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Carrier Network Virtualization Awards

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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.

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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 with Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra, Australia

Hugh BradlowIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Hugh Bradlow, CTO of Telstra, Australia, to ask him about his thoughts on SDN and NFV in 2014.

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

HSB: “Cloud data centres have had the biggest impact on progressing SDN as they offer immediate value.”

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

HSB: “Any change to core infrastructure cannot be rushed, so the pace of introduction is valid.”

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

HSB: “We have been running trials of some of some the key new use cases (e.g. virtualised Residential Gateway) to determine value and performance.”

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

HSB: “The hurdles are similar to the introduction of any new technology. You are competing with an incumbent infrastructure which is delivering value and the technology is usually only a small proportion of the overall solution – the aspects that inhibit change from existing to new are all the things that go with the technology – OSS, OAM, human capital, etc. On top of that, you need to prove a business case based on total operating cost which is always difficult.”

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

HSB: “As mentioned above, data centres are an obvious use case and are already well progressed. Customer access is another priority opportunity because of the flexibility it allows in terms of service delivery (e.g. enabling a customer to configure multiple independent networks over one physical access path).”

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

HSB: “Unless some compelling use case emerges, I think we shall see the introduction of SDN/NFV as part of lifecycle replacement of assets over time.”

Hugh Bradlow 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.

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.”

Interview with Haim Geron, Senior Deputy Director-General, Israel Ministry of Communications

çééí âéøåï - ñîðë"ì áîùøã äú÷ùåøúIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Haim Geron, Senior Deputy Director-General, Israel Ministry of Communications, to find out his thoughts on progress within the industry in 2014…

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

HG: “I believe that the recognition by major manufacturers like Cisco, HP and Juniper, major Software co. like VMware and announcements by application giants like Facebook about the development of Open Source based applications contributed to the rapid progressing of SDN and NFV to date.”

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

HG: “Telecommunications experts always feel that the progress towards implementation is NOT what they would like and again and again get “disappointed that it takes roughly 10 years from concept to mainstream implementation. However, we see some positive signs that the adoption of SDN/NFV architecture my “break” the 10-year barrier.”

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

HG: “As a regulator, we favor any technical advance that may reduce cost for operators and eventually, some of the cost savings will be transferred to consumers.”

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

HG: “I believe that the current, huge ‘sunk cost’ of legacy networks imposes the biggest obstacle to the rapid implementation of SDN/NFV. One way of overcoming that is to lower the entry-level barrier for new service providers who did not yet make a significant CAPEX in legacy networks. Another way is to devise sophisticated acquisition plans for SDN/NFV systems so that the CAPEX+OPEX of these new systems will be less than the long-term OPEX of the installed legacy systems.”

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

HG: “Obviously the Core Network will be prioritized because that’s where the applications get prioritized. In the access network, be it mobile or fixed, ‘a bit is a bit’.”

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

HG: “Reducing cost for the benefit of consumers, flexibility in the development of new services and a fair and proper implementation of Net Neutrality principle.”

Haim Geron 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.

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 www.sdnworldevent.com.