Collaboration is key to network virtualization

Staff writer
telecomasia.net

Ken Wang, president of global marketing and solution sales at Huawei, says that NFV requires commitment, long-term planning and an open mind from all parties to drive the ecosystem forwardKen Wang, president of global marketing and solution sales at Huawei, says that NFV requires commitment, long-term planning and an open mind from all parties to drive the ecosystem forward

SDN Insights: What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry right now when it comes to NFV?

Ken Wang: Virtualization of the telecom industry will require the commitment and perseverance of all parties, as this could potentially be a long and complicated journey. In addition to keeping a clear mind and acting with acute business wisdom, it will be important for stakeholders to collaborate in long-term planning if we are to realize the shared goals and benefits of virtualization. The industry needs to respond to dynamic changes rapidly, while seeking ways to protect existing assets and investments, and enabling innovation that will enhance network performance as well as the user experience under a new infrastructure model. Whether industry players can embrace the changes with an open mindset and proactively collaborate with each other to establish an Internet-oriented ecosystem are critical for the development of the entire sector.

How can operators effectively address those challenges?

Strategically, operators need to form a long-term, sustainable evolution strategy for both network virtualization and network functions virtualization. They must build data center-focused networks step-by-step, invest continuously in key technologies such as abstraction and virtualization, and adopt a collaborative approach to drive the whole ecosystem to work together.

In terms of network deployment, operators must identify an appropriate starting point and formulate a tailored evolution roadmap based on their own existing infrastructure and future development strategies. The ICT industry predominantly agrees that for service migration and network architecture transformation, NFV should start from the core layer of the network, such as IMS and EPC, or at the network border-level such as Gi-LAN. However, SDN migration typically starts with data centers and mobile backhaul.

In exploring business models for NFV, operators should attach equal importance to both the system efficiency improvement brought by the NFV architecture and the new revenue creation enabled by NFV-based cloud services.

Finally, operators must transform their HR models and organizational architecture to support ICT integration. Employees should acquire IT operation and maintenance experience as quickly as possible, and the organizational architecture should be regularly updated and streamlined to adapt changing needs resulted from the network structural upgrades. A change of management mindset and thinking, as well as innovation in business process will be critical as the engine propelling and steering both operators and network vendors through this transformation, which could potentially be tough at times.

Network vendors including Huawei appear to be focusing on OpenStack as the preferred platform for NFV. What’s the attraction of OpenStack?

 

At Huawei, we are interested in OpenStack because of its strengths in openness and standardization, which we view as key to cloud platform development. For these same reasons, operators have also expressed strong demand for open and standard platforms.

 

Specifically, OpenStack benefits from several advantages. First, it provides an open and standard architecture, which prevents vendor lock-in and facilitates interoperability between clouds. Second, it provides a flexible and plugin-based loose coupling architecture. Users can select various components of the cloud-computing solution depending on application scenario. And third, it presents an impactful platform that brings together community and industry players along the value chain.

In the past three years, OpenStack has undergone rapid development, where an organic and healthy ecosystem has been created through the growing participation by an increasing number of vendors and operators in this platform.

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