AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Margaret Chiosi, who also chairs the Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. and was on the original European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV industry standards group, and Verizon's Shawn Hakl, vice president of Enterprise Networking and Innovation for Verizon Enterprise Solutions , are both bringing their companies' extensive expertise in virtualization to the discussion floor in Dallas. But they are hardly alone.
Executives from Cox Communications Inc. , Masergy Communications Inc. , NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) and Telefónica will all share real-world views of why their companies are pioneering NFV deployments and the challenges they are facing. Don Clarke, principal architect of network technologies at CableLabs , which is leading the cable industry's virtualization efforts in the US, will be on hand to talk about both analytics and security in the virtual realm.
It's a clear reflection of where the industry is moving and at what pace -- but that doesn't mean this will be a two-day Dallas lovefest. Instead, I'm expecting to hear a lot about what's missing and what the industry needs to be doing, in open source groups and elsewhere, for NFV to live up to its promises of faster innovation and service delivery and greater efficiencies as well.
For example, Tim Naramore, Masergy's CTO, has promised to share his company's real-world experience in virtualizing the customer premises equipment that it's deploying globally for multinational enterprises. This is one of the hottest early deployment spaces for NFV -- virtual CPE -- for its clear business case: By deploying on-premises functions as virtualized bits of software, network operators can manage the endpoints and offer updates, upgrades and new services without constantly rolling trucks or drop-shipping new boxes. (See Masergy's Bold NFV Play Is Customer Driven.)
Chiosi is known for her candor in addressing not only what AT&T is doing but what the industry, and equipment vendors in particular, must do for this virtualization push to carry out the kind of transformation that will enable communications providers to compete in the Web 2.0 era. And given how aggressive AT&T is currently in its own transformation, I'm sure she'll have a lot to say. (See Open Source Needs Butts More Than Bucks and OPNFV Does Telecom/Open Source 'Mind Meld'.)
Factor in Hakl's perspective from Verizon, which is now beginning to talk more about the activity that has been going on, largely behind the scenes, in that company, and you can see why I'm getting excited about what these two days promise. (See Verizon, Cisco Launch Smarter WAN.)
Brett Brock, design engineer, will bring the the Cox perspective. That company is one of the US cable pioneers in exploring where NFV can pay off in the consumer space.
And that's without even discussing the fact that the head of |Telefónica's NFV Initiative, Francisco-Javier Ramón Salguero, will be on hand. He heads the lab that has been pushing boundaries in the virtual world, to see what the outer limits look like. And Rob Schrage will be there to represent NTT, which was early to market with both SDN and NFV -- not much to talk about there, right? (See Telefónica, Alcatel-Lucent Strengthen NFV Ties, NFV-Enabled Services Gaining Traction: NTT Comms and Telefónica Releases OpenMANO NFV Orchestration Stack.)
Oh, and those three "industry veterans?" They love it when I remind them how old we all are! Heavy Reading's cracker jack virtualization team -- Caroline Chappell, Jim Hodges and Roz Roseboro -- are leading the discussion and adding their own insights. That alone is worth a plane ticket to Dallas!
So, of course, I'll expect to see you there as well. You can still join us, just register here, and -- as always -- service provider employees attend for no charge.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading