Open source SDN/NFV is disrupting supplier-operator relationships

open source

Open source is continuing to upend traditional supplier-operator relationships as Tier 1 operators explore ways to scale NFV and SDN deployments, according to TBR’s 3Q17 NFV/SDN Telecom Market Landscape.

The TBR report finds that the telecoms industry is moving forward in commercial deployments of open source-based solutions, most notably through commercial applications of OpenStack for virtual infrastructure management.

As early-adopter operators become more comfortable leveraging open-source code internally, TBR expects other operators will hasten their acceptance and usage of open source to reduce vendor lock-in and move to web-scale-like frameworks.

“Tier 1 operator adopters are looking more to the open-source community for answers about how to scale up NFV and SDN,” said TBR telecom analyst Patrick Filkins. “These decisions remain challenging, though, as moving to open source requires investment in new skill sets, a step many operators outside the Tier 1 community are ill-equipped to undertake.”

Additionally, software-mediated adoption continues to impact the traditional supplier landscape as pure play SD-WAN suppliers win roles with Tier 1 operators. In the US alone, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, CenturyLink, Level 3 and Sprint have introduced SD-WAN capabilities into their networks, with most contracting pure play suppliers, such as VeloCloud and Versa Networks, to provide the SD-WAN platform.

To counter this threat, incumbent vendors may follow in Cisco’s path and acquire these smaller, nimbler competitors, or risk losing out on key opportunities.

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