A key area in 2017 for carriers is vendors "normalizing" virtual network functions (VNFs).
In order for SDN and NFV to reach their full potential, VNFs need to be less like snowflakes and more like Legos, according to Chris Rice, senior vice president of AT&T Labs. Normalizing VNFs includes coming up with basic functions such as configure, test, scale, start, stop, restart and rebuild, Rice said at last year's OpenDaylight Summit. (See AT&T's Rice: Industry Needs to Normalize VNFs.)
Rick Hubbard, senior vice president of Network Product Management at
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), echoed Rice's VNF sentiments in a Telco Transformation Q&A when he said the current crop of VNFs were "purpose built," but he does see the potential for them to become more open via standardized platforms. (See AT&T's Hubbard Discusses SDN Standards & Open Source.)
"I do think that with the equipment folks many of them are seeing virtualization as a way to move sideways," Hubbard said. "So the firewall guys get into routing, the routing guys get into firewalls, without creating two different types of pieces of equipment. So by definition, they are going to have to start becoming a little more open in the way they put these VNFs together.
"And longer term, what we are all going to need to care for is: How does that brand loyalty attach to what were previously equipment providers that are now VNF providers unless there is some sort of platform that takes hold?"
Vendors need to make sure that their VNFs and software work seamlessly across the various use cases, which include "smart" central offices in edge data centers, in universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) at customer sites and in data centers near central offices. (See Study IDs Big Targets for VNFs.)
In this Telco Transformation radio show, James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst – OSS/BSS Transformation, Heavy Reading, will discuss the challenges and opportunities around re-creating OSS in a virtualized world.
The promise of 5G connectivity is a truly Networked Society. 5G is not just about making the throughput larger, it is also about offering use case optimized user experiences and inclusion of new vertical sectors. Use cases predicted for 2020 will need new types of connectivity services that are highly scalable and programmable in terms of speed, capacity, security, reliability, availability, latency and impact on battery type. 5G will need to be an agile, dynamically programmable network that can meet diverse needs with new, as-a-service models on a single infrastructure. In this Webinar, you will learn how the Open Networking Foundation is combining open source and software defined standards through its Open innovation Pipeline to advance innovative architectures such as mobile CORD (M-CORD). M-CORD is being developed by the CORD Project community under ONF's leadership and hosted by The Linux Foundation. Built on the pillars of SDN, NFV and cloud technologies, the end-to-end M-CORD open reference solution is arming operators with the capabilities needed to start planning for the upcoming 5G transition.