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Oct 22 2014

SDN and OpenFlow World Congress – surprisingly also a great NFV event!

This blog is by Stefan Kindt at Nokia Networks. Twitter: @nokianetworks

Greetings from Dusseldorf in Germany and the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress, where 1000 participants generated a lot of telco cloud buzz through great presentations, demo showcases and plenty of discussion. Despite the billing as an SDN event, however, it become very clear that Network Function Virtualization (NFV) had a big role to play as the technologies and domains of telco cloud do not evolve in isolation, but rather complement each other... even if they evolve at different paces.

When we extended our Liquid Core - Core Virtualization, which we first demonstrated live in 2011 at Broadband World Forum (BBWF), to an all domain telco cloud evolution in 2013, we identified four dimensions of telco cloud to be relevant: NFV, software defined networking (SDN), cloud enhancements in RAN, as well as end-to-end management and orchestration.

This event provided further proof that these domains are highly interlinked and evolving in parallel. However, the evolution of NFV is clearly progressing at a faster pace than SDN. More than 10 use cases were showcased at the ETSI NFV PoC area with many more in the exhibition area. Likewise, several operators presented their plans for upcoming initial deployments, even though further clarification and alignment will be needed around open interfaces and use of open source. In this context, the new OPNFV initiative may play a vital role for the virtual infrastructure layer.

The progress in SDN over the last year may not have been as fast as hoped but it will arrive in operator networks with different solutions and market availability across the various domains, from the data center to other network domains. A word of caution, however, was also highlighted during the event on this: SDN is not solely OpenFlow, but rather a way to abstract transport network implementations and automate management and orchestration tasks.

In the radio domain, we have seen the announcement of the new ETSI ISG MEC (Mobile Edge Computing), which enables distributed cloud functionality right into the base station. As ETSI ISG NFV was announced just two years ago at this very same event, it may be a good sign for another great cloud enhancement ETSI initiative in the telco space.

Last but not least on the agenda was e2e management and orchestration. We’ve all seen the architectural recommendation from the ETSI ISG NFV regarding the management and orchestration stack (NFV MANO) and vendors – including Nokia – have announced corresponding solutions for the NFV manager and the NFV orchestrator. However it’s also very clear that further work is necessary to define related interfaces in more detail to ensure full interoperatability in a multi-vendor environment. This is a key requirement for the success of telco cloud, just as we’ve stated and committed to from the very beginning.

I certainly look forward to next year's events and the continued momentum in all four dimensions of telco cloud.

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #Nokia #NokiaNext #TelcoCloud #MBBFuture #TechVision2020 #Innovation #layer123.

About Stefan Kindt

Stefan is Head of Technology Marketing, responsible for positioning the latest key technology areas including telco cloud and Internet of Things (IoT). Having held several positions in sales, marketing, and business lines in the ICT industry for 20+ years, Stefan has extensive knowledge of fixed and mobile networks as well as management systems.

Find Stefan in LinkedIn. Tweet us @nokianetworks

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