LONDON -- Broadband World Forum -- Four years after the ETSI white paper, NFV has moved from concept to testing and into reality for some functions, but with reality comes growing pains around ROI, skill sets and a new challenge: software licensing.
During a presentation on Wednesday, Don Clarke, principal architect of network technologies at CableLabs , editor of the now infamous European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) white paper, reflected on the last four years: "When I look back at this whole technology, I think of it as an analogy with a child. You bring it to life and as soon as it starts to walk, it starts to make mistakes and it gets hurt. By the time it gets to about four years old, it's beginning to start to be sensible but it's not until much later that it starts to reach maturity," he said. "I would say even four years on, we're not there yet. We've got some ways to go."
While questions remain around where operators should deploy NFV to receive ROI, Clarke said he's still seeing major challenges around the migration to a software environment especially around NFV software license management. "I've been approached by several small software vendors at conferences and they don't see how they can interact with a very large operator with licensing. It's a very complex process," he said.
As such, Clarke said that ETSI is undertaking a new study on license management in an NFV world which it hopes to complete by mid-2017. The work will address and include the following:
- The impact of software licenses on NFV total cost of ownership
- User demands for flexible, scalable and highly dynamic license models
- Removing the barrier to entry for software providers (big and small) by simplifying complex and error-prone service provisioning and license renewal operations
- Including architecture support in NFV MANO for multiple VNF provider licensing models
- Supporting service continuity if VNF licenses are not available
- Working with TM Forum for license management's impact on OSS/BSS
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading