For the most part, NFV has been like a once-in-a-generation draft pick in sports: untapped potential, game-changing abilities and the promise of a bright future. But unlike Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, in reality NFV has been slow to develop and, in baseball parlance, unable to hit the curveball.
For the past three years, the OPNFV Project has been championing the cause of developing NFV components for open source ecosystems. NFV, which seemed to stall out a bit last year, has proved to be more difficult to deploy than first envisioned, which has led to some industry detractors. (See Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote and Time for a Telecom Reboot.)
But in a Heavy Reading survey for OPNFV that was presented during the OPNFV Summit in Beijing this week, most of the carriers responded that they were keeping the faith.
In that survey, 98% of the respondents were either somewhat or very satisfied that OPNFV was delivering on its promise to help accelerate open source NFV adoption. The top expected benefits of OPNFV's handiwork included easier integration and more rapid NFV deployment, respectively.
But while the survey respondents were pleased with OPNFV in general, the particulars of how it will drive NFV forward were fragmented. When the 98 survey respondents were asked what the most important thing OPNFV was doing right now was, the clear winner was providing VNF interoperability testing on different NFVi platforms (26%), followed by, in rank order, promoting network operator interest in upstream projects (19.8%), providing testing facilities (10.4%), providing end-to-end functional and system testing (10.4%), developing reference stacks (8.3%), getting involved with MANO (7.3%), providing performance test suites (3.1%) and prototyping and incubating new NFV features (3.1%.)
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Carriers have been frustrated that vendors have failed to "normalize" VNFs
because they have to configure, test and scale each vendor's VNF. (See AT&T's Rice: Industry Needs to Normalize VNFs
When asked what the biggest barrier to NFV adoption was to date 27.8% cited interoperability between the core infrastructure platform and VNFs followed by maturity of MANO software and OSS/BSS integration at 16.5%.
When it came to executing their respective NFV strategies, the results were more hopeful with 29.9% responding they were in the process of doing so, 24.7% saying they were in proof of concept or testing stages and 22.7% in production deployment with NFV. On the flip side, 16.5% have come up with an NFV strategy but haven't started executing it, while 7.2% of the respondents didn't have a plan in place for NFV.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation