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VNFs (Virtual Network Functions)

Charting the Course to Cloud-Native

Market watchers are anxious for NFV transformation to really take hold and for automation to become as routine for the telcos as it is for the cloud giants and webscale operators.

Most industry observers agree that moving to cloud-based infrastructures is inevitable. Really -- who doesn't think the telcos have to make this move to compete against the cloud natives who are extracting so much of the value of content services? How else will they be able to manage the impending data traffic tsunami of 5G and IoT?

However, it's not all up to the telcos. In fact, I would argue that it's their suppliers -- the VNF owners -- who need to do a lot of the heavy lifting in the near term. Network functions have for years been architected as monoliths, designed to be run on purpose-built hardware. NFV enables a new paradigm whereby those functions can run on standard IT servers in a software-driven environment.

Merely moving software from one platform to another isn't enough, though. A rethinking and re-architecting of the software will be needed to truly leverage cloud-based approaches like Agile and DevOps that will give telcos the flexibility and agility they covet in their hyperscale peers.


Get real-world answers to virtualization challenges from industry leaders. Join us for the NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver. Register now for this exclusive opportunity to learn from and network with industry experts – communications service providers get in free!


During Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event, taking place September 26 to 28 in Denver, I will discuss this issue in my "Getting to 'Cloud-Native'" panel session on September 27 with AT&T as well as representatives from VNF suppliers and management software suppliers including:

  • Shubh Agarwal, SVP, Strategic Marketing, Metaswitch Networks ;
  • Matt Goldberg, Vice President, Global Strategic Solutions, SevOne Inc. ;
  • Doug Nassaur, General Manager, Lead Principal Technical Architect, Technology Design & Architect, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T);
  • Prayson Pate, Chief Technology Officer, ADVA Optical Networking ; and
  • Stefan Vallin, Director of Product Strategy, Netrounds .

During the panel, we will debate what it will take to enable telcos to execute their cloud transformations, and what the supplier community's responsibilities are in the process. We'll highlight progress that has been made to date, and the technology challenges that remain, including the role microservices and containers should play.

I hope you will join me at this panel as well as the rest of Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event for conversations around transformations in the virtualization space, future service creation and the evolution of data centers.

— Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Telco Data Center, Heavy Reading

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