NFV Tests & Trials

The New FoV Index: 5 Takeaways

The latest iteration of the Future of Virtualization index project is now posted on the Virtuapedia website for all the world to see. The new data suggests that communications service providers are making some progress toward virtualizing networks and services -- but (surprise, surprise) the rate of progress isn't as fast as CSPs expected.

We launched the FoV index project in late 2015 to track CSP virtualization activity in three core areas: planning, deployment and spending. The index is based on direct input from some 50 CSPs worldwide; the objective is to provide a series of benchmarks that all CSPs can use to measure their own progress with a representative sample of their peers and competitors.

The index has 18 separate components, each of which offers a specific view of how virtualization efforts are moving along. Each component tells its own story, which you can interpret by looking at the numbers yourself here.

The new index charts compare the results from the initial survey (done in November 2015) with the most recent survey, conducted in May 2016. We'll be updating the index every six months to chart how CSPs are doing with their transformation efforts.

Already, the index is showing some clear trends in how CSPs are handling virtualization. Here are five that sum up the current state of CSP activity:

  1. The commitment to virtualization is real. Almost all CSPs participating in the project are now working on their virtualization programs, and more than half say they have identified most or all of the functions they plan to virtualize by 2020.

  2. The planning process is taking longer than CSPs expected. Last fall, nearly a quarter of the participating CSPs said that they expected to identify all the functions they plan to virtualize by 2020 by no later than mid-2016. But in the latest survey, only 10% said they will meet that timetable. The identification process now looks like it will stretch into 2017 and even 2018 -- which suggests that CSPs are finding complications as they dig into virtualization's details.

  3. CSPs are slightly less confident in their deployment timetables, but they still feel good about their long-term prospects. Only 10% say they're not confident at all in their ability to meet their timetable for testing and deploying virtual functions in their high-priority areas. But the level of confidence is slipping a bit.

  4. Deployment of high-priority virtualization projects in live production networks will take longer than CSPs expected just six months ago. In the fall 2015 survey, nearly 20% of CSPs said they expected to have all of their high-priority projects in place by the end of 2017. In the latest survey, less than 15% said they now expect that to happen.

  5. The expected delay in deployment is not having a negative effect on spending plans for virtualization projects. Nearly 90% of participating CSPs said that capex for virtualization initiatives will increase in 2017. Some CSPs that kept virtualization capex flat in 2016 now expect to spend more in the coming year.

Overall, the new index data points to a more realistic but still upbeat view of CSP virtualization efforts. The job is proving to be tougher than CSPs may have anticipated, but they aren't shying away from the work.

There's a lot more data to look over in the FoV indexes. Feel free to take a closer look for yourself here.

— Dennis Mendyk, SVP of Research, Heavy Reading

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