NICE, France – Few argue that the telecom world in some capacity is moving toward a virtualized future led by network functions virtualization, software-defined networking and cloud, but even fewer would argue that the hurdles in place toward that migration are not daunting.
During a panel discussion at this week’s TM Forum Live event, a trio of industry analysts touched on those challenges as well as provided insight into how they view the industry’s approach to tackling those issues.
One of those challenges was the increased need for automation in the network in order to take full advantage of virtualized platforms. Patrick Kelly, founder and principal analyst at Appledore Research Group, noted that he thinks over at least the next 10 years telecom operators will be working with hybrid environments requiring the need for robust service orchestration platforms that will challenge vendors and operators in managing the interactions between those platforms. That need will require significant automation capabilities for operations such as policy and control that will need to evolve over time.
“If you are supporting legacy transport and a flat or all-IP infrastructure platform, systems need to be in place to support that,” Kelly said. “How do you service orchestrate in that hybrid environment?”
Kelly also noted that those at an organization in charge of carrier-grade service quality, often described by the “5 9s” model, will be reluctant to give up that control or level of QoS that may come with virtualization. He cited the QoS needs of voice over LTE includes resiliency and latency that could challenge initial virtualization deployments.
As telecom networks become more integral to the development and rollout of the “Internet of Things,” operators are also expected to be taxed in their ability to supply network services that can cope. Glen Ragoonanan, principal analyst at Analysys Mason, cited automotive automation challenges that will likely see a driver in the cab of an “autonomous” truck for some time to handle “just in case” scenarios as consumers adjust to the thought of robot trucks on the roads. Any potential dip in a network’s ability to handle traffic could spell disaster in the autonomous vehicle environment.
David Snow, principal analyst for IP services infrastructure at Current Analysis, added that at the moment there is not enough information being extracted from networks to feed greater autonomy, which could open up opportunities for vendors in the deep packet inspection and analytics markets.
The question was also brought up that if a business case can be made around open source, would that allow telecom operators to skip vendors completely? Wouldn’t they just be able to develop their own solutions?
Ragoonanan explained that there are costs associated with open source, especially for those early adopters. That includes a different mindset requirement at an operator of being a software developer, which he said would take a long time for carriers to adopt.
Read the full article on RCR Wireless News.