Which trends will lead the distributed NFV and SDN evolution in 2016?

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have been on the rise for some time – and this is set to continue into 2016. In order to better understand how we, at Telco Systems view upcoming trends I recently gave an interview to Developing Telecoms as part of a series of interviews with leading professionals from the Telecom industry under the title “2016 trends”.

Which developing or emerging markets (regions/countries) do you cover?

We are active in countries in developing and emerging markets where competition is strong and influences the business strategies of service providers.

What are your main hardware and/or services focus areas?

Telco Systems is a leading provider of innovative SDN and NFV, multi-service Carrier Ethernet 2.0 and MPLS edge solutions.

What are the top market and customer trends that will drive change in your area during 2016, and why?

This past year, many service providers developed strategies for deploying SDN and NFV technologies and conducted proof-of-concept (PoC) evaluations. In 2016, SDN and NFV should become a reality on most service provider networks, including many in developing and emerging markets. Virtualising the customer premise equipment to provide on demand services to customers and greater flexibility in deploying new services are the main drivers for service providers to adopt these technologies. This will allow service providers to transform into managed service providers – not only providing connectivity to customers, but also providing virtualised IT management and security services.

What are the solutions that will make the greatest impact in your area during 2016, and why?

SDN and NFV technologies offers service providers numerous benefits, including openness, remote programmability, agility and other advantages of IT-like networks. However, the similarity to IT networks that makes SDN and NFV networks advantageous for service providers also exposes them to a full range of security vulnerabilities.

Security solutions will have an important impact on SDN and NFV deployments in 2016. By running a security solution as a virtualised network function deployed at the network edge, which is the closest location to all endpoints, security efforts can have complete visibility of the entire network and can be applied to the entire infrastructure.

What changes need to be made to speed up developments and what can hold them back?

Service providers expect open interoperability between competing technology vendors in multi-vendor environments. Vendors promoting SDN and NFV solutions in emerging and developing markets will need to use open standards to meet these expectations of service providers.

Which of the following do you think will be most important in emerging markets in 2016?

We expect to see the following trends across many emerging and developing markets:

  • NFV – after successful PoCs in the past year, 2016 will be the year in which service providers will evaluate actual business cases for real deployments of NFV.  It will be the year for carriers to experience actual revenue benefits from adopting this technology.
  • Infrastructure Sharing – one of the main drivers for NFV revenue is the concept of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). With the help of NFV enabled networks, carriers will be able to move from being mere connectivity providers to being able to offer IaaS products to their customers, and improve their value proposition as a result.
  • IoT – Internet of Things (IoT) is still not as large scale as had been predicted by experts previously, but it is still growing. We expect that in 2016, the foundation for the coming years’ growth in IoT will be laid and the industry will take initial steps towards getting a billion machines connected to the network by 2020.
  • Operator Cloud – this will serve as the foundation for IaaS and managed services mainly for business services try-and-buy, pay-as-you-grow and usage based for vCPE and other business services.
  • Big Data – this will be a critical component for protecting SDN and NFV platforms. From a security perspective, Big Data will enable CSPs to get real-time, network-wide visibility into threats, and will also be able to mitigate these threats in real-time.

This article has been published on the Developing Telecoms Web site in January 2016.

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