Breaking Through the NFV Fog in 2017
The move to NFV has been underway for several years, and 2017 promises to see this accelerate even further. While service providers are fundamentally unique, there are some guiding principles that can be taken from any discussion of migration to NFV.
Deciding on which project or application to virtualize and in what order will depend on the risk and cost constraints of each provider. Here's a look at some of the issues and approaches service providers face as they decide why and how to embark on their journey to NFV.
The case for NFV is widely accepted, though sometimes misunderstood. A reduction in capital expenditures was long thought to be the largest incentive to pursuing network evolution. The initial premise was that merchant silicon and x86 hardware from white box OEM manufacturers would save tremendously on capital expense. It quickly became apparent this was not the case and that on a cost per bit basis traditional network hardware was cheaper. In the long run, however, the rise of capital expenditures may appear better in a trade-off of operational expenditures as the investments in physical infrastructure can support more customers and services.
Service providers' largest incentive may now come from the possibility of realizing massive operating expense reductions through adoption of new cloud-based and software-defined networking technologies. Service providers now stand on the precipice of achieving the largest leap in service provider networking technology in history. Cloud technologies were founded on the promise of achieving massive scale at extremely reduced costs. By repurposing these technologies into the network, not only do service providers get the ability to elastically scale the capacity on demand but also, achieve new scale and reduce current manpower footprint and inefficient legacy processes.
Many service providers have seen declines in average revenue per user (ARPU) for several years now. Reduced ARPU has led them to run their networks "hotter" by over-utilizing capacity beyond previous standards. At some point, something will have to give, as it will become untenable to sustain this level of service. One of the promises of SDN and NFV is to drive expanded profit margins (and fixed costs) through a reduction in operational expenditures as well as vastly increasing network service agility and speed to realization. This allows service providers to expand their offerings and create new ways to monetize new services.
Now that the case for NFV is established, the next step is understanding the criteria by which to select a project within the network to be migrated to NFV. In our work with service providers, we see two dominant themes emerging:
Once a few inches of that fog has been cleared by accumulated knowledge, we can begin to make course corrections. We will continue to make more small rapid movements, and over time, break through that fog into a network that surpasses the reduced cost and service agility we originally thought possible.
— Mallik Tatipamula, Vice President of Service Provider Solutions, F5 Networks
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On-the-Air Thursdays Digital Audio
ARCHIVED | December 7, 2017, 12pm EST
Orange has been one of the leading proponents of SDN and NFV. In this Telco Transformation radio show, Orange's John Isch provides some perspective on his company's NFV/SDN journey.
Special Huawei Video
Huawei Network Transformation Seminar The adoption of virtualization technology and cloud architectures by telecom network operators is now well underway but there is still a long way to go before the transition to an era of Network Functions Cloudification (NFC) is complete.
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