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Archive for the ‘Carrier Network Virtualization’ Category

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.

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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

 

SDN Bulletin: October 2013

bbwfIt’s been a busy month full of industry meetings, the most recent of which was the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam last week.

Marc Cohn, Chair of the Market Education Committee for the ONF, highlighted an interesting differentiator between SDN and NFV, in that SDN can provide considerable OPEX savings for telcos and carriers, while Virtualization holds more promise for lowering CAPEX. Together, SDN and NFV hold the potential to transform telco networks substantially for the better, but monetisation will always be the greatest driver for change.

Meanwhile, Antonio Manzalini from Telecom Italia put forward a positive assessment of the continuing growth of the SDN and NFV markets, stating, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear and weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life” – if applied successfully, this could well be the case for both technologies in 20 years’ time.

Don Clarke from BT, Chair of the Network Operator Council for ETSI NFV ISG, also gave a valuable update on the ETSI group’s activities to date and outlining their plans in the future. (Please see a ETSI’s tweet below to access their recently-published NFV specification documents).

Don also predicted that SDN and NFV-related conference agendas will look very different in 2014 from those of this year, as more and more use cases are established and SDN and NFV move out of the ideas phase towards mainstream use.

Indeed, we already have over 20 carriers confirmed to present at Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto on 9-11 December 2013 and this number is still rising: www.carriernetworkvirtualization.com.

Plans for our annual Network Virtualization and SDN World conference and exhibition in London on 27-29 May 2014 are also taking shape. If you have any ideas for the programme which you would like to feed into this, please do get in touch, as the research process for this is now beginning.

All the very best to you this autumn. Please find below a round-up of what we’ve spotted this month…

Best regards,

Georgina Wilczek
Editor, SDN World News

In the News

Interview with Imran Malik of Du, UAE

Key takeaways from Juniper SDN Keynotes at Broadband World Forum 2013

Huawei Launches Industry’s First SDN/NFV Orchestration and Management System

BBWF: Ericsson Shares Carrier SDN Cloud Vision

Interview with Don Clarke, BT and Chair of the Network Operator Council, ETSI NFV ISG

Latest Top Tweets

SDN Tech ‏@sdn_tech 29 October
Featured Whitepaper by #Qosmos: Service-Aware #Network #Architecture and Real-Time Visibility http://nfv.io/HgvddE #SDN #NFV @qosmos_news

OpenDaylight Project ‏@OpenDaylightSDN 26 October
#SDN and #NFV: Unleashing the Power of the Network http://bit.ly/19FJCJB

Roy Chua ‏@WireRoy 26 October
Session Border Controller packaged in OVF format. VoIP meets NFV! Dialogic to Support NFV with Virtualized SBC. http://nfv.io/1hhww9y

Open Networking Foundation ‏@openflow 18 October
Confused about the difference between #SDN and #NFV? This article from @SDNCentral might help! http://bit.ly/12OSRSd

ETSI ‏@ETSI_STANDARDS 14 October
First #NFV specifications published. http://bit.ly/19AmSJJ . Download them at http://bit.ly/19AmSJK

Ray Le Maistre ‏@raylemaistre 11 October
@Telefonica Preps #NFV Trial — Brazilian broadband users to get a taste of the networking future. http://add.vc/hLp

Dimitris Mavrakis ‏@dmavrakis 7 October
A new article on SDN and NFV following the IIR #sdnsummit in Prague: http://blogs.informatandm.com/16462/sdn-and-nfv-update-value-chain-disruption/ … SDN and NFV: value chain disruption?

Openness is the way forward…

CircleThe terms ‘openness’ and ‘collaboration’ are turning into quite a fashion at the moment among vendors in the broadband space. The trend is to be seen to be displaying all cards out in the open, working for the greater good and moving away from the proprietary natures of their past.

All this is very praiseworthy. And new. But is it just a fashion, or can it last?

Well, as operators look towards applying software and virtualization to key elements of their networks, the one thing they want is openness. If the components of their networks are open, so the theory goes, operators can then choose to mix and match, and if they wish, build in new software equipment by new market place vendors at more competitive prices than if they were to stick solely to solutions from the traditional vendor community.

On the surface, you would think this threat would be a very good reason for the traditional vendors not to support openness! But with so many new virtualization players coming through into the marketplace regardless, and operators’ keenness to embrace what they have to offer, it is an issue that they can no longer avoid.

If a traditional vendor is to succeed, they need to be seen not only to be co-operating, but moving the industry forward into a new collaborative era. During 2013, we have seen them opt instead for a very different tack: embrace and lead from the front! (Cue headlines such as “openness is a critical attribute” – Ciena and “openness from the top down is critical” – Cisco).

Collaborative efforts are becoming ever more in focus, including the OpenDaylight project, ETSI’s Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group, the OpenStack Foundation, the Open Networking Forum and the newly formed CloudNFV group.

All of these groups are centred on sharing wisdom and resources for the greater good, finding common solutions and working together to find better solutions for operator networks at lower prices.

opencardsToo good to be true? Perhaps. But by placing themselves at the forefront of the new revolution, traditional vendors are maximising the chance of being able to retain existing operator loyalty whilst transforming themselves into all-encompassing new businesses which can cater for all.

So is collaboration among vendors a permanent new way of being? And can the traditional vendors survive?

Well for as long as they continue to be show themselves as co-operative and responsive to operator needs, they certainly stand a chance…

The theme of Openness is a key subject at this year’s Broadband World Forum, taking place in Amsterdam on 22-24 October 2013. For further information, visit http://www.broadbandworldforum.com

SDN gets creative…

innovation

After all the talk and hype around SDN and NFV in recent months, it is great to see the growing number of announcements about various SDN and NFV projects beginning to move into the reality phase for a growing number of telcos.

In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of talk online about the potential of virtualizing all parts of the network. So which will be the first bits to be virtualized? And which should be left untouched?

The chances are that you may already have opinions on where SDN and NFV can be of the most benefit long term. But here are a few articles we’ve come across lately which we think make for some interesting reading…

In the News

Developing the SDDC (Software-Defined Data Center)

Virtualizing the Home Gateways to Reduce Energy Power Consumption

Transport SDN: A New Flavour for Software-Defined Networking

SDN at the Network Edge

NFV Group Flocks to Proof-of-Concept Models

Operators Reveal Where They Plan to Deploy SDN and NFV First

10 Things you Shouldn’t Virtualize

Cisco’s Igniting Security Services with SourceFire

OpenDaylight Begins to Mature

Clouding Up the NFV Transition