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Network Functions Virtualization: a new way for CSPs to innovate at sustainable cost


Lorenzo.jpgThe time has finally come: relentless pressure on costs, the fierce pace of competition, and erosion of revenue by over-the-top (OTT) players are pushing communication service providers (CSPs) to think differently about their business. They’re turning to Network Functions Virtualization.


Now, let me skip repeating the technical definition of NFV as you can find this by ETSI or another here: I prefer to focus on WHY NFV.


A common but misleading idea is that the core use of NFV is to first and foremost shift expensive networking functions to cheap, virtualized boxes. I don't agree with this idea as I find it terribly limiting. Let me use the wording of Werner Schaefer, HP VP for NFV, in this Datacenter Dynamics article:


The analysts said deployments will make take place in 2016 or 2017 but I believe they will be a little faster. The pressure is now so big on these telcos to find new ways to bring new products to market and make more revenue. We did a study with 50 CIOs and CTOs and Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers, and the number one thing they said was top of mind was new revenue streams. And they said they need to be more agile and find ways to compete with other top layer offerings to do this”.


According to the study, costs are NOT top of mind. Cost savings are inevitably there, both CAPEX and OPEX, and I definitely agree on this, but they are not the most relevant item. My statement would be:


NFVs promise is about faster innovation and cost reduction by leveraging IT best practices and standardized components.


Please note: best practices. It is NOT a best practice just to buy the cheapest box to save costs, missing the impact on operational costs and processes. Service architecture requires appropriate design and selection of the best solution to maximize the final outcome; it’s not just a decision based on the cost of a single component. It's exactly similar to what happens in any manufacturing plant, where ANY component is optimized to maximize the outcome in a true end-to-end value chain.


My three recommendations are then:


  • Focus on industry standards and how they fit into your service architecture
  • Remember that It's not a greenfield (if you are an operator), so don't forget your legacy systems
  • Prepare to run to keep up, as service lifecycle and innovation will skyrocket.

In my next posts I will further develop these three points and provide my hints on how to leverage them to realize NFV’s promise: don't miss it!


Read more about HP’s innovative, open, and proven approach to NFV.


And to learn more about me and how I can help your organization meet its most pressing challenges, visit my HP Expert profile.


Moreover, don't miss the chance to meet HP specialists at the upcoming HP Discover in Las Vegas to discuss how NFV could benefit your business.




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