NFV Elements

Vodafone Demands 'Cloud-Native' From Its Vendors

For Vodafone's Project Ocean, virtualization is no longer a goal by itself. Instead, the carrier is pushing for applications to be cloud-native, as Matt Beal, director of innovation and architecture, explained in his BCE 2017 keynote last week.

It's a stance Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) took in November. Vendors were eager to produce cloud-ready software -- applications that are in fully virtual form -- but Vodafone wants Ocean, its sweeping network transformation project, to go a step further. Cloud-native applications are a breed apart, newly built to take advantage of the cloud's agility. (See Vodafone: Desperately Seeking Cloud-Centric Tech.)

"Some [vendors] who are strong in virtualization probably think they get to stop there, and we don't think that's feasible. We think you have to follow through to cloud-native," Beal said. "Across the board, we would love to see more traction in cloud-native."

Why is cloud-native so important? Vodafone likes the agility and the potential to simplify telecom's complicated software.

More importantly, though, cloud-native is what Vodafone is competing against: cloud providers and over-the-top services that enjoy the agility of cloud-native platforms and applications. "There's nothing like being two-thirds of the way done with a race when the winner finishes," Beal said.

Vodafone has been frank about calling out Project Ocean's vendors. Recently, group head David Amzallag complained to Light Reading about pricing models, saying vendors haven't caught up to the modern practices of the cloud.

Progress on Project Ocean is about what you'd expect, Beal said, with about 50% of Vodafone's operating companies have meet or exceeded adoption targets. The "big jump," though, is coming this year: "We've got a couple of the big, big services coming online," he said.

For more on Vodafone's Project Ocean, please see:

— Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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