CEO Chat With Chris Ancell, XO Communications
The long road to virtualization
SS: I'm launching a new not-for-profit organization next year, called the New IP Agency. It's an educational organization and its role is to accelerate the deployment of profitable virtualization services around the world. I think that's a really important mission. There's a lot of confusion around virtualization, and there is no consensus on virtualization standards.
When I first announced that I was going do this, this year, I got a lot of very warm feedback, from everybody. Then we announced that we were going to do some interoperability testing between the VNFs and NFVis from all of the different companies and...
CA: …then it got really interesting.
SS: It did. And I wanted to get your take on it. What happened was all of the telecom incumbents joined up immediately, with one exception. They all said they thought it was a fantastic idea and that it would be really useful to their customers. Cisco was the first to sign up, which impressed me. The Juniper came in. Then Huawei. All those guys.
But you know who didn't sign up? None of the enterprise companies that are making a play for the service provider space. I'm still working on getting them all to change their minds, but I just thought that it was tremendously disappointing because you hear everybody talk about how important "open" is, and this is literally the first and only independent and truly open interoperability that the industry has had a chance to take part in.
SS: Do you think that we are actually going to get to a point where we have a white box, open, virtualized "peaceable kingdom" with interoperability, or do you think the politics will means it's going to take longer to get there?
CA: I think you've hit on it. It's the latter. I think we'll go through all the battles of those who claim to be completely supportive of the idea and the concept, but who want to rule the world, so they're not going to share.
CA: Where we as the service providers are, and, more importantly, where customers are going, means that has to get there eventually. I just think that it will take more time than we ever thought. In the real world we started talking about virtualization with customers six, seven, eight years ago. Unified communications is another one; Hell, we started talking about that ten or 12 years ago, and only now is it what I would call a mass-market solution, where mid-market companies are embracing it. Virtualization is probably going to follow the same kind of path.
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