In 2015, Current Analysis surveyed 100 decision makers at network operators regarding challenges facing network deployments, what they need most from their vendors, and which suppliers they view most favorably.
Although a key focus of vendor messaging in 2015 was helping operators to operationalize SDN/NFV, operators are facing more fundamental questions standing in the way of their decision to fully embrace network virtualization: uncertain ROI.
When asked what one thing operators feel the SDN/NFV supplier community is not adequately addressing, VNF performance dominated the responses. A word cloud below summarizes the key responses, with the size of each word corresponding to the frequency in which they appeared in the response results.
Cisco and Huawei have topped SDN/NFV vendor perception results for the past several years. However, IT-oriented suppliers – namely HP and IBM – made up considerable ground in 2015, now ranking closely behind Cisco and Huawei as top perceived SDN/NFV suppliers.
Ericsson also made a considerable jump in perception to round out the ‘Top 5’ in terms of best perceived vendors in the survey.
Predictions that EPC would be one of the first and most important NFV applications ring true; this month alone, we have seen not only technology/product announcements, but also POCs and even initial deployments.
Vendor opportunity appears to be wide open for both small and larger, well-established suppliers; given the software content, non-hardware vendors now have a chance to penetrate this early adopter market.
Now that the reality of virtualized network functions such as the mobile core and CPE is beginning to transition from the discussion and concept stage into proof of concept (PoC) and initial deployment in support of new operator service models, how will the vendor community be impacted from a profit and competitive perspective? June is shaping up to be a watershed month for virtual EPC (vEPC) announcements which point out that the mobile core is indeed one of the initial network functions to become fully virtualized and staged for deployment. A key observation is that not all of the announcements have come from traditional network suppliers, leaving no doubt that the market will become more crowded as startups and IT players join the traditional mobile core players. What seems clear is that the new vEPC model can help operators; what is somewhat less clear is how the new and existing suppliers will turn this market transition into profitable product sales – which are for the most part software-based. Continue reading “Virtual EPCs Arrive Much Sooner Than Many Have Expected – But Where Is the Revenue?”→