Forget the hype and the hoopla. 2016 is the year that the telecom market gets serious about network functions virtualization (NFV).
That's the verdict -- and it's unanimous -- from more than two dozen C-level executives at communications service providers (CSPs) and solution vendors that I've interviewed about their NFV strategies since the start of this year.
These are exciting times for our industry -- for both suppliers and carrier users of NFV tech. With its potential to not only save money on opex and capex, but also generate revenue through creation of new services like vCPE, virtualized managed security and Evolved Packet Core, the industry is "bigging up" NFV as the right solution at the right time for CSPs looking for ways to cut costs and dig out of the revenue slump that has dogged them for the last decade.
Interesting, then, that the emotion most evident during my conversations with service providers in 2016 hasn't been giddy euphoria, but anxiety.
CSPs are right to be cautious. Attempts in 2015 to launch commercial services based on NFV did not always go well, and there is a clear consensus amongst first movers that vendors have significantly overstated the network savings that can be achieved by deploying today's NFV solutions.
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders talks with VMware's Shekar Ayyar, who explains why cloud architectures are becoming more distributed, what that means for workloads, and why telcos can still be significant cloud services players.