Insight: What's Ahead for NFV and SDN?

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Thursday, March 26, 2015 with No comments

With all the hype lately about 5G (due in large part to its dominance at Mobile World Congress 2015), some focus may have been lost on other, more immediate aspects of mobile network evolution. Let's bring attention back to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). 

These topics certainly are not unrelated. As managing editor pointed out, 5G is likely to make mobile networks more complex, necessitating more intelligence, probably in the form of SDN. 

Also, as tech writer Sean Kinney noted, mobile network operators (MNOs) are being driven toward the notion of NFV (considered here as a close cousin of SDN) as a way to more quickly deliver services and innovations. It is for precisely that drive toward flexibility which is likely to prove a means for MNOs to monetize investments in virtualization.  

Meanwhile, on the flip side of the NFV/SDN coin, standards development is moving ahead at a fair clip, with the ETSI NFV Industry Specification Group having its first 2015 meeting in Prague last month to launch NFV Phase 2 and plan further work as the year progresses.  

Ray Le Maistre, editor-in-chief at Light Reading, predicts these trends are leading to a new battleground in the service provider virtualization market: a race to win NFV systems integration (SI) deals. An early winner seems to be HP, selected by Telefonica as its virtualization strategy systems integrator. 

So, here's a three-part question: what do you predict is ahead for NFV/SDN, in terms of ROI for MNOs, standards development, and competition for virtualization SIs? 
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