Insight: NFV Outlook for Network Operators

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Friday, March 13, 2015 with No comments

Network operators considering how to best adopt network function virtualization (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN) will need to choose one of several possible strategies, predicts Patrick Lopez of Core Analysis in a two-part series (part 1, part 2) on the future of virtualization. 

According to Lopez, there are four main strategy choices: 

  1. Roll out virtualization with one vendor
  2. Get directly involved in standards development to influence the evolution
  3. Specifically define the functions to be virtualized
  4. Wait and see

Some operators may feel the best choice is the last one since, as Lopez points out, the business case to deploy SDN or NFV in a commercial network is negative, and likely to remain so for several more years. 

But, the conclusion on part of operators that SDN/NFV isn't commercially viable is the fault of mis-matching new problems with legacy approaches, posits Affirmed Networks' VP of Marketing, Angela Whiteford in a recent RCR Wireless News Reader Forum article

The problem, Whiteford says, is that legacy mobile data architectures aren't suited for today's rapid data growth. Commoditizing "bigger boxes" can't keep pace with traffic growth; instead, what's needed is architecture based on NFV, rather than just applying NFV to existing architecture. 

What do you think are the necessary elements for network operators to meet capacity demand? And how does SDN/NFV relate?
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