NFV: Test-drive to avoid politics, speed deployments

Robert Schwegler, VP and Chief Architect Infrastructure Cloud, Deutsche Telekom, has some strong opinions about fast, pragmatic approaches to implementing NFV.

He was a popular speaker at TM Forum’s recent NFV Digital Leadership Summit in Dusseldorf, Germany. You can watch his subsequent interview with TM Forum’s own Barry Graham in the video below.

Schwegler states, “We are not just changing technology, we are changing processes and ultimately the organizations, and they need to go hand in hand. I am a great fan of Conway’s Law, which says you can only change the organization towards the systems you are developing and vice versa; they influence each other. This means the business architecture and the organizational constellation work [together]”.

The power of test

When asked about relationships with equipment and software vendors in the era of ecosystems, Schwegler says, “This is a big complex topic [with]a very simple solution at the end. When you look at very successful open source projects [they]are working with these software-development lifecycles integrated [into]work methods to share information [with]the real technical elements and the business drivers – the KPIs – connected to them. That’s a straightforward discussion, not a political one; you just get the best solution. If you do a test-drive first, [you get]the best technology solution that benefits the end user.

“So the solutions are out there and they can be used and reused – that’s simple. Here’s the problem: How to make a business model out of those simple processes, which can be shared with open source tools? There is a huge gap between this and what the NF vendors or orchestrators try to sell to us as the operator.”

Open about open source

Graham asks, “Will open source components and resources replace the traditional telecoms industry’s way of building around common standards, or will it be complementary?”.

Schwegler replies, “They could be complementary because what we want to see is not so much theoretical work, but from agile principles, minimal viable product should drive our goals. If we do these test-driven implementations and see they have a benefit then many people start jumping on it and it becomes a de facto standard, then transfers to a proper standard that we can make use of in the long term. I think that would be good synergy.

So open source can contribute to standards just as well as vendors? “Yes, or just accelerate them, right?” Schwegler concludes.


About The Author

Snr Director, Research & Media

Annie Turner has been researching and writing about the communications industry since the 1980s, editing magazines dedicated to the subject including titles published by Thomson International and The Economist Group. She has contributed articles to many publications, including national and international newspapers such as the Financial Times and International Herald Tribune, and a multitude of business-to-business titles. She joined the TM Forum in 2010 and is responsible for overseeing the content of the Research and Publications portfolio.

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