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Inject NFV into digital infrastructure to accelerate time to value

Convergence brings the pace of open IT to telecommunications. Network function virtualization (NFV) enables carriers to deliver a digital infrastructure transformation, but they need a solid foundation.Inject NFV _blog_shutterstock_304329710.jpg

The convergence of IT and telecommunications is not as friendly as it sounds. As the unprecedented growth of mobile, social, and rich-media user expectations has been symbiotically coupled with services that are increasingly delivered from the cloud, IT demands have been colliding rather than converging on the network. This places huge demands on digital infrastructure. You must prepare yours to not only cope, but also be sufficiently agile to stay ahead of the competition.



Reducing risk, not just cost

This challenge is particularly complex as new competitors emerge amid the IT/telecoms convergence. Traditional IT-platform companies have software-driven flexibility and service provisioning in their DNA, but no legacy network. Cost-reduction advantages compared to traditional competitors may have served these companies well up to now, but are unlikely to work against the new competitors.

Adapting to these changes is challenging. Inaction carries risks, but—as the telecommunications sector has seen in the past—there are potentially greater risks if you make expensive mistakes. You have learned that doing it yourself will be too expensive and risky. More importantly, it may be too slow, too difficult, or too late. You can't go it alone.

Further disruptive change is coming with the next generation of mobile networks, 5G. According to a 2018 GSMA Intelligence report, there will be more than 1.2 billion 5G connections worldwide by 2025. Many operators see this as an opportunity, with more than two-thirds of survey respondents indicating that enterprises will be the most important source of new 5G revenues.

But is your network 5G ready? New applications from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to large-scale enterprise adoption of interactive, visual, and mixed-reality communications will demand more from your network. Next-generation digital infrastructure will need to deliver high bandwidth at low latency in order to satisfy demands for excellent user experiences.

Opening new doors with Network Function Virtualization (NVF)

To meet similarly rigorous carrier-grade demands in the past, telecom infrastructure has historically required specialized, proprietary and highly integrated hardware. Advances in performance, capabilities, and capacity have made it possible for you to now take a different approach.

To move forward quickly and with flexibility means that service provisioning needs to be a software proposition. To enable this, network functions are following compute and storage capabilities to become virtualized through network function virtualization.

Transforming previously proprietary hardware functionality into software is only part of the process. To fully exploit the potential, it has to be possible to combine best-of-breed elements from a rich ecosystem of elements. Open systems—long established in traditional IT, but also able to enhance the connectivity of physical devices through IoT—are now fundamental to telecom infrastructure. Open standards throughout the technology stack, from the operating system upward, means you not only avoid being locked into specific vendors, but also benefit from a wide range of options and innovations.

Building from the right foundation

You need to get going quickly, but will want to avoid setting out on the wrong path. Digital infrastructure is a critical element of your customers' businesses. They depend on services delivered from the cloud, often blended with their own data centers and delivered into the hands of the workforce and their customers. Reliability, availability, and uptime are just as important as capacity and cost. A solution that gives you and your customers the assurance of carrier-grade systems is vital.

At one time, the only real option was to use closed, proprietary, and purpose-built solutions, but these lack the business agility and technical flexibility that's now required. Adopting an alternate, commercial off-the-shelf approach might provide sufficient flexibility and reduce costs, but you could risk the service level that's demanded of telecom infrastructure.

Instead, the HPE NFV blueprints offer a sure-footed strategy for NFV, delivering a firm carrier-grade foundation that you can rapidly build on. The blueprints offer a modular approach based on open standards and open-source software, combined with carrier-grade infrastructure platforms that provide scalability, reliability, and core capability. A depth of enterprise sales experience and skills means HPE can support the much-needed transformation of telecom infrastructure into the digital realm at a pace that traditional network-equipment providers cannot match.

Shifting to the NFV software model opens up opportunities for other potential benefits, which HPE incorporated into its blueprints. The blueprints adopt the agile principle of considering infrastructure as code, and include free tools to automate configuration and deployment. This provides flexibility, removes the risk of human error, and makes the entire process more straightforward.

Delivering all of this as a complete carrier-grade solution implies validation and certification. Open platforms introduce third parties, so HPE has worked closely with its technology partners and systems integrators to ensure the blueprints offer well-designed and validated solutions. In addition, just as with traditional approaches, all system components are certified to NEBS level 3 to ensure they deliver the necessary resilience and reliability for demanding telecom infrastructure deployment. At the same time, you can leverage the blueprints to reduce risks, and accelerate your NFV time-to-value rate.

Updating your digital infrastructure

You may already be feeling increasing pressure to make a significant update in your digital infrastructure, but the thought of diving blindly into a software transition to NFV causes concern. The HPE blueprints offer a way to quickly get started. Learn how you can address the increasingly challenging requirements of your customers as they demand more from your digital infrastructure.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC), Hewlett Packard Enterprise will showcase how HPE Edgeline can help you effectively run network and appliance components at the edge – while empowering you to deliver incredible customer experiences. Visit the HPE booth #3E11 to see HPE Edgeline in action.

Vice President, Telco Segment Solution
Hybrid IT Group
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
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About the Author


Business leader for HPE’s Telco Segment and Network Function Virtualization Solutions in HPE’s Hybrid IT Business group. Responsible for go-to market activities, product development and strategic partnerships enabling HPE’s infrastructure business in the telecommunication segment.

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