.  Sounds like a disconnect to me. 

It makes one wonder how truly well understood the new technologies are.  I think some view them as evolutionary rather than truly new disruptive platforms.
mhhf1ve 11/6/2015 | 2:56:09 PM
Sounds like some DevOps need more $$.. Where will the leadership come from, if not the suppliers? hmm. 
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