The Unlucky 8: Obstacles to SDN/NFV Commercialization

A lack of unified hybrid orchestration and other barriers to entry are impeding the progress of SND/NFV commercialization.

A recent Netcracker study explored SDN/NFV transformations and found that service providers are having a difficult time getting their virtualization plans off the ground. In fact, the survey discovered that only one-fifth of respondents have business support systems (BSS) in place that can support virtualized services, and less than half have started to prepare their BSS for virtualized services. Given that the majority of service providers think it will take more than two years to fully commercialize SDN/NFV-based offerings, these statics are concerning. What might be causing the delay in commercializing SDN/NFV?  

Our white paper, Accelerating SDN/NFV Commercialization, identified eight potential barriers to entry.

1. Orchestration

Service providers are lacking unified, vendor-agnostic hybrid orchestration capabilities, making it extremely difficult to coordinate the resources and networks that support cloud-based services and applications. In order to commercialize SDN/NFV, service providers need partners that can support their orchestration needs.

2. Businesses Cases

Service providers are struggling to identify strong business cases for deploying SND/NFV. Without a clear business case that outlines operational goals and revenue targets, the pace of SDN/NVF adoption will be impeded. Strategic partners should be able to help service providers get SDN/NFV programs off the ground by outlining and defining compelling business cases for next-generation technology.

3. Operational Issues

Even if a business case for SDN/NFV is constructed and compelling enough to drive the use of the technology, the bigger obstacle to overcoming the operational challenges of leveraging SDN/NFV still remains. This requires organizations to identify how SDN/NFV will align and orchestrate with existing systems, many of which are hardware-based. It also means pinpointing the short- and long-term use cases for SDN/NFV to eliminate inefficient processes.

4. Third-Party VNF Integration Complexities

The rapid expansion of the digital economy means that service providers must be able to integrate and utilize third-party VNFs. By bringing together internal and third-party VNFs, service providers can reduce the risk associated with commercializing SND/NFV. Service providers should leverage strong partnership ecosystems that go beyond VNF onboarding to help minimize the risk of transformation.

5. Organizational Concerns

Teaching old dogs new tricks can be challenging, which is why many traditional service providers still operate like they did in the past, throttled by functional silos. Service providers must break out of this cycle, identifying and evaluating the cultural and organizational changes that need to be made in order to truly evolve. 

6. Industry Standards

Despite the growing amount of standards being researched and adopted by various standards bodies, service providers still lack a clear set of regulations that will ensure they remain compliant and can avoid costly penalties. Operators are also looking for more up-to-date deployment and operations practices that align with emerging SDN/NFV technologies.

7. Network-IT Collaboration

Bridging operational gaps and ensuring cross-domain collaboration that streamlines deployment and overall operations remains a challenge for many service providers. It is important for operators to work with strategic partners that can enable DevOps and Agile methodologies, which will eliminate operational silos and make room for more efficient processes across domains.

8. Virtualized Network Management

Service providers are still struggling to identify and leverage tools to model and visualize virtual network environments. This lack of visibility makes it challenging to assess resources, which impedes how operators bring new, innovative products to market quickly. Operators need a better way to manage the virtual network.

Netcracker has established a set of best practices that service providers can follow to overcome barriers to entry and fully commercialize SDN/NFV offerings. To learn more, download our Accelerating SDN/NFV Commercialization white paper today.