Making NFV Easier for Telecom Operators

I’ve previously talked about the shrinking gap between telecoms and IT with the industry transitioning from proprietary telecom network equipment to industry-standard, commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, running in a virtual environment, termed in the industry as Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

NFV Is a Win-Win

The benefits of NFV are pretty obvious. Think quicker deployment of new services, reduced capex and opex, better scalability, high network automation and dynamic re-configuration with easier provisioning, and management. Seems like a complete no-brainer, right?

Barriers to Adoption

On paper, yes but on the ground, the reality is a little more complex. A true NFV solution will often be delivered from an ECO system of NFV components, servers, switches, orchestration, VNFs and so on. All of these components need to be put together and tested thoroughly before any kind of deployment can be considered. To be fair, the business benefits from NFV migration also demand more than just a simple technology transfer with the cost of integrating each operator pushing up costs.

Multi-Vendor Alliance Is a Game-Changer

Exactly why the recently-announced Atos, multi-vendor alliance looks set to become a game-changer. Dell, Intel, Atos, RedHat, Juniper and VMware are coming together to make it easier for telecom operators to test their NFV deployments in a full featured lab. They can enjoy access to all the support resources needed to qualify the NFV environment with the service provider and to test the transition from a physical infrastructure to a virtual one without negative impact to service or revenues.

NFV Lab Initiative

The lab in Grenoble, France will allow customers and prospects to test and certify multiple virtual network functions in both VMware and OpenStack environments. For example, they can quantify the size of the platform, required to run multiple network functions 24/7/365, demonstrate a measured cost from a known platform configuration and enable clients to understand how to move capacity and performance around their networks without compromising their live environments.

Every Partner Brings Unique Expertise to the Table

Think dream team. Atos brings its track record in security and reliability to the table while Dell PowerEdge servers deliver flexible, scalable platforms with VMware providing the carrier-grade VMware vCloud NFV™ platform.  Meanwhile, Red Hat offers its software stack for production-grade NFV infrastructure with Intel delivering the platform technologies for COTS servers that form the foundation of the NFV infrastructure. Finally, Juniper Networks brings its leadership in network virtualisation along with both high-performance switches and routers.

This Atos initiative – combined with the best of breed in all the major NFVi components – shows that a group of like-minded vendors have already delivered much of the platform integration effort and are committed to delivering a sustainable low cost infrastructure, quickly and cost effectively.

Our goal is to drive adoption rates and deliver an open, fully interoperable, multi-vendor NFV environment, Watch this space!

Are you a telecom operator? What’s your take on NFV? I would love to hear your comments and questions.


To learn more about the new NFV lab:

About the Author: James Hole

A business and technology leader with over 25-years’ IT industry experience, James Hole is Business Development Director for Communications Infrastructure at Dell OEM in EMEA. A competent German speaker, James brings specialist, international sales and marketing expertise in telecommunications, OEM and embedded computing to his current role. In 2010, James joined Dell OEM where he served as Regional Sales Director over a five-year period, winning recognition as an inspiring leader who successfully drove the business to double digit sales growth, quarter-on-quarter. James serves in his spare time as Vice President of Buckingham Rugby Club. He also lends his expertise as treasurer and vice-chair with The Grendon Friends’ Trust, where he liaises with prominent academics, national government and business leaders to fund programs at Europe’s only therapeutic prison.