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

Posts tagged ‘software’

SDN Bulletin: October 2013

bbwfIt’s been a busy month full of industry meetings, the most recent of which was the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam last week.

Marc Cohn, Chair of the Market Education Committee for the ONF, highlighted an interesting differentiator between SDN and NFV, in that SDN can provide considerable OPEX savings for telcos and carriers, while Virtualization holds more promise for lowering CAPEX. Together, SDN and NFV hold the potential to transform telco networks substantially for the better, but monetisation will always be the greatest driver for change.

Meanwhile, Antonio Manzalini from Telecom Italia put forward a positive assessment of the continuing growth of the SDN and NFV markets, stating, “The most profound technologies are those that disappear and weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life” – if applied successfully, this could well be the case for both technologies in 20 years’ time.

Don Clarke from BT, Chair of the Network Operator Council for ETSI NFV ISG, also gave a valuable update on the ETSI group’s activities to date and outlining their plans in the future. (Please see a ETSI’s tweet below to access their recently-published NFV specification documents).

Don also predicted that SDN and NFV-related conference agendas will look very different in 2014 from those of this year, as more and more use cases are established and SDN and NFV move out of the ideas phase towards mainstream use.

Indeed, we already have over 20 carriers confirmed to present at Carrier Network Virtualization in Palo Alto on 9-11 December 2013 and this number is still rising:

Plans for our annual Network Virtualization and SDN World conference and exhibition in London on 27-29 May 2014 are also taking shape. If you have any ideas for the programme which you would like to feed into this, please do get in touch, as the research process for this is now beginning.

All the very best to you this autumn. Please find below a round-up of what we’ve spotted this month…

Best regards,

Georgina Wilczek
Editor, SDN World News

In the News

Interview with Imran Malik of Du, UAE

Key takeaways from Juniper SDN Keynotes at Broadband World Forum 2013

Huawei Launches Industry’s First SDN/NFV Orchestration and Management System

BBWF: Ericsson Shares Carrier SDN Cloud Vision

Interview with Don Clarke, BT and Chair of the Network Operator Council, ETSI NFV ISG

Latest Top Tweets

SDN Tech ‏@sdn_tech 29 October
Featured Whitepaper by #Qosmos: Service-Aware #Network #Architecture and Real-Time Visibility #SDN #NFV @qosmos_news

OpenDaylight Project ‏@OpenDaylightSDN 26 October
#SDN and #NFV: Unleashing the Power of the Network

Roy Chua ‏@WireRoy 26 October
Session Border Controller packaged in OVF format. VoIP meets NFV! Dialogic to Support NFV with Virtualized SBC.

Open Networking Foundation ‏@openflow 18 October
Confused about the difference between #SDN and #NFV? This article from @SDNCentral might help!

First #NFV specifications published. . Download them at

Ray Le Maistre ‏@raylemaistre 11 October
@Telefonica Preps #NFV Trial — Brazilian broadband users to get a taste of the networking future.

Dimitris Mavrakis ‏@dmavrakis 7 October
A new article on SDN and NFV following the IIR #sdnsummit in Prague: … SDN and NFV: value chain disruption?

OpenFlow wins further support from SDN advocates

SDN-300x225Network management and switching specification OpenFlow is being buoyed by industry support, according to the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting Software Defined Networking (SDN).

The group recently stepped up development and implementation of the OpenFlow 1.3 protocol, with a conformance testing event attended by 90 per cent of the group’s members.

A total of 50 network engineers from 20 member companies used a specially designed lab to accomplish an equivalent of two months of quality assurance testing within a week, and resolved features and interoperability issues with different vendors, the organisation claimed.

ONF member companies had the opportunity to test new software features and products that had not yet been tested for interoperability with other vendors’ software and hardware products. OpenFlow versions 1.0, 1.2, and 1.3 were tested in commercial controllers and hardware and virtual switches, verifying implementations of OpenFlow-based SDN that would be commercially applied to service provider, datacentre, and enterprise markets.

OpenFlow 1.3 allows member companies to address complex network behaviour, optimise performance, and leverage a richer set of capabilities as well as extending to functions incorporating IPv6 and MPLS. IPv6 has become the standard in the datacentre, and testing showed the ability to add new resources and functions that make SDN and the OpenFlow protocol more scalable. In addition, the test cases for MPLS showed the movement of SDN and the OpenFlow protocol outside of the datacentre, with successful implementations performed to allow service providers greater control of the network with open and interoperable software.

“SDN is gaining wider acceptance in the service provider community as a transformative network concept, reinforcing the importance of continuing maturation and implementation of the OpenFlow protocol,” said Chris Janz, vice president of market development at Ciena. “In this latest ONF PlugFest, Ciena has collaborated with vendor and operator counter-parts in inter-op testing. After a week of testing, it is clear to us that there has been a significant maturing of the OpenFlow ecosystem,” he said.

Contributed by James Middleton, Managing Editor of

The Revolutionary Benefits of Telco SDN

Article contributed by Dimitris Mavrakis, Principal Analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, who will be speaking in-depth about SDN and NFV at the forthcoming SDN World Conference in Barcelona on 11-13 June 2013, a uniquely operator-rich event featuring visionary contributions on the potential of SDN and NFV from operators around the globe.

With infrastrucDimitris Mavrakis smallture vendors offering their own flavors of SDN, the interest – and confusion – in the telecoms industry is increasing. Early adopters begin to deploy SDN concepts while mainstream operators attempt to understand the cultural, technical and business implications of the new concepts.

In the context of telecom networks, telco SDN refers to separation of the control and data layers, virtualization of network components and service exposure, although each vendor may have a different strategy according to their technical legacy and existing product lines.

In many cases, telco SDN reminds of previous, somewhat unsuccessful initiatives, including IMS. But in a way, SDN is already an established concept in the IT domain in the form of OpenFlow and OpenStack; although this is in a different context, it offers similar benefits to both IT and telecoms service providers. Increased scalability, flexibility, cost savings and less dependence on overprovisioning for network design are a few examples of short-term benefits SDN brings to both IT and telecoms. In the long term, the concept will allow for new service architectures, service exposure, new revenue opportunities and more efficient operations.

SDN and IMS promise – among other things – horizontalization of network infrastructure and easier service exposure to third parties but are without clear new business and revenue opportunities. However, there are several differences from previous technologies, especially IMS.

Telco SDN (and NFV) has serious advantages over IMS: SDN is already being implemented in the IT domain, and operators and vendors will have learned from their involvement in IMS. Also, SDN is attempting to enter the market by applying practices and technologies from the IT domain to the telecoms environment – this is in contrast with IMS, which was a completely new and very optimistic concept. Moreover, the vendors involved in SDN and virtualization also come from the IT domain and have experience of large-scale IP networks – which is the ultimate convergence of mobile networks.

What is likely to evolve first

The benefits of telco SDN increase towards the edge of the network and are maximum when facing the end user. For example, a virtualized CPE will not require continuous upgrades when a fixed operator upgrades to new technologies. On the other hand, the cost to virtualize the edge of the network – especially when considering radio networks – is prohibitively expensive.

LTE networks have just been deployed and operators will require some from of ROI from these existing networks before investing billions once again. Cloud RAN is the first implementation of virtualization in the radio access layer, where baseband processing is pooled at a semi-centralized location to allow for more fluid resource allocation. This also requires high expenditure and is likely to be deployed once small cells become widespread.

On the other hand, the Enhanced Packet Core (EPC) is a part of the network that is more likely to be virtualized in the short term, due to its flat (IP) nature and the need for components to be flexible and scalable. The core network is far more centralized compared to the RAN and as such, easier to upgrade, maintain and virtualize. EPC components include the MME (mobility management) and gateways (PGW, SGW) which may be implemented in software and run from data centres in order to provide a more scalable and flexible architecture. Specific functionality of the network may be exposed to trusted third parties while operators will be able to create customized services for groups of customers, or even individual premium customers (SMEs or enterprises).

Why Telco SDN is revolutionary

Despite the failure of previous network technologies, Telco SDN arrives at the market at the right time, when the telecoms and IT worlds are starting to align. Mobile operators will soon find that relying on traffic forecasts and overdimensioning may not provide an adequate business case for rolling out nationwide networks.

Despite the fragmented and multi-vendor nature of existing mobile networks, Telco SDN and similar concepts can provide a real answer to achieving more flexible, scalable and adaptive networks for real world scenarios.

SDN to cause a paradigm shift for telcos, says Telefonica

Diego LopezDiego Lopez is Assistant Technical Manager of ETSI’s Network Funictions Virtualisation ISG and Head of Technology Exploration in the Global CTO Unit of Telefonica, Spain. In advance of SDN World, we caught up with him to ask him about Telefonica’s outlook on SDN and his thoughts on the growth of the industry.

Diego, what is the significance of SDN for telcos?

“My view is that SDN will bring to networking a dramatic change (a “paradigm shift” is the term I’d employ if it had not become a little bit too overused), very similar to what Java meant for applications fifteen years ago. Things are going to change, though very probably not in the exact way we foresee now. And, as you can imagine, if such a dramatic change to networking occurs it will involve practically every network operator, at all levels.”

Why is carrier-class SDN so important?

“Essentially, because we are carriers! 🙂 Seriously speaking, SDN has proved its applicability in data centre environments, highly regular and homogenous not only in the infrastructure itself but also in what relates to the use of a limited set of protocols, reasonably controlled application usage patterns, and a highly centralised control and supervised operation.

“Moving SDN into much wider networks implies not only addressing the challenges about extremely high resilience with necessarily decentralised control, but the ability to address the high heterogeneity at all levels that characterises current network infrastructures.”

How quickly do you think SDN and NFV will become a reality?

“It is already happening, and I do think it will bring a snowball effect: the more environments where these techniques are applied the more other environments in which their application will become appealing. It is true that we are at the beginning of the slope, but I think that the interest and commitment of the whole industry (operators and vendors) is clear, compelling use cases have been around for a while, and real-life demonstrations are about to start.”

What do you think will be the best use-case scenarios for SDN and NFV?

“I’d reverse the question: what scenarios are not extraordinarily appealing for SDN and NFV? None I can think of. And the most appealing to me are those related with the possibility of providing powerful abstractions, easing the definition of E2E services over heterogeneous networks in dynamic way. I have sometimes referred to it as finding the equivalent in networking to what SQL was for database technologies.”

How does Telefonica intend to use SDN and NFV in coming years? What difference will it make to your ongoing operations?

“Virtualisation, with SDN and NFV being terms of the general equation, is one of our key strategies for network evolution. It will translate in much more flexible infrastructures, centred on the user, and able to provide a much better experience at lower costs of operation. The phased approach we have in mind, aligned with the pace of infrastructure updates, will help us in making such a deep change much smoother.”

Diego will be detailing Telefonica’s vision in greater detail at SDN World in Barcelona on 11-13 June 2013.