Alcatel-Lucent is preparing to unveil what its CTO Marcus Weldon is calling "TiMetra Mark II" as it seeks to join the emerging debate around network functions virtualization (NFV).
The company is set to announce a new data networking vision in April in an effort to answer one of the key questions that telcos are asking themselves, and their suppliers, right now: How can we build networks for the mobile data age that are affordable, efficient, flexible and easier to manage?
The concept of NFV, which is closely aligned to software-defined networking (SDN), could help to provide at least part of the answer.
The potential efficiencies and operational gains from NFV network architecture strategies are being explored by a group of influential network operators that are equally excited by, and wary of, the prospects of a new approach to wide area data networking. (See Carriers Peer Into Virtual World and V Is for Virtualization.)
They're excited by the proposed benefits but wary that committing to a network architecture strategy built around the concept of NFV could leave them with even more complexity and greater operating costs.
Naturally, vendors have responded to the telcos' growing interest in SDN and NFV with roadmaps, R&D plans and even some products and operator relationships. (See Ericsson Claims SDN Advantage, Huawei Unfolds SDN Roadmap and NEC, Telefónica Team on SDN.)
Now it's Alcatel-Lucent's turn. Weldon refers to the upcoming announcement as heralding the arrival of "TiMetra Mark II" because it's being driven by the vendor's successful IP division that's led by Basil Alwan. He has been at the company since Alcatel acquired TiMetra in 2003 (arguably the sector's most successful acquisition ever). (See Alcatel & TiMetra Seal the Deal.)
Talking to Light Reading on the AlcaLu stand at Mobile World Congress, Alwan says he's not totally in favor of the "Mark II" badge but he is certainly enthused about the April announcement, which is set to feature the vendor's take on NFV and expand on the role of the company's SDN operation, Nuage Networks. (See Alcatel-Lucent Has a Top-Secret SDN Startup!)
The AlcaLu crew is keeping the details under wraps until the April unveiling, but with Alwan involved and NFV/SDN in the mix it's likely to be one of the most scrutinized announcements from the vendor community this year.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading