Major network operators are planning to hook up their NFV reference labs in order to share their R&D findings and accelerate the deployment of virtualized network functions.
The revelation came during a Big Telecom Event (BTE) keynote presentation by Diego Lopez, senior technology expert at Telefónica I+D, the R&D operation of Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF). (See the BTE show site for all the news from the show.)
Lopez, a senior figure in NFV circles, explained that Telefónica had built its own NFV reference lab using multiple components (commodity switches, hypervisor, OpenStack-based virtual infrastructure management, orchestrator, multiple virtual functions), and is now in the process of "federating reference labs" with other operators to "validate common use cases, experiment with collaboration mechanisms, explore business models, and build a global reference implementation." (See Telefónica Building NFV Reference Platform With Red Hat & Intel.)
Lopez declined to name any of the other telcos currently involved, but noted there were "a few" and that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been agreed around the use of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s CloudBand platform, which would enable the labs to link up and collaborate via a virtual network.
And while Lopez was keeping any further details to himself, sources on the BTE show floor suggested that NTT Group (NYSE: NTT) is one of the operators ready to engage with Telefónica and others in NFV lab collaboration.
That Telefónica is leading the charge here is not a big surprise. The Spanish operator has a very aggressive timetable for the introduction of virtualized elements into commercial operations, starting with virtual residential CPE in Latin America any time soon, and is keen to accelerate developments and understanding on NFV use cases in any way. (See Telefónica Unveils Aggressive NFV Plans and Telefónica Preps NFV Trial .)
"We are focused on accelerating innovation," said the Telefónica man. "We want to shorten the roadmap … [and] break the cycle of long-term development. We are witnessing a paradigm shift in networking, with software at the core of the network," Lopez told the BTE crowd, adding that "SDN is more than a promise."
NFV, though, is more advanced. "NFV is well beyond the first steps -- there are mature proofs of concept and initial field deployments" that are leading to "completely new business models," noted Lopez.
And completely new collaboration models too, it seems.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading