Key Takeaways From NFV & Carrier SDN
Here's a quick snapshot of my impressions from this week's NFV-Carrier SDN: Automation and Monetization event in Denver:
No one thinks NFV has lived up to its original promise yet but most network operator speakers weren't whining about that so much as they were stating facts. And most also had a clear vision of what needs to happen next and seemed willing to buckle down to get it done.
The complaints were familiar. First-generation virtual network functions were just software-based versions of what vendors once sold as appliances, dumped on virtual machines. Making virtual stuff work with legacy OSSs-BSSs is really hard. Open source is great but there are too many groups to track. And of course: internal culture change is probably the biggest obstacle.
Common information models are a point of contention. Some folks think they are necessary, even to move open source along. But others say that pushing for standards like CMIs just slows things down and that open Application Programming Interfaces can work to mask the lack of agreement on information models.
There is much wider acceptance of open source now among carriers, even as they admit that working with open source groups requires them to change their own internal doings and pay for things differently. Stay tuned for more to come on this topic from one particularly interesting panel.
There was surprisingly little discussion of SD-WANs. Two years ago, software-defined wide area networking dominated this event but it was barely mentioned here this week. One reason was that it wasn't featured heavily on the agenda -- Light Reading event content is driven by our talented Heavy Reading analysts, and they found other topics preferable. But for a show based on automation and monetization, it's surprising that more network operators didn't talk about SD-WANs and what they are doing. I'm still undecided on what that means.
My favorite quotes/moments:
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading