2015 was a dramatic year for the telecom industry, with the first proof of concept (PoC) tests of network function virtualization (NFV) technology. This year promises to be a very interesting and challenging year as well, as the deployment of NFV and software defined networking (SDN) is expected to widen.
In order to try to predict what will change this year and how telecom providers should prepare themselves, at Telco Systems we decided to provide an insight into the way our top professionals view the future.
So, let’s begin with CEO, Ariel Efrati, who estimates that the hybrid approach will take the lead in the movement of telecom vendors to the world of the NFV-based services.
“Everybody speaks about a ‘pure’ solution, a ‘greenfield’ solution. This is not a reality,” says Efrati. “You have to work on a hybrid approach, and a hybrid approach is where the rubber meets the road. You want to make sure that when you introduce new enhancements, new dynamic capabilities, and new functions in places they never existed before, they can coexist with the current systems.”
Efrati adds that taking into account the hype surrounding “open solutions,” Telco Systems believes that being open is the ability to integrate and to coexist together. He also believes there is a need for standardization.
“Think about it,” Efrati says, “when you roam today with your device, you don’t care whether you’re crossing an Orange network or an AT&T network. It is transparent to you. That is what you want in this field as well. You want to be able to move from one function to another.”
Moshe Shimon, Telco Systems VP Product Management and Marketing, believes that 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,” Shimon says. “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.”
Shimon adds that SDN and NFV technologies offer 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,” he predicts. “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.”
Shimon concludes that Telco Systems expects to see the following trends across many emerging and developing markets:
- NFV – after successful proof-of-concepts last 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. Telco expects that in 2016, the foundation for IoT growth in the coming years will be laid and the industry will take initial steps towards getting a billion machines connected to the network by 2020.
- Operator Cloud – 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 (Virtual Customer Premise Equipment) and other business services.
- Big Data – will be a critical component for protecting SDN and NFV platforms. From a security perspective, Big Data will enable communication service providers (CSPs) to get real-time, network-wide visibility into threats, and will also be able to mitigate these threats in real time.
At the same time, Gal Ofel, head of Software Solution Product Line Management at Telco Systems, sees 2015 as a transition year for NFV deployments that focus mostly on PoC pilots, and expects the first live commercial NFV deployment in 2016.
According to Ofel, for successful deployment, CSPs needs to adopt protection solutions designed for NFV platforms, focus on the business benefits of their new NFV-based services, and natively integrate their NFV platforms into the operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) methodologies.
To learn more download our white paper Protecting SDN and NFV Networks from Cyber Security Vulnerabilities