Defining Approaches to SDN & NFV for a Winning Strategy

September 18th, 2015 by · Leave a Comment

This Industry Viewpoint was contributed by John Chapman, Executive Vice President, CloudSmartz

As progress continues with Software-defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), there are several different approaches that are triggered by markets you are serving and how success is defined. This could be in the form of CAPEX / OPEX savings, new revenue streams and the ability to increase market share via emerging companies.

As service providers look at legacy networks and systems, including new revenue sources, they will also focus on work that is required for CAPEX savings. Their approach will vary depending on the use cases for Global Carriers, MSO’s, Mobile Operators, Data Centers, and others in the Communications Industry – a 360 degree perspective looking at all areas of focus are key to long-term success.

Evolving Use Cases

Use cases are still evolving as more Proof of Concepts (POC’s) are implemented as solutions. Below are examples of use cases used by the Communication community:

  1. Dynamic Bandwidth and Network Access
  2. SDN & NFV with Service Orchestration
  3. Virtual CPE and Service Enhancements
  4. Mobility Virtualization with OSS/BSS Integration
  5. WAN Optimization & Innovation
  6. Policy Driven Application Provisioning & Delivery

More and more service providers are also discussing how use cases must be executed to provide the framework for new services. To become more efficient they may start with a small project and then “rinse-and-repeat” once proven successful.

Where to start? This will depend on use cases and service providers. Some providers start with NFV to create strong foundation work, while others begin with SDN – and still, many have combined both SDN & NFV approaches directly out of the gate. Whatever approach is adopted, providers will focus on the below for new revenue streams:

  1. Southbound development & integration with the various SDN and NFV offerings
  2. Northbound orchestration including two elements:
    1. API’s into Network Control System (NCS)
    2. Northbound Orchestration that unites and enhances the OSS/BSS systems and platforms
  3. Customer portals for self-service activations, etc.

Areas to think about for POC success

Security, control and management reporting tools, workflow management, and centralized monitoring and visualization are a few to mention. These areas require attention so providers can easily overlay additional services in the future.

Well thought out decisions for how to migrate legacy core networks and corresponding back-end systems and processes will be a game changer. Revenue impacts and customer experience have to be balanced and are critical during the planning process and complex service migrations.

A Trend of Dynamic & Flexible Solutions to Capture Market Share
Several vendors/suppliers (both traditional and emerging software companies) are trending to assist the Communications industry move towards open, dynamic and flexible solutions vs a more rigid design approach. There are several good examples in the marketplace that looks at how to address multiple vendors in a service provider’s ecosystem. This opens the door for developing pricing models and go-to-market strategies for new services.

Some challenges, known and unknown, are on the way. This is typical as technology matures and adoption increases. However, hungry SDN/NFV adopters will quickly focus on revenue enablement and market share opportunities. They will ensure that this technology is driving the innovation layer vs. a pure cost savings approach. A 360 view of technology, software and integration with the various elements, including strong marketing and operational plans, will be essential for executing a winning strategy.

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Categories: Industry Viewpoint · NFV · SDN

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