CW: What do you see as the next big step toward cloudification?
FH: I think we as the industry and the service providers probably have to provide more of a forcing function on this. Again, we are in an industry where if a vendor was bringing their VoLTE solution or SD-WAN solution, they would typically bring the whole stack -- hardware, software, features. There was quite a variance in terms of how the different vendors come at this.
In cloud that model doesn't work anymore -- we have to get more prescriptive on what a cloud looks like and then say these are the choices you have and that's it. You have to fit in this environment or you can't play. We need to decide as Vodafone, how many choices should we give them?
There are operational costs involved in the number of different choices we have, so I think what you will see happening across the board, not just with us but with others in the industry is a greater degree of prescriptiveness on the environment and a much more consistent environment. And that will be a function of economics and then getting vendors to move much more quickly to cloud-nativeness. One challenge we have is that if all of our clouds look differently -- that will be a vendor challenge. So we have to make sure that where there is no differentiation to be had, let's make the environment as consistent as possible, that would be good for all of us.
But that environment represents a very aggressive move toward true cloud and true cloud nativeness. So we have a job to do for the vendors and they have a job to do as well.
CW: Are you finding that the open source groups such as ONAP are helping in that process?
FH: I think they are. I think ONAP is. Parts of ONAP are certainly helping in the process.
ONAP needs to be pragmatic and manage the same set of challenges we all do which will be a mixture of VMs, containers and whatever comes after containers.
They are supporting all of it -- it is definitely helping to demonstrate the efficiencies of one over the other, which I think will be a realization for everybody. For example, if we can see and touch and see the differences up close, I think that will help contribute toward this.
It's not a forcing function -- I think ONAP's role is to bring consistency to the overall environment and how we orchestrate and manage versus mandate necessarily true cloud nativeness. That may come.
ONAP needs to be relevant to today's challenges -- managing that hybrid environment. It is definitely helping.
I think the activity we are seeing around Kubernetes, Docker, Rancher -- as they mature we are definitely seeing the developers becoming more confident that that is the platform to aim for.
This is classic in our industry. We hear from different vendors about containers inside VMs, VMs inside containers -- you get the classic engineering debates, it doesn't help our cause. We need to be clear about a small number of environments and this is the direction we need to be going in. This is what cloud nativeness is, I think.
This is what cloud-nativeness is -- no secret, well-defined by the industry.
Here's the challenge: the move for a vendor to being full cloud-native in their portfolio doesn't actually represent a new revenue stream. But it represents the ability to stay in the game.
You generally find in those situations from an R&D funding perspective -- I have to go there to stay relevant -- do I put all my resources there or do I keep adding features overall to that legacy?
That is the debate happening at every vendor that has legacy to be worried about. I think they need to look again at the investments and get there faster. Or else the choices will be limited when it comes to selling. Because the carriers are now defining the environment they sell into, they'll need to get there faster than we see them going.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading