A new combination of platforms, tools and processes are needed to help service providers quickly get SDN and NFV working in their networks.
April 21, 2016
The message here at NFV World Congress in San Jose is clear: Service providers have the opportunity to successfully move forward with deploying software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technologies if they have the appropriate platforms, tools and processes. This week, Netcracker hosted an afternoon workshop that discussed how service providers can move their operations, business processes and overall organizations forward to embrace SDN/NFV, closing in on the promise of improving agility, streamlining costs structures and introducing new revenue opportunities.
Vasile Radoaca, CTO of NEC/Netcracker’s SDN/NFV division, said that if virtualization doesn’t happen at scale, service providers won’t be able to fully enjoy the benefits of shortening the time it takes to bring digital services to market. The full-scale operationalization of NFV and SDN is challenging, he said, and service providers are finding it tough to fulfill and assure services in a hybrid network environment that has both traditional and virtual network functions.
Complicating matters more is the fact that there’s no clear understanding of how to transition from legacy to SDN/NFV networks, Radoaca said. Solutions focused solely on technology won’t be enough. Systems integrators are going to be among the key enablers of adopting SDN/NFV and those systems integrators will need to be prepared to take responsibility for the complete delivery, operations and maintenance of a service provider’s SDN/NFV solution, he said.
Picking up right where Radoaca left off, Netcracker’s Senior Director of Strategy, Ari Banerjee, discussed the requirements for commercializing SDN/NFV services. One point from his analysis that stood out was that, in the world of virtualization, applications must be “cloud native” not just “cloud ready.” That means, roughly, that the services must be able to dynamically scale and recover from failures in a heterogeneous and hybrid cloud environment. Banerjee noted that the industry is just waking up to this realization and that moving a function to the cloud, without it being “cloud native,” will only transfer the complexity to another part of the network; it won’t solve the problem.
Indeed, the adoption of SDN and NFV suffers from much more complex issues related to organizational siloes, the lack of business processes and the lack of skill sets. People are the key ingredient, said Pascal Coutier, Netcracker’s VP of Consulting & System Integration. In his presentation, Coutier emphasized the importance of strategic partners providing a single point of accountability for service providers to help reduce risks when adopting SDN/NFV. As service providers work toward a business outcome—not just embracing virtualization for the sake of the technology—it becomes critical to align a company’s processes with the technical solutions required to transform the business.
By honing in on the reasons that service providers are holding back on deploying SDN/NFV solutions, the network operators in the workshop were relieved to hear that the issues they experienced weren’t limited to their companies. “These discussions have had more common sense than anything else I’ve heard today,” one service provider said as the workshop was wrapping up.
In the next few weeks, Netcracker will more formerly announce a set of capabilities that will help service providers more quickly overcome the hurdles they face when deploying SDN/NFV solutions at scale. Subscribe to Netcracker Insights so you don’t miss the news.