Virtualization has been making its way through the telco data center for years, with network functions the next in line to be virtualized.
Like everything else in telco, there is no expectation of rip and replace, so the transformation will need to be managed with an eye towards integrating into existing infrastructure and processes.
I recently spoke with Stefan Kindt, head of technology marketing for Nokia Networks , about the vendor's approach to data center transformation. How data centers will migrate to support NFV is one of the topics we will be exploring at the upcoming NFV and the Data Center event in Santa Clara, September 16.
In Nokia's view, NFV is the main driver for the evolution of the telco cloud. The company offers a full life-cycle of professional services targeted at the telco cloud, from consulting, to design and build, to operate and maintain.
Kindt points out that Nokia works with customers that are deploying NFV on their existing cloud data center platform, as well as customers that use the vendor to bring in a new platform, leveraging partners where necessary.
The decision on which partners to work with on any given project is mostly a question of efficiency and scale: These partners may come from the IT domain, although Kindt says Nokia does have its own IT expertise in-house, handling such tasks as developing telco-specific extensions to OpenStack and VMWare.
It will also bring in the product-related services from partners to deliver pre-integrated solutions. Nokia has an internal cloud that it uses to test technology, and bring the lessons learned into customer engagements.
Nokia has two preferred modes of operation:
Telco Cloud software integration: In this instance, Nokia handles the horizontal and vertical integration of virtualized solutions running in an existing multi-tenant operator's private cloud environment.
Full Solution integration: This is the same solution as for Telco Cloud software integration, but running on dedicated cloud infrastructure provided by Nokia.
The vendor is also considering a Core-as-a-Service offering, where it would offer selected network functions as a service hosted on a cloud platform. It opted to forgo providing virtualized network functions and horizontal integration only, because it feels this is not the most compelling or differentiated offer.
According to Kindt, Nokia expects multiple separate clouds to be developed initially: network; operator IT/OSS/BSS; and enterprise. During the coming years, though, it expects these separate clouds to become integrated.
The first phase of integration, perhaps by 2016, will see the IT and Enterprise clouds come together. By 2020 (or later), the network and IT/enterprise clouds will be logically connected. Nokia believes it will be a very long time before all functions are running on a common infrastructure, owing in large part to the fact that telcos are, and will remain, quite siloed, despite integration and virtualization efforts.
Nokia, though, reports it has seen (limited) instances where the network and IT organizations have been brought together under the CTO. Telcos are still figuring out such organizational and cultural changes, although the vision of a fully integrated data center solution remains solid.
— Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading