In the run up to Mobile World Congress, we spoke with Honoré Labourdette, VP Global Market Development, Telco Business Group, VMware, to get the latest on the state of the global telecoms industry and how it is currently benefiting from virtualized environments.
It’s no longer a question of if the telecoms industry will shift to virtualized environments but a question of how and when. After all, there are many unique ways that telecoms operators can benefit from it in the future – including with the Internet of Things (IoT), ultra-high definition 4K video and 5G.
But what about the here and now? That is something I would like to like to explore in this post, after all, there are certainly plenty examples of best practice when it comes to deploying NFV today. For example:
- North American operator MetTel which has placed virtualization technology in its core network. It enables MetTel to provide a stable/trusted bandwidth to its customers as well as greater flexibility by allowing the operator to utilise different transport mechanisms, configured on-demand.
- Ooredoo Kuwait, which has worked with VNF and cloud partners to seamlessly transfer its production IT environment and conduct its first VoLTE call.
- Manx Telecom, which deployed a virtualized fixed-line IMS solution to deliver its entire suite of multimedia residential and business communications.
What is needed for NFV to succeed?
While operators are transforming now, full virtualization of an operators’ entire infrastructure remains at least several years away, and we are entering a period in which virtualized and traditional infrastructure will exist side-by-side.
Early deployments have to be undertaken with a longer-term picture in mind; investments in NFV made today must integrate with future virtualization efforts. This presents significant challenges far greater than operating exclusively virtual or entirely physical networks.
To succeed, operators need a top down approach that sees full engagement with virtualization from the chief executive down through the organisation, encompassing each of its functions.
The enablers of this vision are management and network operations systems (MANO) backed by real-time analytics. The analytics are critical because they give real-time insight into what capacity and support infrastructure is available where and when – such as those delivered by 5G – enabling the firm to deliver them efficiently. Combined with automated healing, analytics can also provide the operator with the visibility it needs to run and control the network.
The operator must be able to tap into a range of specialists from a large ecosystem of technology providers; virtualization requires NFV solutions from various vendors to interoperate smoothly. Therefore, NFV requires a horizontally scalable platform that is open, extensible and can support multiple VNFs.
NFV provides a crucial platform for an operator’s transition to being software-defined but it’s crucial that they apply what they have learnt in their initial deployments to their business-wide strategies for complete virtualization. Then, and only then will they be able to react swiftly to new market opportunities and increase their value in the eyes of the customer. Then and only then will they be able to compete and deliver the same quality, speed, scale and choice of competing digital disruptors.
VMware will be at MWC in Hall 3 Stand 3K10. Visit us to hear more on our digital workspace, IoT and NFV solutions, and how these can you on your digital transformation journey.