Brocade is predicting that Indian deployments of NFV technology will gather pace this year while noting that SDN is unlikely to take off as quickly.
A number of Indian telcos have recently begun exploring the so-called New IP technologies, engaging with vendors like Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) to learn more about the potential benefits and deployment scenarios in India.
"We foresee NFV deployments to pick up pace in 2016 but for SDN it might take a little longer," says Swapna Bapat, the director of systems engineering for Brocade India.
One challenge for operators in India is finding resources for core network transformation after spending so heavily on spectrum acquisition in recent years.
Even so, India's telcos are also under huge pressure to differentiate themselves from their rivals by offering more innovative services to consumers. Brocade's Bapat believes this could spur investments in NFV, which should help companies to launch services with greater agility and lower the cost of operations.
While SDN holds similar attractions, the introduction of more software technologies into network architecture would force telcos to adapt their culture and organizations as well as their infrastructure. That could require much greater investment and be a much tougher challenge than network transformation alone.
Nevertheless, India's enterprise segment is displaying a lot of interest in SDN and NFV and may soon achieve a critical mass. "India is a phase behind what is happening in the US, so we have a lot of time to learn from the experiences of users in the US market," says Bapat. "The growth of 3G, ongoing launch of 4G and government-backed initiatives like Digital India will lead to an increased adoption of SDN and NFV in the country."
Brocade hopes its open approach to virtualization will enable it to grab a big slice of India's NFV market in future.
"Our open approach to NFV differentiates us from other vendors by ensuring value delivery in multi-vendor environments," claims Bapat. "It aligns with our goal of easing orchestration in a software-driven infrastructure."
Brocade has also recently technology partnerships that should help it target this opportunity, teaming up with Metaswitch Networks and Openet Telecom Ltd. -- for instance -- to deliver pre-integrated NFV solutions. (See Brocade Partners for 5G, New IP, and Open Mobile Networking.)
But the company will face strong competition from other vendors also boasting an open approach, including Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Hewlett Packard Enterprise , Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. . Overcoming operator concern that technologies really are open may be the biggest SDN and NFV challenge of all.
— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading