Gauging Initial Reaction to ONAP at Mobile World Congress 2017

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • The formation of the ONAP project from the combination of open ECOMP and OPEN-O reduces the complexity of the NFV MANO standardization process.
  • While ONAP is a welcome and timely development, some MANO vendors at Mobile World Congress were ambivalent; for them, getting on with the job is more important.

On February 23, the week before Mobile World Congress, the Linux Foundation announced the merger of open source ECOMP and OPEN-O to form the new Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project. Then, on February 27, the very day that MWC opened, ETSI reported that Open Source MANO (OSM) had reached 60 members, including Verizon as its most recent operator member. Thus, MWC was a great opportunity to sound out industry reaction to these moves. Read more of this post

The Perfect Storm of NFV & VoLTE Provides New Break-in Opportunities for Systems Integrators

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • A pre-integrated vVoLTE core network is only one part of an end-to-end VoLTE solution; more integration challenges remain, often beyond the resources of the average carrier.
  • Third-party systems integrators are providing carriers with a way to smooth their path to VoLTE rollout, while at the same time positioning themselves to manage services in the future.

In a previous blog post – prompted by a question raised in a webinar with Oracle, “How to Overcome VoLTE Deployment Challenges”, I asked whether deploying a virtualized VoLTE (vVoLTE) core network solution would prove to be just too much of a challenge for the average Tier 2/Tier 3 carrier. This is certainly a major concern: with both VoLTE and NFV being highly disruptive, implementing both simultaneously can end up being a ‘double whammy’ on the network infrastructure. My conclusion was that this impact could be mitigated by adopting a vendor’s pre-integrated vVoLTE core network solution, provided that it doesn’t lead to vendor lock-in. Read more of this post

AT&T, ECOMP and the Increasingly Difficult Pace of Virtualization

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Last week, AT&T leveraged its Shape event in San Francisco to unveil 5G launch plans, new virtualization goals for 2017, and herald the handover of ECOMP to the Linux Foundation.
  • While not immediately obvious, open-sourcing ECOMP and meeting its virtualization goals (75% of network functions by 2020) are intimately linked because, every year, virtualizing additional functions will only become harder and harder – and AT&T will need all the support it can find.

Last week, AT&T held its co-called Shape event in San Francisco.  On the agenda: progress with its AirGig solution, initial commercial 5G markets for this year and 2017 virtualization goals, and success in moving continued development of its ECOMP platform to the Linux Foundation.  Coming out of the event, an article from SDxCentral called out that these last two items were intrinsically linked – open sourcing ECOMP is critical to helping AT&T execute on its long-term virtualization goals. Read more of this post

NFV MANO Templating: Being “Open” with Your Hard-Won Experience Becomes a New Competitive Differentiator

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • December 2016 saw a flurry of high impact NFV MANO market developments and suddenly everyone is talking “templating.”
  • Contributing VNF templating experience and tools to the “open” market does not come naturally to telecom vendors, but it’s now well on its way to being a competitive advantage.

Though it’s still early days, December 2016 was something of a high spot for NFV MANO.

During the month, AT&T proudly announced that it had finally got some public operator buy-in for ECOMP, reporting that first Orange and then Bell Canada were testing its platform. After that, a rather uninspiring term, templating, came to the fore and suddenly became a “hot topic”. Read more of this post

Virtual VoLTE: A ‘Marriage Made in Heaven’ or a ‘Double Whammy’?

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • 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). Read more of this post

Three Different Approaches to VNF Data Management Could Spell Trouble Ahead

Summary Bullets:

  • David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

    David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

    ‘Stateless operation’ is the result of taking all the state (or session) data out of an application and relocating it into some form of ‘shared data entity’ to enable easier VNF scaling, failover, upgrade and so on.

  • With at least three different approaches emerging, VNF data management may prove as much of a hindrance to NFV rollout as NFV MANO.

In a previous Network Matter blog post, we identified how ‘cloud native’ terminology is now being used to highlight the differences between simply converting existing physical network function-based software into VNFs and creating VNFs ‘designed for the cloud’ from the start. In “Microservices: How ‘Cloud Native’ Are Network Vendors Today?”, we looked at some of the unanswered questions around microservices. This blog takes the cloud native discussion a little further by discussing the issues around ‘stateless operation.’ Read more of this post

Microservices: How ‘Cloud Native’ Are Network Vendors Today?

David Snow - Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

David Snow – Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • ‘Cloud native’ is the new virtualization mantra, often used to highlight the characteristics of applications designed for the cloud from the start.
  • A host of smaller network vendors are already claiming to be ‘microservices-based,’ a key attribute of being ‘cloud native.’ Larger vendors need to be careful not to lag behind.

It could hardly have escaped anyone’s notice at the SDN World Congress in The Hague this October that ‘cloud native’ is the new mantra in describing virtualized network functions (VNFs). Hardly a discussion or presentation from either operator or vendor took place without mentioning the term at least once. Generally, the term ‘cloud native’ highlights the differences between simply converting physical network function-based software into VNFs and creating VNFs ‘designed for the cloud’ from the start. Read more of this post