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Vendor Selection Survey: New Criteria for the New IP Era

Ray Le Maistre
6/16/2015

Much is made of the transformation underway at communications service providers (CSPs) around the world -- a transformation that incorporates changes to corporate culture, staffing requirements, business case strategies and commercial services, as well as network and supporting technologies.

As the CSPs change, so do their requirements, particularly when it comes to sourcing technology. Where once they could build their network and service creation strategies around a small number of traditional suppliers, the inevitable introduction of SDN and NFV capabilities into their networks is affecting their sourcing, purchasing and partnership requirements and changing their relationships with the supplier community.

That means the traditional lead suppliers to CSPs -- the likes of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Nokia Networks and others -- also need to transform if they want to remain relevant to the needs of their existing customer base.

That's because remaining relevant means much more than just staying in business (something that some players in the vendor community have been struggling to do). To source the expertise and know-how they need for the New IP world, CSPs are turning to a new breed of vendor partner, forging new relationships and testing new methodologies.

As Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders noted recently:

So are the vendors evolving to meet the modern-day needs of the CSPs? We conducted a snapshot survey of a selection of leading communications networking technology vendors to find out if they have evolved and if they match up to what Light Reading believes is a telling set of vendor selection criteria, mostly related to the ability to support the network virtualization and systems integration needs of today's CSPs.

We approached 13 vendors -- the following 11 responded:

The two that weren't able to respond in time for this particular survey were Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763): They will be invited to participate in our next survey, which will include a number of additional vendors.

The survey responses are available on the following page, along with some key findings, followed by a brief snapshot of each of the 11 vendors based on their answers and any supporting information provided.

The responses are in many cases not surprising but still illuminating. There is no doubt that the companies that have dominated supplier relationships with the CSPs over the years have been adapting, in terms not only of their portfolios but also of their operations, market coverage and involvement in industry groups and organizations.

It's also clear, though, that there is a great deal of work to be done before the vendor community is able to meet the demands of CSPs that need to compete in a digital, cloud-driven, software-defined industry.

Next page: Key findings and vendor responses

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, and Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading

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Steve Saunders
Steve Saunders
6/28/2015 | 12:23:45 PM
Re: Interworking of NFVi and VNFs
I think the ony thing shocking about the responses is probably HP's high desgree of honesty in answering the questions. Interoperability is a big issue right now in the open surce virtualized space; kudos to HP fr not just "checking the box" when that would have been the simplest response (and the one other vendors might have been tempted to opt for). 

Light Reading is planning some interoperability tests this year to get to the bottom of which works with what... stay tuned for that. 
AlokT518
AlokT518
6/24/2015 | 8:50:25 PM
Interworking of NFVi and VNFs
Can your company demonstrate inter-working of those VNFs on other vendors' NFV infrastructure (NFVi)? : HP says No.

Can your company demonstrate inter-working between its NFVI and other vendors' VNFs? : HP says No.

This is indeed surprising (shocking?), especially if we consider the list of HP OpenNFV Application Partners on its website, which keeps growing every month. Have you double checked with HP and are they indeed comfortable replying "No" to these 2 questions?

 
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