TBR notes early adopter operators are pushing NFV and SDN deployments despite standards and interoperability concerns
A recent Technology Business Research report found some early adopter telecom operators were moving forward with limited commercial launches of network functions virtualization and software-defined networking technologies despite continuing questions around NFV and SDN standards.
According to TBR’s “NFV/SDN Telecom Market Landscape” report for the first quarter, these early launches are “leveraging a mix of vendor solutions and internal resources ahead of industry adopted standards,” with cost reduction and service agility seen as key drivers for initial deployments. TBR noted for carriers like AT&T, NFV and SDN are viewed as “critical for long-term survival.”
“Early adopters pursue differing approaches to build NFV and SDN solutions,” the report notes. “One approach is to build an end-to-end NFV stack leveraging products from several vendors. These deployments require tested, interoperable components to ensure carrier-grade delivery. Adding further complexity, operators must decide which vendor, if any, integrates the stack.”
On this front, TBR noted NTT DoCoMo, which is leveraging multiple vendors for its deployment, was its own prime integrator for the move. This path is seen as somewhat limited to carriers with enough expertise in the matter to handle their own integration. Other carriers are expected to use a single vendor for their full NFV stack, though TBR explained carriers should make sure such moves include solutions that comply with “multivendor and open source standards to enable network integration.”
“Vendors with fleshed-out portfolios are able to offer this model to customers,” TBR noted, citing the recent example of Swisscom selecting Ericsson’s full portfolio.
With TBR predicting most operators will begin some form of NFV and SDN deployment over the next two years, “integration with end-to-end operational and management systems becomes critical.”
“The operational phase of NFV is looming,” said Michael Sullivan-Trainor, telecom executive analyst at TBR. “Vendors will increasingly offer solutions that enable swift integration between legacy and back-office systems, such as [operating support and business support system], CRM and network management.”
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