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Interview with Renu Navale, Senior Strategy Manager, Communications & Storage Infrastructure Group, Intel

Renu NavaleIn the build-up to Informa’s Network Virtualization & SDN World conference in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Renu Navale, Senior Strategy Manager, Communications & Storage Infrastructure Group at Intel, to find out her thoughts on the latest developments within the industry.

Welcome, Renu. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

RN: Four tectonic shifts are fuelling a transformation in networking:

First, cloud has become the compute paradigm: Cloud has opened up new business models where compute can be purchased and provisioned on demand anywhere on the globe. This compute-on-demand model increases pressure on the network to keep up – to the point where networking is becoming a bottleneck and CapEX and OpEx models aren’t sustainable.

Next, there’s the emergence of Open Standards for Networking: The rise of software-defined networking has spawned a number of open standards that pave the way for an open ecosystem for networking solutions. Key examples include OpenFlow, Open vSwitch, and OpenStack.

Network Virtualization on the Rise: Server and storage virtualization have been around for years, allowing workload consolidation or pooling and provisioning of resources without regard for their physical locations. Now virtualization has extended to networking. Network virtualization allows IT to combine different physical networks into a single virtual network, or split a physical network into multiple virtual networks that are isolated from each other.

And finally, Moore’s Law Expands to Networking: Through the evolution of Moore’s Law and Intel library software optimization, Intel Architecture-based systems are now able to perform networking workloads on commercial off the shelf servers that once required ASICs and FPGAs utilized in dedicated proprietary appliances.

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

RN: The rate of industry engagement in NFV is fantastic, with over 200 companies now signed up to the ETSI NFV initiative in record timescales.  During 2014, we anticipate a downturn in publicity in line with the Gartner “Hype Cycle”, but there’s actually massive progress behind the scenes.

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

RN: Intel is leading the acceleration to an Open Network Transformation by enabling the delivery of “Best in Class” SDN & NFV solutions through:

  • Creation of reference platforms via the Development & Integration of Intel building blocks (we are introducing a portfolio of associated hardware and software products
  • Contributions to Standards, Open Source and Open interfaces (we are active in several SDN and NFV PoC and Standards initiatives across the ETSI, ONF, DMTF, and ODCA communities)
  • Collaborations & industry partnerships

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

RN: The key challenges are proving the operational scalability of SDN & NFV to carrier levels, and the consolidation of IT and Network operations to handle the rate of service evolution demanded by the market.  We are handling these by engaging in trials with several operators who are progressively expanding the scale of projects and associated risk mitigation. It is critical for the technology and business practices to complement each other to enable an operationally sound roll out of SDN/NFV. Other challenges are rollout of standards, vendor lock-in, and inter-operability challenges. An open and collaborative environment is critical to overcome this hurdle.

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

RN: We see virtualised Enterprise CPE as a great stepping stone for operators wanting to get started with production services, where the network speeds and the business risk are relatively low and the operations staff can get experience with an integrated IT and Network service approach. The “Services LAN” in both Fixed and Mobile Broadband networks looks like another key location to provide rapid service differentiation, intelligent handling of growing video traffic demands, and handle ever-increasing security challenges from Internet based threats.

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?

RN: We expect virtualisation of Telco networks to be widespread, with the introduction of NFV infrastructure in Access, Regional and Centralised network nodes, enabling “right placement” of applications to suit operational requirements. The adoption of SDN could be slower, as (unlike the datacentre case) centralised management of carrier infrastructure has been available for many years.        

Which company do you most admire in the SDN / NFV space, and why?

RN: I think Intel’s approach to SDN and NFV is exemplary, based on the unflinching commitment to Open standards and enabling an entire market for the common good.

One company other than Intel would be AT&T…I think their Supplier Domain 2.0 initiative, coupled with their AT&T Foundry investments to lower the barrier to innovation – and their support of both large and small companies (Ericsson, Tail-f, Affirmed, Metaswitch, etc…) – is very disruptive and market-leading.

Network Virtualization & SDN World takes place in London on 27-30 May 2014. Renu will be delivering Intel’s key messages in a prominent keynote presentation at on the morning of Thursday 29th May. To find out more and to sign up for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

Interview with Shahar Steiff, AVP Business Operations, PCCW Global

Shahar SteiffIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Shahar Steiff, AVP of Business Operations, PCCW Global, to find out his thoughts on the industry in 2014…

Shahar, welcome. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

SS: “If we have to take one event this year that made the largest impact on the future of SDN and NFV, I would say it is AT&T’s publishing its “Domain 2.0 Vision”. When one of the world’s largest carriers announces its support of SDN and NFV technologies, it provides the whole industry assurance that their efforts are spent in the right direction. And using AT&T’s own words: “Domain 2.0 is not a completed architecture or technology plan; rather it sets direction. There remains much to do…”

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

SS: “The industry is still in “hype” mode when it comes to SDN and NFV. Several limited test cases have been proven to work, but the business case is still unclear. In addition to that, the majority of the work and progress is limited to the “comfort zone” of the data-centre, where SDN and NFV were conceived, while developments related to carrier networks and mobile networks are still at infancy.”

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

SS: “PCCW Global is a contributing member at several of the Industry Standard-Defining-Organizations, such as MEF, ONF, 3GPP.

“At PCCW Global we believe that the industry as a whole will benefit from convergence towards standardized APIs that will allow vendor agnostic abstraction and virtualization.”

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

SS: “Implementation of SDN and NFV is effected by three factors:

a. The technology is still maturing and has limited commercially available solutions.

b. The technology is optimized for data-centre environments and needs to be further enhanced to suit the specific needs of carrier’s transport networks.

c. Integration of SDN and legacy equipment is still under development. A migration plan that retains the value of previous investments needs to be developed.

“In addition to that, today’s “selling point” for SDN and NFV is “Cost-Savings”, while the business case for that approach still needs to be proven. Instead, I trust that once carriers start realizing the operational benefits of this technology and the NEW REVENUE opportunities it may bring, they will be more keen to give it a try.”

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

SS: “To date – SDN and NFV have been realized in the Data-Centre. That’s one part of the network. There are other parts of the network that need to undergo the same: Wireline/Wireless/Mobile access networks, the packet core network, aggregation layers.

“The key is agnostic abstraction, which should be implemented on any of the above mentioned network areas. Agnostic abstraction which defines the service regardless of the vendor, the carrier and the underlying technology. Once that is achieved, virtualization becomes simple to implement. This emphasizes the key role of SDOs (Standard-Defining-Organizations) in the future of SDN and NFV. It is only through collaboration of vendors, service providers and OSS/BSS platform developers that the industry will be able to define consensus-based abstracted services and APIs that the vendors and OSS/BSS developers will then be able to implement in their hardware and software, allowing the carriers to virtualize their services in a ubiquitous manner across the different areas.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?

“To date – SDN and NFV development has focussed primarily on the Southbound-Interface. That’s a good starting point. There’s much debate going around the Northbound interface at this time. However – taking into account that in today’s environment services will almost always transit beyond the boundaries of one operator/system/carrier/platform into one (or more) other platform(s), it is key that an Eastbound-API is developed. Such Eastbound-API will allow a service to span across multiple domains delivering end-to-end management.

“As an example: A mobile user establishing HD Video conference with two other users: another mobile user that is subscribed to another mobile operator, and a colleague in the main office sitting at their desk. In the future SDN/NFV managed network, a VPN with CoS characteristics and bandwidth that is capable to convey an HD video signal will be established, in real time, from each user’s device, through their access network (mobile or wireline), through the core backbone of their network provider, to the MCU (Media Concentration Unit) in “the cloud” (a data-centre somewhere).

“For this example scenario to properly function – all elements of the network must use the same service abstractions and same APIs, regardless of their make, model or software release. A “guaranteed 768Kbps from device A to device B” is the same no matter if one device is a mobile phone on an LTE network and the other device is a macbookpro connected to the office WiFi. If all platforms along the path support the same standards, SDN and NFV will allow real-time delivery of billable CoS-managed-network services.”

Shahar will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

April 2014 bulletin

Welcome to the latest newsletter from SDN World News, guiding you through the latest developments in the world of Software-Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization.

There continues to be lots of movement in the market, with vendors constantly bringing out announcements of new NFV and SDN solutions – 2014 is certainly a year for great innovation! One of the announcements which has attracted a great deal of interest this month is Cisco’s new open protocol for SDN, OpFlex. Devised as an alternative to OpenFlow, it is already a popular standard among SDN vendors, with Citrix, Microsoft, IBM, Canonical, RedHat, Embrane and F5 all now collaborating and supporting the standard. Cisco plans to use OpFlex for its own Application Centric Infrastructure, forging a bold, strong path through the competitive landscape surrounding SDN and NFV this year.

Meanwhile, in its commitment to Network Virtualization, AT&T has recently expanded its Domain 2.0 group, with Amdocs and Juniper becoming the latest vendors to join the group, alongside existing members Ericsson, Tail-F Systems and MetaSwitch. Domain 2.0 has been devised as a discussion group surrounding the design and deployment of AT&T’s User-Defined Network Cloud, and is intended to help improve time-to-revenue, provide cost-performance leadership, enable new growth services and apps, ensure security, performance and reliability and facilitate new business and revenue models.

Also, the four-day Network Virtualization & SDN World conference is set to take place across four days in London on 27-30 May 2014, featuring an API Forum, SDDC Summit, SDN and NFV case studies by 50+ operators and including a comprehensive exhibition alongside the event. Operators can attend free of charge by registering here: http://sdnworldevent.com/free-pass-registration/. To find out more, please visit http://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…

In the News:

Cisco Pushes Its Own Open SDN Protocol Alternative to OpenFlow

AT&T brings Amdocs and Juniper on board Domain 2.0

Huawei Opens the First Ever Asia Pacific OpenDaylight Lab

Redhat Collaborates with ConteXtream to integrate OpenStack Orchestration for their NFV and NFV Fabric for Carrier-Grade Solutions.

The CloudEthernet Forum and Metro Ethernet Forum Launch the Open Cloud Project

Heavy Reading Whitepaper: Decoding the Importance of Service Assurance in a Virtualized World

Freescale and Broadcom Each Take Aim at SDN and NFV

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

 

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