As Principal Analyst for Service Provider Infrastructure, David is responsible for tracking the evolution and key developments within the IP Services Infrastructure market. His coverage areas include Hosted Multimedia Application Servers, IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS), Mobile Softswitching, Policy Control, Service Delivery Platforms (SDPs), Session Border Controls (SBCs) and Softswitches.
This year’s Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum included a strong focus on 5G core network evolution.
Unlike discrete access technology evolution, the 5G core network must evolve smoothly into a radically new form (and so must carrier organizations).
This year’s Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF 2017) was held in London and boasted a record attendance of 1,400. Nevertheless, that particular number (of people) was completely eclipsed by the ‘number clouds’ appearing on massive screens behind Huawei’s CEO, Ken Hu, as he delivered his opening pitch. Driven by the increasing number of machines which will be connected to the 5G network in the coming years, cows – connected cows; one billion of them – were his first 5G use-case illustration. Continue reading “Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2017: From Connected Cows to 5G Core Network (R)evolution”→
• This year’s SDN NFV World Congress was marked by the two major open source MANO projects firing salvos at each other.
• At the end of the day, operators will choose what ‘works on the ground’, and that will be sourced from vendors and systems integrators, not open source groups.
This year’s “fifth anniversary of NFV” SDN NFV World Congress in The Hague, Netherlands prompted many appraisals of industry progress. One of the most fundamental developments during this period has been the inexorable rise of open source software. This has been particularly surprising in the NFV Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) space, generating a vast amount of activity and subsequent consolidation that has now distilled into two major open source projects vying for leadership: Open Source MANO (OSM) and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). With an OSM Workshop on the Monday and an ONAP Mini-Summit on the Thursday, the two projects comprehensively “bookended” the Congress. Operators and vendors sometimes referenced one or other (or both) during the intervening days, so there could be no doubt as to their importance to the industry.
Turbulence in the NFV MANO market is high; that can be good to shakeout problems, but it also makes for an uncomfortable flight.
Some operators have decided to take matters into their own hands; others are engaging a trusted vendor to “just make it work”.
As with any long haul flight, the risk of experiencing periods of turbulence is ever present. The flight metaphor is also appropriate to long haul telecom network transformation projects, and NFV is certainly the largest to be navigated by the industry in the past 20 years. The NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) architectural block is a good indicator of the “flight status” of the whole NFV project, which now seems to be entering a new phase of turbulence. A couple of recent announcements have highlighted some major, and sometimes forgotten, basics: Continue reading “NFV MANO – Entering Yet Another Bout of Turbulence”→
Open source MANO initiatives continue to divide opinion across both the vendor and carrier communities, recent polls show.
The wisest carriers are likely those pursuing a dual track strategy – using a commercial MANO offering to go to market now, while evaluating open source MANO offerings as potential alternatives for the future.
During GlobalData’s“Vive le Forum! A Recap of TM Forum Live! 2017” webinar in May, we invited attendees to respond to the poll question “Open Source MANO projects have now reduced to two (ONAP and OSM). Will this help to accelerate operator MANO procurement?” The results were as follows:
It was exactly a 50-50 split (honest!) between those who thought YES and those who thought NO, furthermore no particular YES or NO reason dominated. This suggests that open source MANO remains a divisive issue in the industry as a whole (and yes, both vendors and carriers were represented and responded across all four options).
An earlier survey in March conducted by SDxCentral tended to confirm this conclusion, reporting that “26% of Users Will Not Consider Open Source MANO”. In the same report, 49% also said that they will consider open source MANO solutions “once they are more mature.” Of course, no poll is ever an accurate portrayal of the real world and you can always poke holes in the questions, demographics and sample sizes, but I think we can conclude from the general drift of these results that, at least for now, open source MANO of any flavor, has not gained majority acceptance.
But will it ever gain that acceptance? Most players accepted and indeed welcomed open source initiatives in the VIM domain (OpenStack and OPNFV) and even its extension into the VNFM domain (OpenStack Tacker) – but open source in the NFVO and above? That came as a real surprise. GlobalData discussions with NFV MANO vendors at TM Forum Live! 2017 revealed a full spectrum of views on the “intrusion” of open source MANO into the market and whether incorporation – either piecemeal or wholesale – into vendor offerings was a good idea.
On the “far YES” side we found Amdocs maintaining a very positive view, given its position with AT&T, ECOMP and ONAP, effectively replacing its earlier commercial product with ONAP and even tweeting in May “These numbers would probably be significantly different if the survey was taken today #ONAP” in response to the SDN Central survey. On the “far NO” side, vendors like HPE were really concerned that, despite some of its advantages, the prospect of open source MANO alternatives has introduced an unwelcome “pause” in carrier minds that they can ill afford to take. Most other vendors are scattered somewhere in between, although more naturally clustered toward the “NO” end.
At the end of the day, however, it will be carriers, not vendors that decide the fate of open source MANO. Our impression at TM Forum Live! 2017 was that many of them indeed are just “waiting,” which we consider a risky strategy. The wisest carriers are likely those pursuing a dual track approach – using a commercial MANO offering to go to market now, while evaluating open source MANO offerings as potential alternatives for the future.
The 2017 edition of TM Forum Live! is in Nice, France next week, and with the nature of telco IT-network interactions undergoing radical change, the ‘Live!’ suffix is more appropriate than ever.
NFV MANO, advanced network analytics and 5G network slice management are all hot topics with operators and vendors alike, and all play their part towards the goal of autonomous network operation.
In the same way that Mobile World Congress has steadily evolved over the years to be far more than just a mobile network event, next week’s annual TM Forum event has continued to expand. It used to be the place for ‘telco IT’ systems and carrier operation based on OSS and BSS, and if there was any direct linkage to the telecom network, it would be largely in terms of non-real time network management interactions. In fact, the nearest to ‘real time’ these network-telco IT interactions operated at was as a continuous and one-way ‘blast’ from the network to the telco IT systems delivering such things as fault reports. OSS and carrier operations staff then had to filter all these reports, prioritize them and finally decide what to do about them; that was (and largely still is) very far from real time. Now, however, everything is changing with the advent of network functions virtualization (NFV) and NFV management and orchestration (MANO). These new telco IT-network interactions must be both two-way and very close to real time for the network to remain operational at all, similar to the manner in which some modern fighter aircraft would literally fall out of the sky without automated, real-time aerodynamic trimming. Continue reading “TM Forum Live! 2017: Bringing Telco IT Up to Real-Time Network Speeds”→
• The 2017 edition of Huawei’s Global Analyst Summit (GAS) presented the company’s “ALL CLOUD” strategic vision.
• “ALL CLOUD” goes further than most, if not all, of the company’s peers. Huawei will certainly execute but carriers will need to commit.
As is customary for the Huawei’s annual GAS, analysts are presented with a firehose of increasingly detailed information and presentations over three days. On Day 1, key executive strategy sessions kick off the show. Day 3, then, ends with one-on-one analyst briefing on specific products and services. During the three days, the company also makes every effort to show that the key themes of Day 1 cascade down into ever corner of its business. Continue reading “Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2017: “ALL CLOUD” Vision Takes the Company into New Territory”→
Deploying a VoLTE-capable network core has become much easier and faster with NFV.
However, some of today’s pre-integrated vVoLTE solutions may re-introduce the specter of vendor lock-in.
Like virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE), virtual voice over LTE (vVoLTE) is viewed by operators and vendors alike as one of the top NFV use cases slated for early implementation. In many ways, vVoLTE’s popularity has been the result of fortuitous timing. VoLTE depends on the deployment of the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which until now has been both a costly and protracted deployment undertaking for the carrier. However, NFV now offers infrastructure cost reduction by using shared common hardware and a faster, software-only implementation of IMS using virtual network functions (VNFs). Put these two together and you seem to have a ‘marriage made in heaven’ (that’s good). Continue reading “Virtual VoLTE: A ‘Marriage Made in Heaven’ or a ‘Double Whammy’?”→