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Interview with Peter Zidar, Head of Standardisation Group, Telekom Slovenije

Peter ZidarIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Peter Zidar, Head of the Standardisation Group at Telekom Slovenije, to find out his thoughts on SDN and NFV in 2014…

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

PZ: “The largest impact is coming from implementations of cloud computing, Cloud RAN and M2M. At the core of cloud technologies are virtualization mechanisms. It is also important for network operators to reduce cost by avoiding proprietary hardware implementations and virtualizing network services. They can reduce CAPEX (by using of the shelf equipment) and OPEX (by running network functions in the data centre) by implementing SDN and NFV. Operators want to migrate from self-contained routers to a centrally-controlled distributed environment to simplify maintenance. Advantages of SDN and NFV can increase velocity of deploying new upgrades.”

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

PZ: “Progress is still a bit slow but gaining momentum. Implementing SDN and NFV was at first slowed down by lack of proper standardization. With an increasing number of cloud services offered by network operators as well as upgrades to the C-RAN, these two technologies will make big step forward to become more widespread. It takes some time for network operators to be assured that the security, resilience and availability of their networks are not impaired when virtualised network functions and SDN are introduced.”

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

PZ: “We have implemented some SDN functions in our core network and are planning to participate at different EU projects, which are going to use those functions in conjunction with IoT and video routing. We are already preparing our networks for greater use of SDN and NFV.”

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

PZ: “The biggest hurdles are legacy networks and multivendor environments. Also, more SDN and NFV capable products should be available. One of the reasons for slow deployment is the lack of ability to load and execute virtual appliances in different but standardised datacentre environments, provided by different vendors for different operators. Virtualization is causing some performance degradation, so it may not always be optimal, and some operators may therefore hesitate to implement it. Another hurdle is the necessary co-existence with legacy network elements and compatibility issues.”

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

PZ: “All new network elements should be prioritized for virtualization to appropriately scale and upgrade mobile networks in future. All cloud services, including C-RAN, are also obvious places to start with virtualization.”

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

PZ: “I expect that network operators will first try to use SDN and virtualization to implement and deploy cloud services, and then use it also for Cloud RAN. The use of these technologies may very likely transform the vendor landscape. Each player will need to re-position itself in new markets. Vendors will offer virtualized versions of their products, and network operators will have to migrate their operations and skill base to a software based networking environment.”

Peter Zidar 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