Bringing you the very latest on SDN and NFV developments across the world

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.

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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

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

 

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”

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.

Axel ClaubergOperator group Deutsche Telekom is looking to transform itself into a “software defined operator”, the firm’s VP for aggregation, transport, IP and fixed access, Axel Clauberg, has said.

With Software Defined Networking (SDN), virtualisation and cloud dominating much of the discussion at the event, many operators see abstraction of the software layer and virtualisation of hardware as key to managing the anticipated surge in data.

Networks today are not ready to support the demand we will see in the future, so we need to invest to support this growth going forward, said Clauberg. However, operators carry complexity in their networks due to the legacy systems in place and it is much more difficult to switch off old technology than it is to introduce new technology.

We need a drastic change on how we are running this, he added. We need a moonshot programme to master this challenge and we need visionary people with bright ideas.

Redefining Deutsche Telekom as a software defined operator initially requires simplification as networks today carry many protocols and Clauberg questioned whether support for IPv4, MPLS and IPv6 among others is really necessary.

“What is needed to run a network in the future? Not for what you would do today, but what would you do in 2018 and beyond?” he asked. “How many layers do we need, do we need a separate optical transport layer? If its all IP, we should optimise around IP.”
He said that going forward, IPv6 will be the only address protocol in the core, whereas IPv4 will be supported as a service in the network and the core will be simplified through reliance on fewer protocols for tunnelling, DHCP, 100 GE and IPv6.

“The biggest pain for us is that there is so much legacy technology in networks that it is difficult to bring new services to the market. We need to be able to program new services without re-architecting the network”, he said.

This is something of a sore point for operators, which have seen over the top players exploit their networks without bearing any of the investment costs.

“We have been structured in silos typically,” he said. “But internet companies such as Facebook and Google don’t have silos, they have people who have programming, engineering and operational skills. So we also have to bring new skill sets into our organisation and staff teams in a different way.”

Article written by Dawinderpal Sahota, as published on telecoms.com.

virtual picWelcome 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. We are pleased to bring together the best of the resources we’ve been watching in recent weeks, so you can keep in touch with SDN and NFV the easy way.

It would seem that the vendors in the SDN and NFV space are all keeping busy at the moment with frequent new product announcements and alliances forming, as everyone works swiftly to assure their position in this burgeoning new market. The Whitebox debate is also still very much an issue for more established players – just how much of a threat do Whitebox vendors pose? And how can traditional vendors defend themselves in the long run as more and more commodity equipment becomes available?

At SDN World News, we are very much looking forward to Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto, California on 9-11 December 2013, a new event featuring contributions from over 20 carriers worldwide. The results of the Whitebox debate taking place on Monday 9th December and the Innovation Accelerator Awards on the evening of Tuesday 10th December will no doubt be of great interest to many.

Plans for the annual Network Virtualization and SDN World conference and exhibition in London on 27-29 May 2014 are now also taking shape. If you have any ideas for the programme which you would like to feed into this, please do let us know.

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

Best regards,

Georgina Wilczek

Editor, SDNWorldNews.com

In the News

Whitebox Week: How Cheap is Commodity?

Whitebox Week: Why the Enterprise Might Not Care

SDN World News Interview with Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus, Canada 

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

SDN World News Interview with Phil Braden, SVP Technology and Applications, PCCW Global

Feature: The Promise of Software-Defined Networking

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