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Carrier Network Virtualization Awards

Awards-Logo-300x235

Congratulations to the 2014 Award Winners!

 

The Carrier Network Virtualization Awards took place last week. See the winners and award categories below:

SDN Innovation of the Year
Award Winner – CienaCiena-300x100

The “SDN Innovation” award aims to recognise a truly commendable company making a significant impact in the SDN industry, providing best practice for existing and future SDN players and setting an inspirational standard for the industry to follow.

NFV Innovation of the Year
Award Winner – Wind River – Read Wind River’s Press Announcement
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The “NFV Innovation of the Year” award is open to companies capable of demonstrating that they have made a significant impact in facilitating the development of the NFV market over the last year, through devising an innovative NFV Proof of Concept or introducing a new service which will help to revolutionise the market, removing barriers and helping to make technology virtualization a reality.

Carrier of the Year
Award Winner – AT&Tatt-300x144

The “Carrier of the Year” award aims to recognize a prominent carrier capable of demonstrating that it has made a significant impact in facilitating the development of the SDN and NFV, both through its own internal operations and its relationships with other carriers and vendor partners. A central aim of this company should be to support and encourage the growth of the SDN and NFV industry worldwide.

Solution Provider of the Year
Award Winner – HPHP_Blue_RGB_150_MX-NEW-300x300

The “Solution Provider of the Year” Award is granted to a company that, acting as a technology vendor within the SDN and NFV market, is capable of demonstrating that they have made a significant impact in facilitating the development of the SDN/NFV market by working constructively with carriers, enterprise players, developers and fellow industry partners to support the creation of practical SDN/NFV services which will benefit the industry as a whole.

NFV Phase 2 begins: new leadership, organization, and renewed focus on implementation

By Marc Cohn, Ciena Corporation

While much of the country was coping with sub-freezing temperatures, the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG) convened its 8th and final meeting under its original charter in the desert sunshine in Scottsdale. Intel graciously hosted the meeting, arranging excellent accommodations and hospitality throughout the week.

NFV #8 attendees were treated to a private rodeo by NFV #8 host Intel

NFV #8 attendees were treated to a private rodeo by NFV #8 host Intel

NFV #8 was the first U.S. NFV ISG meeting held outside of Silicon Valley, with no drop off in interest:

  • Number of operators: 37
  • Total number of organizations: 245
  • Number of individuals on the mailing list: > 1,200

After taking the industry by storm (literally)- attendees will never forget the unexpected and rare snowfall in the Cote d’Azur at the very first meeting of the ISG (February, 2013)- NFV Phase 1 successfully concluded, with the ISG achieving its stated objectives and defined work program. In recognition, parties sprung up by most working groups to celebrate their success.

“Operator participants are extremely pleased with the outcomes of NFV Phase 1”, stated Don Clarke (CableLabs), Chair of the Network Operator’s Council. “Few of us could have anticipated how fast this initiative would grow and how influential it would become. As we enter Phase 2, operators’ expectations continue to rise. We are very conscious of the fact that vendors are investing significant resources to develop NFV capability. It is therefore very important to stay focused and maintain our momentum to create opportunities for NFV deployment.”

NFV operators have every right to be proud, as NFV has literally redefined the ground rules for telecommunications technology adoption by:

  • Avoiding the temptation to create new standards- the ISG instead worked to influence existing and emerging SDOs and open source projects
  • Highly collaborative engagement model:
    o Among operators, some of whom are fierce competitors
    o Between operators and vendors
  • Reinventing itself as needed to adapt to the challenges at hand
  • Adopting a pragmatic approach that emphasizes progress over completeness and implementations over technical elegance
  • Capitalizing on a familiar and well-established administrative model that permitted the ISG to concentrate on progress vs. process

ETSI Director General Luis Jorge Romero commented “We are pleased that ETSI could enable the groundbreaking NFV ISG, which successfully forged an innovative standardization cooperation model, built upon assertive goals, pragmatism, lightweight process, and unprecedented collaboration. We applaud the ISG’s phenomenal accomplishments to date and believe that the NFV ISG is already influencing the entire industry.”

After months of planning, guided by the incoming ISG leadership elected at the prior meeting in July, the NFV Phase 2 work program commenced with a general agreement on the objectives and work scope:

  • Grow an interoperable VNF Ecosystem
  • Thoroughly specify reference points and requirements defined in Phase 1
  • Achieve broader industry engagement to ensure that NFV requirements are satisfied
  • Clarify how NFV intersects with SDN and related standards, industry, and open source initiatives

Steven Wright (AT&T), presiding over his first meeting since being elected Chair of the ETSI NFV ISG observed “I remain encouraged by the elevated enthusiasm by operators and partners alike. The NFV community that we have fostered has never been more robust. While we have challenges to overcome, broad industry participation has resulted in a healthy debate on our Phase 2 plans, which are converging as expected.”

In Phase 2, the ISG agreed to disband the existing NFV ISG Working Groups, and approved a new leaner working group structure better suited to the goals for Phase 2. While a healthy debate unfolded regarding the detailed Phase 2 scope and working group inter-relationships, a general consensus emerged, and the work began immediately.

The new working groups will focus less on requirements and more on adoption. Among the key areas that will be addressed include:

  • The ‘ilities’: Stability, Interoperability, Reliability, Availability, Maintainability
  • Intensified collaboration with other bodies
  • Testing and validation to encourage interoperability and solidify implementations
  • Establishment of a vibrant NFV ecosystem
  • Performance and assurance considerations
  • Continued attention to network management and operations, which is of particular interest to
    the Network Operators Council
  • Security

The ISG also elected new technical leaders to guide the NFV technical agenda. Diego Lopez (Telefonica) was re-elected as the Technical Manager, and Joan Triay (DOCOMO) was elected Assistant Technical Manager, succeeding Tetsuya Nakamura (DOCOMO), who was recently elected Vice-Chair of the NFV ISG. Working group leadership will be elected at the next plenary meeting (NFV #9), scheduled for Prague in late February.

“I am pleased that the ISG reiterated their confidence in me as we approach NFV Phase 2”, commented Diego Lopez, Technical Manager for the ISG. “As our goals shift towards implementation and adoption, we will need more detailed specifications, and address functional gaps of the standards we adopt. In order to achieve our goals, it is critical that our working groups remain focused, operate with lightweight processes, and strive for interoperability in everything that we do.”

As the ISG made a seamless transition, with a renewed charter, new leadership, and updated working group structure, the ISG has been energized to pave the way to adoption. Two years of use case assessment and prioritization, requirements analysis, architecture definition, document alignment, and countless conference calls, meetings, and drafts have resulted in a solid baseline for Phase 2.

Tetsuya Nakamura, ETSI NFV ISG Vice-Chair, stated “I am thrilled about the progress we made on the technical baseline in Phase 1, which required a great deal of collaboration and effort. Congratulations to all contributors for their commitment, dedication, and hard work without which, the leap to Phase 2 would not be possible.” Fittingly, Tetsuya, along with Michael Brenner (Alcatel Lucent), Joan Triay (DOCOMO), and Frank Zdarsky (NEC) were recognized by the ISG leadership with a special award for their outstanding contributions to Phase 1.

ETSI NFV ISG Chair Steven Wright recognized Tetsuya Nakamura, NFV ISG Vice Chair for outstanding contributions in NFV Phase 1

ETSI NFV ISG Chair Steven Wright recognized Tetsuya Nakamura, NFV ISG Vice Chair for outstanding contributions in NFV Phase 1

Given the accomplishments in Phase 1, there is increasing optimism that the ETSI NFV ISG will achieve its lofty goal to radically transform the entire telecommunications industry. 2015 is shaping up to be the year of the trial, leveraging over 25 Proof of Concepts, visible strides in product development, and leading edge operators planning for initial deployments.

Interview: Phil Braden, PCCW Global

Phil BradenPhil Braden, Senior Vice President, Technology and Applications, PCCW Global, Hong Kong

Phil will be speaking at Carrier Network Virtualization 2014 on Wednesday, December 10 at Crowne Plaza Palo Alto. Click here to download the full agenda.

 
What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in carrier networks to date?
I would say that AT&T’s “Domain 2.0” announcement had a very significant impact on the progress of SDN and NFV in carrier networks as it has signaled that the big telco players are seriously seeking innovative approaches to network management and operation. That being said – the actual developments in SDN still lag behind and attempt to implement a Data-Centre solution on a Carrier network, which obviously operates in a different environment. Now it is time for SDN to seek an innovative approach and adapt the earlier, Data-Center centric, models to innovative models that match the Carrier environments. NFV, on the other hand, is progressing nicely and is already implemented in certain parts of the network.

 
Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN & NFV this year as you would like?
SDN adoption lags behind in the carrier networks due to its inapplicability to the Carrier network environment. Now it is time for SDN to seek an innovative approach and adapt the earlier, Data-Center centric, models to innovative models that match the Carrier environments: Long latency, Lack of diversity, High cost of transmission, High port-density, Reliability. NFV, on the other hand, is progressing nicely and is already implemented in certain parts of the network.

 
How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN & NFV at present?
PCCW Global is an active participant in several industry SDOs such as MEF, ONF, ETSI-NFV. Through our participation we voice the need to make SDN more carrier-friendly, more agnostic to protocols and more process orientated. We trust standardized APIs are key to allow SDN to evolve from a Data-Centre application into Network-Programmability framework.

 
What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN & NFV at present and how can they be overcome?
SDN, at present, is still focused on device management, debating OpenFlow vs. NetConf/YANG and others. With a strong drive from white-label HW manufacturers. This model does not address the needs of Carrier networks. Not because it is a bad model, but because it is based on assumptions that were good for the environment where SDN and NFV were conceived: The Data-Centre. In the DC distances (and latency) are short, bandwidth cost is negligible, diversity is easy to implement and resiliency is obtained through stocks of failover devices readily available.

Carrier Networks operate in an entirely different environment where distances are vast, latency is high, diversity is difficult (and expensive) to establish, bandwidth is a significant element of cost, port-densities are very high and device resiliency is a key factor. Thus – carriers tend to stick with their incumbent hardware suppliers that provide devices that have proven track records of survivability, built in resiliency, high port densities and RISC processors that are designed for the sole purpose of pushing packets and frames from one port to another.

SDN must evolve from a Device/Controller paradigm into a Platform/Controller paradigm, and must become agnostic to the SouthBound interface through which the Controller interfaces with the Platform – Be that OpenFlow or NetConf or YANG or others. This will also require an evolution from managing single devices, one by one, towards managing an entire platform or an entire network. The SDN model will need to evolve from the initial three-plane model (Application-Control-Data) into a multi-plane model that includes parts of the device-OS (provided by the HW manufacturer), an Abstraction layer (that represents the vendors-specific hardware and transport resources as abstracted and vendor agnostic resources), a resource catalogue layer (that represents the network resources to higher layers) a Virtualization layer (that assembles network resources into virtual service instances) and a controller that is closer to being an OSS than the current SDN controllers in the market.

NFV is actually progressing nicely. Its applicability in a carrier network is limited because Carrier network gear typically revolves around switching and pushing packets from one port to another. Storage, Applications and processing (other than packet forwarding) are absent from the core of the carrier network. On the edge of the network, however, and at the customer premises, NFV already plays a nice role: Smart CPEs on one side (acting as a mix of router/firewall/VoIP switch) and CPE-elimination on the other side (migrating the functionality of the CPE to a VNF on the Provider-Edge).

 
Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised and why?
Our pain-point is Network-Programmability, and that is where we want to see progress. NFV on the CPE is in the right direction and we would want to see more applications there, hopefully standardized.

 
What are your expectations for the development of SDN and Virtualization in carrier networks in the coming years?
The industry, as a whole, is shifting its efforts towards automation. Managing networks manually is getting out of hand, and new applications and the growth in use of mobile data create a need for on-demand managed services. SDN and NFV are the primary enablers of network automation as they allow configuration and activation of services through software rather than through manual processes. We expect to see SDN evolve to become orchestrated, application aware, Situation-aware, agnostic to SB interface type and capable of interfacing with neighbour controllers for the realization of multi-platform services. This requires shift in efforts of the SDOs from writing code (be that open-source or proprietary) towards defining information models and specifying APIs. It then becomes the role of the hardware and software vendors to adapt their systems to the standardized information models and create APIs per specs.

Which companies do you most admire in the SDN space?
PCCW Global has identified tail-f as an important player that can bridge legacy and innovative platforms. We were not surprised to see it being acquired by a major player, and we think the HW vendors that have initiated a software line of products (e.g. Cisco with tail-f and their own home-grown projects, ALU with Nuage, Ericsson with Telcordia) are worth looking at, as the SDN space as we know it will need to shift closer to the OSS, and the OSS will need to interface closely with the network gear. In addition to that I will also watch companies developing orchestration solutions, especially those who offer expertise in process analysis and information modeling, as they may become critical elements in the migration of carriers from traditional, legacy, network environments towards programmability.

Interview: Ravinder Shergill, Telus

Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus, Canada

Ravinder-ShergillRavinder Shergill is the Chief IP Architect responsible for Technology Strategy, overall IP Network Architecture and Governance for IP networks at TELUS Communications Inc. In this role, he is prime for the roadmap and evolution of the Converged IP/MPLS Core and the Converged IP/Ethernet Metro and Edge networks that deliver business, consumer and partner services across both; wire-line and wireless access networks.

 

Ravinder will be speaking at Carrier Network Virtualization 2014 on Tuesday, December 9 at the SDx Summit, Crowne Plaza Palo Alto. Click here to download the full agenda.

What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in carrier networks to date?

Industry Collaboration between Operators, Standards bodies and Vendors. Open Platform NFV has the greatest potential, provided everyone plays nice between incumbents & whitebox suppliers.

Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN & NFV this year as you would like?

Early case studies in the industry are promising, but these tend to be simpler given the risk with any new technologies. There could always be more progress, but being a realist the pace of progress is about what I expected.

How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN & NFV at present?

POCs from past year are moving to trial. New POCs are being assessed. Industry events participation is also an important contribution.

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN & NFV at present and how can they be overcome?

Operational Model for the new World order the embraces NFV & SDN. Furthermore, clarity of use cases and the realization of their direct benefits to the Operator.

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised and why?

Data Centres are a fertile ground for initial use cases because projected growth warrants a more scalable approach than business-as-usual.

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and Virtualization in carrier networks in the coming years?

More successful early deployments will help increase confidence of fast followers. Standard solutions that are modular & easy to replicate will be winners.

Which companies do you most admire in the SDN space?

Ones that are Innovative and Open in the spirit of putting their Customers First.

Interview with Ampai Pornprasertsakul, Deputy Director, True Corporation, Thailand

Ampai PornprasertsakulIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Ampai Pornprasertsakul, Deputy Director at True Corporation in Thailand, to find out more about her perspective on SDN and NFV in 2014.

Ampai, welcome. What are your impressions of SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?
AP: “Telecom operations are still in the process of exploring the SDN and NFV capability and impact. The realization is it is coming, and that we shall all need to prepare for it.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?
AP: “The biggest hurdles that remain are how best to implement SDN and NFV, how to determine the biggest benefits we can get from them, working out how this new technology will impact our existing network, and what exactly the implementation costs will be.  We also need to know how best to integrate SDN with network equipment, VAS and IT systems.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?
AP: “Personally, I think that VAS (Value Added Services) should be prioritised first for virtualization. The reasons for this are the high feasibility of implementation in this area, and that VAS has less impact on key services. I believe that less mission-critical services should be tested first.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?
AP: “In coming years, I foresee that SDN and Virtualization will continue towards full network implementation. Eventually, I anticipate the integration of network, VAS and IT systems as one.”

Where Will These Top Carrier SDN Vendors Be One Year From Now?

Last August, Craig Matsumoto of Light Reading posted his listing of the Top 10 Carrier SDN Vendors, admitting “Picking a ‘Top 10’ in software-defined networking (SDN) is a dangerous business, because the whole sector is in flux.” Six months later, how are those ten (actually 11, with OpenDaylight) picks faring?

1. OpenDaylight. Although not an independent vendor, OpenDaylight opens the list because it is a “community-led, open, industry-supported framework, for accelerating adoption, fostering new innovation, reducing risk and creating a more transparent approach to Software-Defined Networking…OpenDaylight is structured using open source development best practices, and is comprised of the leading organizations in the technology industry.”

When OpenDaylight started, it only had two open-source projects. Now, it has sixteen. Thanks to OpenDaylight software-defined networking, rivals and users are being brought together by open source and creating software-defined networking for everyone.

2. VMware/Nicira. A little over a year after the Nicira acquisition, VMware announced its network virtualization platform called NSX whose goal is to enable users to deploy a virtual network for an application at the same speed and operational efficiency as a virtual machine. In addition, VMware announced multiple program enhancements at the VMware Partner Exchange 2014. So it’s safe to say that VMware is still in the game.

3. Juniper/Contrail. Despite one story reporting trouble with the introduction of Contrail to Juniper’s engineering team earlier this year, Juniper continues to position itself to introduce the new approach needed for management, provisioning and maintenance of connections as companies push infrastructure to “hyperscale levels” in anticipation of Big Data, mobile traffic and advanced sync/sharing services. Juniper marketing director Steve Shaw said, “With physical networks simply incapable of handling such a dynamic load, enterprises will find that SDN is necessary, regardless of the long-term ROI.” And Juniper intends to be a part of that.

4. ConteXtream.  In addition to joining the OpenDaylight project, the company collaborated with Cisco Systems to contribute a LISP-based mapping service to the open source SDN project OpenDaylight that enables the federation of SDN controllers across a WAN. Obviously, ConteXtream is still a player.

5. Big Switch Networks. Early on, Big Switch Networks dropped out of its leadership position in the OpenDaylight Project due to, among other things, concerns with Cisco over whose technology would form the foundation of an OpenDaylight SDN controller. Now Big Switch Network reports that it is ready to embark on a new chapter after rebooting its business late last summer.

6. Cyan. Cyan recently announced that its Blue Planet SDN Platform and Z-Series packet-optical hardware have been selected by the Jeollanam-Do province in South Korea. This will be deployed together with partner Telefield with the new network delivering e-government applications in support of the two million citizens living in the province.

7. Alcatel-Lucent/Nuage. In January,  Nuage Networks announced that UPMC selected its software-defined networking platform for deployment in their backup network. Once the staging and verification are deemed successful, UPMC will begin a multi-year transition to Nuage Networks solutions for the rest of its datacenter network infrastructure to support the increased demand from employees, patients, hospitals, and healthcare insurers.

8. Cisco/Insieme. Cisco Systems has been consistently labeled as a late adopter of SDN, but between its “spin-in” with Insieme Networks, unveiling its Application-Centric Infrastructure last November and now the investment of $6 million in Embrane, Cisco is positioning itself for the leadership position once more.

9. Plexxi. Plexxi is still in the news, and has contributed to articles and information for OpenDaylight, but there doesn’t seem to be anything new in the way of product changes or launches.

10. Ciena. Ciena is a Silver-level member of the OpenDaylight Project and active contributor to the OpenDaylight code base. In addition, Ciena reports that it is working closely with their customers to understand the widespread implications of SDN on their existing and future networks. According to a recent interview, one of Ciena’s SDN experts Marc Cohn said, “Parts of our SDN portfolio, such as our V-WAN, are already shipping, and many of our customers have expressed interest in the OpenDaylight framework. As a result Ciena has been closely investigating the potential application of the OpenDaylight framework for future products. Ciena has not yet announced our SDN product plans in this area, but we expect to soon.”

11. Brocade/Vyatta. The Stargate Group, an Australian application service provider (ASP) to the mortgage finance sector, announced on February 12 that it “has taken its first step toward applying software-defined networking (SDN) to its operations with the deployment of Brocade® NetIron® CER 2000 Ethernet/MPLS routers.” And earlier in February, Brocade today introduced the rollout of an enhanced channel program, including a new component specifically designed for software networking partners.

For more information, see Mind Commerce at www.MindCommerce.com

 

January 2014 bulletin

HappynewyearHappy new year to all our followers!

The main SDN and NFV buzzwords for 2014? We predict: Simplicity, Capability, Speed, Openness and (most importantly) Value For Money!

It’s certainly a bright new year in many ways, in which we are likely to see a whole raft of new virtualization ideas and deployments coming through.

There has been much discussion surrounding SDN and NFV developments in the last few weeks. At the Carrier Network Virtualization conference and exhibition in Palo Alto on 9-11 December, valuable discussion ensued around the future pathway of network virtualization, now that so many possibilities are emerging. A very popular White Box panel asked, can you now tell the difference between a White Box switch by an ODM and one bought from a large traditional vendor? In terms of performance, it is argued that it is very often no longer possible. However, in terms of support around the product, many still prefer the aftercare attention and extra resources provided by established vendors. Yet as the ODMs begin to increase in size and scope, a similar level of aftercare might one day also be available from them. Several new players asserted in discussion that moving away from the established vendors would make way for much more creativity in terms of how technology is used… Only time will tell as to how many operators make that jump.

2014 also marks the final year of the ETSI NFV ISG project in its current form. They have already achieved a great deal, but now the focus will be on drawing their work towards a conclusion which will help to shape the future of the industry. Definitely one to watch…

Meanwhile, the four-day Network Virtualization & SDN World event take places across four days in London on 27-30 May 2014, featuring an API Forum, SDN Summit, many SDN and NFV case studies and over 60 speakers. The brochure is due to be launched in 2-3 weeks’ time.  To find out more and to apply to take part, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com or contact Owen.Lochner@informa.com for information on sponsorship and exhibiting.

Please find below a round-up of other news we’ve spotted this month…

Wishing you all a happy and healthy year ahead,

Georgina Wilczek, Editor, SDNWorldNews.com

In the News:

The Industry’s Top Five Movers and Shakers for 2014

What to Watch in 2014

SDN Still Failing to Spark Interest in Europe

Plans for the first OpenDaylight Summit take shape

A Look At Cisco’s SDN Future

SDN Will Never Happen, SaysVMware Exec 

What Makes an Open Source Project Successful

NFV Said to SDN: “I’ll Be There For You”

Interview with Francisco-Javier Ramón Salguero, Telefónica

Francisco Javier Ramon SalgueroIn advance of Carrier Network Virtualization, taking place on 9-11 December 2013 in Palo Alto, California, we caught up with Francisco-Javier Ramón Salguero, Head of Network Virtualization, Telefonica GCTO, Spain, and Chair of the PER Expert Group, ETSI NFV ISG, to find out his thoughts on the growth of SDN and NFV and Telefonica’s plans for the future….

Francisco-Javier, welcome. What are you most looking forward to about Informa’s Carrier Network Virtualization event? 

FJRS: “This event is an excellent opportunity to share views with Industry and with other telcos and to know their first experiences and key progresses.”

Why is the idea of SDN and NFV suddenly taking off now? Why all the fuss?

FJRS: “The need for building a “future-proof network”, built to support a long-term strategic vision and flexible enough to allow for changing requirements, is a common wish for Telco operators.

“The digital world requires both flexibility and agility, and SDN and NFV hold the potential to transform telco networks substantially in this way for the better. This is the reason why the idea of SDN and NFV are being so popular today. Both of them are ideas that telcos have been waiting for a long time.”

Whereabouts in telco networks do you see that SDN and NFV will be of the greatest benefit? Where will we see the first deployments?”

FJRS: “The application of network virtualization can address two fronts. On the one hand, matching with other industry players in those environments where virtualization technologies are already part of the state of the art. Two examples are using SDN technology in telco data centers and using network functions virtualization in those functions intensively associated with the control plane. Network functions that could be first virtualized are those most associated with network intelligence and service platforms (eg IMS, SDP, DNS, UDB, etc.), as they are essentially datacenter-like workloads in our current networks.

“On the other hand, Telco Industry can act as a leader, using virtualization technologies to develop use cases on favourable terms from our competitors. This requires the ability to virtualise network functions that can deal also with the data plane, which is one of our peculiarities (in the end of the day, operator’s business is often based in transporting information). These network features are those normally associated with the IP Edge and the point of presence in general (BRAS, GGSN , SBC , P-GW , etc).”

Are there still any major hurdles you see which SDN and NFV have to conquer before adoption can become widespread? If so, what are they and how should they be resolved?

FJRS: “One of the major challenges of Network Virtualisation (SDN + NFV) is precisely to free the network of the rigidity imposed by physical infrastructure. To achieve this, the idea through NFV is to define a common layer of general-purpose hardware which is ready to support network functions completely defined by software.

“Once a network functionality can be completely defined by software, it is possible to use virtualisation technologies for packaging each network function in one or more virtual machines and decide in which server deploy them.

“However, as simple as it sounds, it is far from being a trivial process. Not everything looks alike to the traditional cloud computing. Allocation of hardware resources for a virtual machine needs to be more careful to assure a high and predictable performance. The challenge of this innovation is just this, to be able to maintain the performance when network functions are purely software. Currently, a number of advances in general-purpose hardware have increased by an order of magnitude the performance, so this is something feasible but still needs to be matured.”

What kind of timescale are we looking at until SDN and NFV become more commonplace in carrier networks across the world?

FJRS: “Only a few companies have commercial products which allow conceive specific parts of the network using these technologies. Almost all the equipment manufacturers are still at testing phases, announcing that NFV products will be launched soon.

“As it stands at the moment, SDN is already something real, implemented and deployed in the world of the major OTTs (like Google), while the Telcos are some way behind. Meanwhile, NFV developments, which arrived on the scene more recently, are still in a pre-commercial phase, with the first rollouts expected sometime 2014.

“Another challenge is that the operators already have a huge number of traditional nodes deployed which are will not be replaced by “commoditised” hardware overnight. That is why consideration is being given to hybrid models, which virtualise some network elements and incorporate the advantages of SDN to improve management. All this transformation is a process that will take years.”

What are your own company’s plans for deploying SDN and NFV?

FJRS: “At this moment, we are working in a trial in Brazil to virtualise part of the equipment installed at customer premises (router, cable TV decoder, etc.), in a concept that we call vCPE (virtualised Customer Premises Equipment). This trial is the result of a prototype developed by Telefónica I+D, with contributions and integration by NEC. The solution makes possible that higher layers functions can be shifted from the client premises to the operator’s network.

“We expect this pilot experience will help us prove the viability of this technology and enable us to implement rollouts in a more flexible and reliable way, obtaining low operating costs.”

What do you expect will be the defining trends within the industry in 2014?

FJRS: “There are numerous experiences being carried out both in the SDN field and in NFV in European, Asian and North American operators. However, it is still unclear when these operators will feel ready to deploy them massively in their network and what are the kind of investments they will need to make. What is clear is the need to work together in the industry (telcos and manufacturers) to define the specific requirements of the networks to ensure that these technologies provide the adequate maturity to support commercial rollouts.

“Manufacturers and telcos alike agree on the need to have a network which is much more flexible and mouldable, and which can be controlled as a whole. Major rollouts are expected to begin in 2015 and 2016, although it is very likely that the first rollouts will be seen sometime in 2014.”

Francisco-Javier will be speaking more about Telefonica’s plans for SDN and NFV on Wednesday morning as part of Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto, California, 9-11 December 2013.

For further information, please visit www.carriernetworkvirtualization.com.

Speaker Interview: Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus, Canada

Ravinder ShergillWith Carrier Network Virtualization just around the corner, we caught up with another of the show’s speakers, Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect from Telus, Canada. Here are a few of his thoughts on the nature and growth of the NFV and SDN industries in 2013/4: 

RS: “We’re living during exciting times, with the opportunity to effect technological innovations for years, and perhaps decades to come.

“With incredible data growth and significance of cloudification, business as usual will not suffice. New and innovative models must be explored, and SDN and NFV hold the promise of such potential. First solution sets are targeted at the Data Center environment, and the greatest opportunity lies there. However, the opportunities landscape is much broader.

“The SDN and NFV eco-system is currently in transition, but as the roadmaps and the standards solidify, it will pave the way for easier acceptance

“Small adoptions, perhaps as pilots, are imminent, but broad deployments are further away, perhaps even 5 years out. As the SDN and NFV eco-system develops, this will pave the way for gaining traction in the industry. While there has been good progress in 2013, there is a long journey ahead.

“At Telus, we are now at the Proof-of-Concept stage, and the outcomes of these will determine our future plans.”

You can hear more about Telus’ ideas and plans regarding SDN and NFV at Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto on 9-11 December 2013. For further information, please visit www.carriernetworkvirtualization.com 

Interview with Shazia Hasnie, Senior Director, Network Architecture and Strategy, Megapath, USA

Shazia Hasnie-2012Informa’s Carrier Network Virtualization conference and exhibition in Palo Alto, USA on 9-11 December 2013 is now only two weeks away. In advance of the show,  we caught up with Shazia Hasnie, Senior Director, Network Architecture and Strategy, Megapath, USA, to find out her thoughts on the growth of SDN and NFV and her expectations for the industry’s future…

Shazia, welcome. Why do you think the idea of SDN and NFV is suddenly taking off?

SH: “Cloud computing has put tremendous pressure on network connectivity to be dynamically scalable and virtualized. In cloud data center environment, the concept of resource pooling with the ability to dynamically control physical and virtual resources is key. Compute and storage to a large extent have been evolved to be virtualized and pooled resources. However, the network remains static and hence presents a bottleneck. In cloud data center environment, networks need to be agile and virtualized and NFV/SDN provides a way to achieve that.

“SDN has promise in the carrier network environment as well. According to the resent Cisco Visual Networking Index survey, the annual global IP traffic will surpass the zettabyte threshold by the end of 2017. This is a lot of traffic to handle which translates to an ever increasing requirement to augment network capacity. To complicate the matters further, carriers have no automated mechanisms to orchestrate the stranded capacity on its circuits to other customers, who may need it. Hence, this expensive resource remains unutilized.

“Thus, CapEx and OpEx to operate telecom networks are enormous while revenue remains largely decoupled from the cost of architecting, scaling and operating today’s networks. Furthermore, the revenue generating services take several weeks to be created, provisioned and activated on these networks.

“The reason the idea of SDN and NFV is taking off is because it is a much needed concept for both telecom carriers and cloud operators. SDN and NFV present the concept of architecting these networks on low cost COTs hardware while the control of network functions remains in a logically centralized and directly programmable software domain.

2) Whereabouts in Telco networks do you see that SDN and NFV will be of the greatest benefit? Where will we see the first deployments?

SH: “Complete abstraction of control layer from the underlying hardware would take a few years at its best to take place. In the meanwhile, a subset of benefits of SDN would be realized in a software defined service layer. Thus, OSS/ BSS systems in a telco network would most likely be the first to get logically centralized and programmable via a service automation and orchestration layer. This software defined service orchestration layer may interface with the existing OSS/BSS systems and provide an integrated and logically centralized view and control of the network. The other area where SDN and NFV concept would take off in telco networks would be the network edge.

“Most likely, tier 1 operators, globally, will be the early adopters of the SDN technology.”

3) Are there still any major hurdles you see which SDN and NFV have to conquer before adoption can become widespread? If so, what are they and how should they be resolved?

SH: “SDN and NFV technologies are very nascent. There are many pieces of the puzzle which are not in place yet.

“SDN / NFV environment would be composed of physical and virtual resources. Network virtualization poses a great challenge to network state management. Live workload migration and dynamic resource allocation are core concepts of the virtualization technology. However, during the migration, network connectivity, configuration, ACLs, and QoS/CoS should remain consistent and intact. In order to manage server virtualization along with network virtualization, sophisticated management and troubleshooting solutions would be required.

“The existing (non-SDN) networks are here to stay for a long time to come. As an intermediate step, we require multi-vendor service automation and orchestration platforms to provide SDN like capabilities to the existing networks without actual abstraction of control plane from the forwarding plane.

“Also, OpenFlow needs to mature in terms of its switch configuration protocol (OF-Config), extension to optical transport and definition of an open, standardized northbound API.

“Boundary or interface functions are needed to be defined to interface SDN controllers not only to other SDN controllers and domains but also to legacy IP networks.

“SDN would require application-aware routing. The routing / control software that SDN applications would require for advanced functionalities is not ready yet. The IETF I2RS working group was formed in November 2012 to address this problem for the existing distributed routing architecture. The I2RS would allow applications to dynamically modify routing decisions on the basis of application requirements keeping in view the network events, topology and traffic conditions.

“The carrier grade performance in a virtualized networking environment raises some questions and concerns. When complex network functions are running at the software layer, the CPU performance becomes critical. Performance of the current general purpose multicore processors may not fit the bill. New and innovative solutions would be needed to accelerate the performance of these processors.”

4) What kind of timescale are we looking at until SDN and NFV become more commonplace in carrier networks across the world?

“SDN and NFV present a paradigm shift in how networks are constructed and operated today. However, many tier 1 operators are trialing SDN in targeted domains for specific applications. It is given that the existing infrastructure would remain in place for a long time to come while operators strategize to adopt SDN and NFV concepts fully.

“If current state of affairs in the industry is any indication, it can be reasoned that the wider adoption of the technology by telecom carriers would lag behind the wider adoption by data centers at least by a couple of years. However, telecom carriers in general are very aware that their future network architecture would be substantially different from their current architecture.

“It took approximately six years for server virtualization market to grow from 0 to approx. $1B. SDN / NFV adoption would be considerably accelerated then that. A recent report published by Transparency Market Research claims that the global SDN market is expected to reach $3.5B by 2018.”

5) What are your own company’s plans for deploying SDN and NFV?

SH: “Being first to market may not always prove to be prudent. We have to time it right and understand when the adoption of this new technology would add most value to our business and add competitive advantage and differentiation. We are currently in an exploratory phase and doing technical due diligence and impact analysis while formulating our business case. We are interviewing vendors. In our vendor selection, we would prefer a vendor who is committed to open standards, who is very involved in the standardization process and investing in R&D.”

6) What do you expect will be the defining trends within the industry in 2014?

SH: “I believe that enterprises, cloud service providers and data center operators will predominantly drive the SDN market in 2014.

“Cloud computing paradigm is not complete without network being virtualized along with server and storage virtualization. Thus, cloud computing would continue to drive virtualized overlay network technology in the data center environment for its own survival. These overlay network virtualization technologies would continue to be developed and adopted by data center and cloud computing sector.

“However, in the telecom operators’ world, the two key areas would be the virtualization of the network edge and software defined service orchestration also known as OSS/BSS virtualization. The top tier telecom operators, globally, would continue to trial and start to deploy SDN technology for specific use cases, mainly focused around the two key areas mentioned above.

“The mobile network operators would focus on their core and metro networks first, before moving on to RAN for virtualization. An industry survey published by Informa telecoms and media earlier this year showed that approx. 93% of the respondents from mobile operators’ space expect SDN to be implemented in their network in the next 1 to 5 years.

“SDN is colossally disruptive and if the past is any indication of the future, it would enable new vendors and competitors to enter into the arena. Additionally, many channel partner programs will most likely emerge in 2014.

Shazia Hasnie is Senior Director for Network Architecture and Strategy at MegaPath, based in San Jose, California. Being a subject matter expert, she has spoken on the topics of SDN and NFV at various industry events. Shazia has more than 14 years of post-doctoral experience and broad-based expertise in engineering research and innovation, technology and business strategy and management. She holds a Ph.D. in Telecommunications Engineering from the Australian National University.

She will be speaking on SDN and NFV at Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto on 9-11 December 2013.

For further information, please visit www.carriernetworkvirtualization.com