The promise of telco virtualization is that carriers can and will provide services comparable to Google and Amazon. With virtualized network architecture, a telco can launch a service in a couple of months and can even become a marketplace of services such as video streaming, cloud services, security and firewall services.
According to VMWare’s Shekar Ayyar, Corporate Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, between 400-500 carriers around the world are already investing in telco virtualization.
“Some are complicated because they have many companies, but assume there are 400 individual companies. Of those, about a third are actively talking about or planning on doing something today. The others are on the education cycle of understanding what is happening.”
Idea Cellular’s CTO Anil Tandan said the company, India’s No. 3 telco, is closely studying the development and implementation of network virtualization techniques such as SDN and NFV in networks in India and across the world.
“We are in the process of evaluating the technical offers for these technologies and expect to deploy SDN and NFV on a limited scale by late 2017,” Tandan said.
According to vendor OpenStack, what’s behind the big push with NFV is agility. The infrastructure and VNFs run on general purpose servers and switches and take advantage of open APIs.
There are many operational and technical benefits that network operators expect from NFV implementation, including:
- Network flexibility via programmatic provisioning
- Taking advantage of the open-source pace of innovation
- Ever-emerging improvements in both the telecom and the traditional IT space
- Full choice of modular drivers and plug-ins
- Accessibility via API, enabling faster time to market for new capabilities
- Lower costs by replacing with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, better price/performance
- Reduced power consumption and space utilization
- Operational efficiency across datacenters via orchestration: managing thousands of devices from one console
- Visibility: automated monitoring, troubleshooting and actions across physical and virtual networks and devices
- Boosts performance by optimizing network device utilization
- Service-license agreement (SLA)-driven resource allocation (initial and ongoing)
- Quality of service: performance, scalability, footprint, resilience, integration, manageability
- Policy-driven redundancy
- Application-level infrastructure support.
Accenture claim that when it comes to the actual network, operators will need to migrate their legacy setup and establish comprehensive network functionality using software running on a cloud-based, virtualized infrastructure. They will have to do that across different network layers and overhaul their current OSS/BSS systems to properly bill for a new range of services rather than network products.
The complexity of this digital transformation will require taking an ecosystem view as operators work with transformation partners to realign their business model to meet the demands of the next generation enterprise. The sooner an operator can rotate to the new, the bigger the slice they will be able to carve out of the enterprise network market.
New technologies never seem to live up to the promise of their initial hype, particularly when the hype meets the deployment reality. Will 2017 be the year the promise of telco virtualization starts to show some returns, or is it still too early?
This article originally appeared on PricingDataPlans