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NFV Strategies

Partnership Only Good as Its Weakest Member

Service providers will have multiple entry points into network functions virtualization (NFV) over the next 24 months. One growth driver is voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), including virtual IP multimedia systems (vIMS) and virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), as operators start to deploy new HD voice technology that will serve as a platform for next-generation communications.

The scale of VoLTE and ability to build new services and applications on top of it require a lean and automated operations environment with rapid deployment and scaling of services. Some service providers will start with appliances such as load balancers or domain name servers (DNS). These more simple applications will help shape new operations environments and new organizational structures. Others are seeing virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) as a good entry point into NFV.

A partner ecosystem enables service providers to roll out new virtualized functionality and services while realizing the benefits of decreased capex and opex associated with NFV. Service providers can embrace a faster service development cycle with less risk. Facilitating NFV deployment with reduced upfront investment and reduced risk is critical for the initial stage of NFV deployment.

NFV partnerships and ecosystems are key at this time because service providers are demanding system freedom so they can realize the same network efficiency, scalability and cost savings that the cloud vendors have had for years by leveraging standard hardware with open source software to roll out new services quickly. How vendors respond to this challenge can have a significant effect on their ability to gain traction in the marketplace.

As NFV partnerships and ecosystems continue to develop, growth should be done with an eye on creating solutions that are deployable, scalable, highly available and able to meet or exceed the performance requirements of the market. They should utilize a common open infrastructure that enables no vendor lock-in. And they should provide innovative solutions that help service providers compete and differentiate with over-the-top (OTT) services.

These are some of the findings in the latest issue of Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, "NFV Partnerships Underscore Importance of Collaboration." This report examines the market for NFV partnerships and ecosystems, analyzing features of top ecosystems and partnerships, as well as areas of growth expected in the market over the next two years. It discusses drivers and challenges in the industry and includes a comparative analysis of solutions available. Finally, it examines the geographic landscape of the market and details trends that are likely to occur in the industry over the next 18-24 months.

— Denise Culver, Research Analyst, Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider

NFV Partnerships Underscore Importance of Collaboration, a 22-page report in PDF format, is available as part of an annual subscription (6 bimonthly issues) to Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900.

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