HP looks to NFV as a strategic chance to gain major new traction in the carrier market, says Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager of HP's NFV business.
"We believe NFV is a big opportunity for HP, not just an incremental revenue opportunity. It's a great technology shift we haven't seen for a long time in the carrier market," Mayer says. "Meg [Whitman, HP CEO, president, and chairman] is personally overseeing this, and spending a lot of time with our organization."
NFV is the spearhead of HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s push into carrier services. HP already does business with carrier IT departments and in the operations and support space, and is looking to extend those relationships to the customer-facing network, Mayer says.
"Maybe it's not well known, but we have been in the service provider market for several years. We do a huge amount of business in this space," Mayer says.
HP sees NFV as a cross-corporate initiative, funding NFV R&D in all business units, with about 5,000 people focused on NFV across the organization. Revenue targets are in the billions, Mayer says.
HP's NFV philosophy follows the standard NFV catechism: Virtualization lets carriers deploy new services more quickly compared with deploying a new appliance. Deploying appliances is time-consuming, and often requires proprietary hardware, which reduces choice. Virtualization removes those limitations.
HP and virtualization go together; some 80% of virtual machines in the world run on HP equipment, Mayer says. Moreover, HP's leadership in IT plays to the telco market, as telcos want to use IT-based technology in the network, Mayer says.
Mayer does not lack confidence. "My expertise and background in networking are the reasons I was asked to do this. We really believe we can grow the amount of revenue overall, and there aren't a lot of people in the company who can drive something like this," she says.
Mayer headed up HP networking for three years, building HP's OpenFlow SDN controller, a networking app store, SDK, and partner program around SDN. She ran both the networking and NFV business units beginning in February, and then left networking to go full-time on NFV in May.
She joined HP as a vice president of marketing and alliances for enterprise servers, storage, and networking in 2010. She previously held positions at Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI), Mirapoint Inc. , Vernier Networks Inc. , SkyStream Networks Inc. , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), and Lockheed Martin Corp. .