Tier 2 operators are moving into the virtualization space in a different way from their larger counterparts, focusing first on more narrow use cases, according to one software vendor serving this area.
At last week's Open Networking Summit in Los Angeles, Inocybe Technologies 's Chief Revenue Officer John Zannos was accompanying one of those operator customers -- Javier Ger, senior expert and senior Network & Services architect at Cablevision Argentina -- and talking about that company's specific use case for the Inocybe open networking platform.
Cablevision Argentina is generally looking for new revenues with less capex, Ger says, "and we are seeing there is a change in the market right now that gives us new opportunities from an architectural point of view, and a new network model."
His company became the largest quad-play provider in Argentina following the approval last year of its merger with Telecom Argentina SA. The cable operator also operates in Paraguay and Uraguay.
That model Ger refers to is using software-defined networking to optimize Cablevision's content delivery network, pushing content closer to the customers for easier and more cost-effective consumption of that content, without having to do heavy-duty traffic engineering, Ger explains.
And he admits there will likely be other use cases for SDN and the Inocybe platform, but adds "we are trying to figure that out, and taking it on a use-case-by-use-case basis, depending on the market, the country and the mode of operation."
That's not an atypical approach for a Tier 2 operator, notes Zannos, the open source veteran who came to Inocybe from Canonical in 2017 to grow the software company's business. (See Open Source Champion Zannos Joins Inocybe .)
"They are very focused on a narrow use case, which simplified things by not having a huge complex use case," he says in an interview. "Tier 2 operators -- and these are not small companies -- start with a narrow-focused beachhead, which makes sense, given the technical and non-technical challenges we all have in these sorts of projects."
What that tight focus allows, he adds, is for a simplification of the stack to make life easier. Based on its experience as an early implementer of OpenDaylight, Inocybe brings expertise to use cases it sees on a repeatable basis, as well as general expertise in handling virtualized network functions and the underlying NFV infrastructure, Zannos comments.
"I like the fact they are already envisioning future use cases," he says. "Let's make the first step a very definitive well-defined step and see where it goes from there."
Ger says the challenges for Cablevision Argentina have been largely around learning to operate in a new way, not only in embracing new technology but in the cultural changes required.
"There are also some issues with the maturity of features, and we have a lot of discussion related to that and to the transaction model," he comments. "One important thing we found in this use case is that we were able to optimize the capex, with a more optimized architecture and so we could spend less money in the devices."
The in-home device cost is a considerable factor in providing video services.
Cablevision Argentina also found that some of its traditional vendors weren't prepared to provide the end-to-end support the operator needed, especially when dealing with upgrades to the software-centric architecture, as open source platforms evolved.
"We had two to three releases of OpenDaylight as well as new features within a release," Ger says. "That was not so common" for existing vendors.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading