We’ve had enough of the chat – let’s cut to the action: In the short term, where will service providers see the most value from network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN)?
Operators are now at a tipping point when it comes to NFV and SDN, said Easwaren Siva, General Manager, Technology, Strategy and Governance, Vodafone Hutchison Australia, in reply to this opening question to a panel session at TM Forum Live! Asia in Singapore today.
He sees the greatest short-term potential as being “close to home” in terms of the operationalization of service assurance, especially around automation, reducing overheads and optimizing OpEx.
Kashif Haq, Head of Digital Services, Technology & Innovation, Axiata, responded, “There are different layers to this,” including abstracting the hardware layer to unleash the services that can be enabled through SDN/NFV. He added, “The path is laid out to how to get the ultimate benefits,” and pointed out that Axiata has already abstracted some of the critical network services and made them available on its platform.
He continued, “We feel that NFV and SDN will only accelerate that path for us and help us connect the producers with the consumers… It’s a journey we have to take; it isn’t something that you can immediately realize in the short term. The question is, how much investment you want to [make]towards that journey and how aggressive you are as an organization to leverage [it].”
Returns at the edge
Yosi Mor Yosef, Head, Service Fulfillment Marketing, Amdocs, said many operators are starting with use cases based on return on investment. He said, “It is important to choose right use cases and some [cases for return on investment]are missing. Virtual CDN and CPE – the stuff at the edge – there are big numbers of them out there in the network and good ROI stats for them, which is why service providers are starting [there].”
Ari Banerjee, Senior Director Strategy, Netcracker, noted operators have not yet seen the billions of dollars in savings that had been predicted for SDN and NFV. He added that there’s a danger of NFV and SDN being yet another case of hype over reality, but pointed out that for network slicing, 5G, IoT and next generation services, “the economics don’t fly without virtualization because the events in the network are so high.”