NFV Elements

HPE Fails to Deliver at Swisscom – Sources

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been unable to meet the NFV needs of national European operator Swisscom, which is now seeking an additional virtualization partner to put its NFV plans back on track, according to reliable industry sources with knowledge of the situation.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been the major technology partner for the Swiss operator's enterprise virtual CPE (vCPE) rollout, announcing its involvement in February this year. (See HPE Lands NFV, PCRF Deals.)

But some of the vendor's technology has failed to live up to expectations, forcing Swisscom to seek a new partner that can deliver a more suitable NFV platform, according to Light Reading's sources, though this has been officially denied by both the operator and vendor.

A "Swiss miss" would be a hammer blow to HPE's NFV aspirations, as the vendor's virtualization team also failed to deliver at Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) in late 2015. (See Telefónica Ditches HPE as Virtualization Lead.)

It's also another reminder that NFV is tough to implement in the real world: The advantages have been identified and talked about for years but successful commercial deployments are still few and far between.

The situation in Switzerland appears similar to the vendor's flop at Telefónica, where HPE promised a carrier-class solution but was replaced within months.

So what's the deal at Swisscom? HPE was selected by the operator earlier this year to deliver multiple NFV-related systems -- Virtualized Infrastructure Manager, its flavor of OpenStack, Virtual Services Router, Service Director plus consulting and integration services -- to support the operator's vCPE strategy, but the operator is now said to be seeking a new key supplier and integrator, though it plans to retain some individual HPE NFV applications.

According to the sources, who requested anonymity, key elements of HPE's NFV package have failed to live up to the operator's carrier-class expectations and the Swisscom technology team is now working to find a suitable replacement. Like many operators, Swisscom wants to work with one prime supplier partner for its virtualization deployments rather than try to integrate hardware and software from multiple suppliers itself: In this instance, though, it looks like HPE will end up being a junior supplier to whichever company is brought in as the prime partner.

Officially, Swisscom maintains that all is well. "There are no plans to replace HPE as the key provider of technology and support/integration services for Swisscom's virtual CPE deployment. The partnership with HPE remains unchanged," a spokesman for the operator tells Light Reading.

UPDATE: Heinz Herren, CTO/CIO, Swisscom, and David Sliter, VP and GM, Communications Solutions Business, at HPE, emailed a joint statement to Light Reading: "The relationship between HPE and Swisscom remains unchanged; HPE continues to serve as a key vendor for Swisscom's vCPE implementation and we intend to build on that partnership moving forward. We will further develop the joint vCPE solution together, including HPE Aruba zero touch provisioning networking solutions planned for production early 2017. So far our joint collaboration and innovation has been a success."

Another NFV disappointment is not what HPE needs right now: Following some major corporate restructuring and the sale of business units, HPE is increasingly relying on next-gen cloud/virtualization deals with major telcos and enterprises to remain competitive.

But the wheels seem to be coming off HPE's NFV bus. The earlier rejection by Telefónica had already raised major question marks about its ability to deliver carrier-class NFV capabilities, while the vendor's reputation has taken another blow following the recent revelation by SDxCentral that its lead NFV executive and figurehead, Saar Gillai, is preparing to leave the business.

So which companies could Swisscom turn to for help with its vCPE program? Having strong professional services and integration capabilities will be key for any new partner.

No doubt the Swiss team will have put a call into their peers at Telefónica to find out if Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which replaced HPE as the Spanish operator's NFV lead partner, is delivering the goods.

Swisscom already has some experience of the Swedish vendor's NFV capabilities, as its mobile networks team has been working with Ericsson to introduce SDN, NFV and cloud capabilities for its next-gen mobile core. (See Swisscom Picks Ericsson for Telco Cloud, NFV.)

And Ericsson would also be able to bring its best buddy, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), along for the ride, should it have anything in its armory that might help Swisscom's cause. (See Cisco + Ericsson: From Soup to Nuts.)

Other potential NFV partners offering a virtualization and integration combo include Huawei, NEC and Nokia.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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mrcynic 10/13/2016 | 8:44:31 PM
Ericsson profits plunge 94% Even if your "sources" are correct, why would Swisscom bet on Ericsson which is going through a disastrous time. Read:

mendyk 10/6/2016 | 2:44:06 PM
Re: Familiar accusations Cynic (brave of you to use your actual name!): If there's any logic to your proposal, it isn't apparent. And your insults are third-rate. You can do better. We know it.
mrcynic 10/6/2016 | 11:03:52 AM
Re: Familiar accusations @Ray: National Enquirer is also successful and is more that 16 years. The issue is whether your business model is based on truth, sensationalism, or become the medium of "truth" to your higher paying vendors. What happens if this story is proved wrong -- will you apologize, will you get fired, will you shut down the blog site. I suspect none of that will happen. That is why this is more like National Enquirer...why dont you let the vendor who thinks they succeeded at Swisscom put a press release and you can comment on that. That way we know the source to be the higher paying vendor.

Right now LightReading is more like SkatingOnThinIce or NationalEnquirer
[email protected] 10/6/2016 | 8:09:30 AM
Familiar accusations Over the years Light Reading has had many accusations thrown at it about bias, deliberately publishing false information, favoring companies with which we have business engagements etc

But there is a reason LIght Reading has been a success for the past 16 years and will continue to be so -- we are not new to this game, we have an experienced editorial team that operates to consistent and high standards: We don't throw idle gossip over the digital wall.

There is no commercial imperative behind the articles we publish and our readers would be just as likely to find a story that is deemed to be negative about a company that has commercial relations with Light Reading as much as they would to find one that is positive. That also applies to compmanies that have no commercial relationship with Light Reading. It is simply not a consideration when we are putting an article together.

I also know that there will be people who will cry 'bullshit' at the above statements and, again, that has happened many times and this will all happen again in the future.

In the meantime, we'll continue to do what we do in the exact same way. 
brooks7 10/6/2016 | 1:54:23 AM
Re: paid reading continues to spread falsehoods  

So, if there is a happy customer...it will become apparent over time.  So what is the point of posting here to try to discredit the site?


a-REAL-engineer 10/5/2016 | 10:52:32 PM
Re: paid reading continues to spread falsehoods You're seriously going after spelling? Look at the first sentence in this rag article, blogger, and you will see your sham reporting STARTS with a grammar problem. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, coach. And then those who fail at all of that, blog. So blog away bloggers. I'm sure EVERYONE wants to read your posts. You are really helping to advance the ball. The industry would just be so lost without you. Meanwhile, us real engineers will be solving actual problems.
brooks7 10/5/2016 | 1:28:43 AM
Re: Light reading has become like the National Enquirer of tech  

Wow, is Harvey Mudd back....



PS - Yes, I am really reaching back for that one....I am not sure any of those posts are still archived.
mrcynic 10/4/2016 | 8:07:29 PM
Light reading has become like the National Enquirer of tech I know for a fact that this article is false. But LightReading gets its "sources" to say whatever thesis they want to develop and generate noise. I strongly suggest LightReading should pull back this story before it is proved false and completes shames this trusted blog site.

I also advise the author to not pander to rumors/innuendoes or even stoop to even lower levels like honoring news from competing (and better paying) vendors. If that is proven, it will destroy the veracity of even legitimate articles.
Steve Saunders 10/4/2016 | 4:31:57 PM
Re: paid reading continues to spread falsehoods HPE is a customer of Light Reading. A pretty big one, actually.  So your argument sort of falls over at the first hurdle doesn't it. 

"Gong negative" 

Spell much? 

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