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

Posts tagged ‘conference’

Interview: Ravinder Shergill, Telus

Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus, Canada

Ravinder-ShergillRavinder Shergill is the Chief IP Architect responsible for Technology Strategy, overall IP Network Architecture and Governance for IP networks at TELUS Communications Inc. In this role, he is prime for the roadmap and evolution of the Converged IP/MPLS Core and the Converged IP/Ethernet Metro and Edge networks that deliver business, consumer and partner services across both; wire-line and wireless access networks.

 

Ravinder will be speaking at Carrier Network Virtualization 2014 on Tuesday, December 9 at the SDx Summit, 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?

Industry Collaboration between Operators, Standards bodies and Vendors. Open Platform NFV has the greatest potential, provided everyone plays nice between incumbents & whitebox suppliers.

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

Early case studies in the industry are promising, but these tend to be simpler given the risk with any new technologies. There could always be more progress, but being a realist the pace of progress is about what I expected.

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

POCs from past year are moving to trial. New POCs are being assessed. Industry events participation is also an important contribution.

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

Operational Model for the new World order the embraces NFV & SDN. Furthermore, clarity of use cases and the realization of their direct benefits to the Operator.

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

Data Centres are a fertile ground for initial use cases because projected growth warrants a more scalable approach than business-as-usual.

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and Virtualization in carrier networks in the coming years?

More successful early deployments will help increase confidence of fast followers. Standard solutions that are modular & easy to replicate will be winners.

Which companies do you most admire in the SDN space?

Ones that are Innovative and Open in the spirit of putting their Customers First.

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 Hrvoje Jerkovic, Service Quality Assurance Manager, Vipnet, Croatia

Hrvoje JerkovicIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Hrvoje Jerkovic, Service Quality Assurance Manager, Vipnet, Croatia to find out his thoughts on the industry in 2014.

Welcome Hrvoje. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?
HJ: “In last few months we have seen real flood of announcements regarding NFV implementations. Some of them refer to Proof of Concepts, and some to implementations in real live networks. It is obvious that this is more than just upgrades to technology, and operators are very careful with this topic.
“Generally, the main reason lies in the opportunity to cut hardware costs by reusing the same COTS hardware platforms for different telco appliances. Through better utilization of hardware and through using distributed software block-architecture of NFV based telco elements, operators have the opportunity to make significant cost savings as well as optimization of resource usage.”
Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?
HJ: “NFV presents a major shift in telco architecture. Such changes need time to develop to reach functionality and telco-grade stability of legacy architecture; therefore, I would answer yes. We have to accept the fact that no operator wants to gamble with their core business, even if the potential savings might be big. This is the reason for taking small steps and virtualizing only certain network functionalities on certain technologies.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?
HJ: “In terms of hurdles, the main technical reason is non-maturity of current NFV based products. As mentioned earlier, many operators are making small steps, just because they don’t have full confidence to make bigger steps. Beside that, there is also a constant need for each operator to adapt the set-up of its processes driven by NFV architecture.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?
HJ: “In the first phase, we should focus on network elements covering signaling and control functions. Some of them might be IMS related , VoLTE related, policy functionalities, messaging services, Gi services etc. After that, data plane nodes which have clearly specific and/or different requirements could follow in the second stage.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?
HJ: “Based on initial experience, SDN and virtualization’s footprint is likely to spread in certain steps, depending on operators’ plans to extend in this direction. The logical way forward for operators is to exchange legacy equipment when NFV-based solutions can fulfil functionality/stability requirements and old legacy equipment reaches an end-of-life state.”

 Which company do you most admire in the SDN / NFV space, and why?
HJ: “It would be impolite to pick any vendor right now. The interesting thing is that, beside traditional ICT vendors (also known as the big players), we see many small agile vendors on the market trying to position themselves in the mix as well. Both of these have weakness and strengths, and I think it’s good for industry and good for the market as well to see some new players.”

Hrvoje Jerkovic will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas on SDN and NFV 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.

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

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.