While software-defined networks (SDN) are one of the cornerstones of network virtualization for carriers, the process can't be rushed, according to Telus Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Ibrahim Gedeon.
Gedeon told Telco Transformation that the pieces needed to be placed in a way that avoided the creation of new silos and artificial boundaries.
In Part II of this Q&A, Gedeon provides an update Telus' work with SDN and what its doing with NFV. In Part I, he spoke about the human element that is also needed in order to enable transform during the virtualization process. (See Telus' Gedeon: SDN Key for Automation of New Functions & Features.)
Telco Transformation: In an interview with Brian Dolby of GTB a while back, you discussed the challenges of timing and synchronization in the evolution of virtualization. You seemed to be saying that these technologies must evolve at their own pace and at the pace dictated by customer demand, but in such a way that they ultimately integrate with each other and become a cohesive end-to-end platform. Is that how you see it?
Ibrahim Gedeon: Yes, you’ve captured that quite well. A big bang approach without a plan to retire legacy services will only result in additional operational costs and replication. The proliferation of DevOps is critical to ensure proper total cost of ownership realization.
TT: What is the status now?
IG: Telus is deploying NFV pods across the country. We’re taking an inside-out approach on infrastructure with the collapse of packet transport and metro architecture, as well as an outside-in approach on services. Our next-generation metro rollout is targeted for 2018 and services were launched earlier in line with your earlier comment about customer demand driving technology evolution.
TT: Are the vendors doing a good job of managing the evolution -- letting things progress without creating silos?
IG: Perhaps to no one's surprise, the non-incumbent vendors are being more innovative and better aligned with our future mode of operation, as they have no revenue streams to protect. What we’re seeing at this point in time is that standards bodies abound, and that consolidation is happening.
Integration remains tricky and software and hardware vendors are re-investing in their business models to stay relevant. I would say there is a lot more work that can be done to avoid creating silos and moving too far down that path. To fully realize the benefits that SDN can bring, a lot more cooperation and sharing of knowledge will need to happen.
TT: What is the relationship for Telus between its SDN and SD-WAN
IG: SDN is a technology that stitches virtualized and physical elements of an end-to-end service together to create customer value. SD-WAN is a service that allows the consumerization of WAN services and brings an Internet buying experience to the customer. SDN is the critical fabric that will connect NFV and enable our vision for 5G.
There's also an overlap of skills between SDN, SD-WAN and NFV that necessitates a single view that should be enforced across the enterprise to ensure that the team can work better together and you can realize cost and effort saving as opposed to being siloed.
— Carl Weinschenk, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation