Heavy Reading's new Future of Virtualization Index Report shows that close to 100% of service providers have begun to identify the functions they plan to virtualize by 2020, but only 10% say they have actually started deployment work.
The indexes are grouped into three categories: planning, deploying and spending. "Each group shows an integrated view of where the world's service providers are with the virtualization process and the progress they are making -- or not making -- in moving the virtualization model," says Teresa Mastrangelo, senior analyst, Heavy Reading.
The indexes will be updated three times per year in order to provide an industry scorecard to track the transition to virtualized, New IP networks.
Here are a few highlights from the report:
94% of CSPs have started to identify the functions they plan to virtualize by 2020, and about half of them have identified most or all of those functions.
About 40% of CSPs think they will have all functions identified by the end of 2016, and another 25% think that will be complete by the end of 2017. However, 15% are not sure when this will occur.
The three most important virtualization areas for CSPs are virtual network functions (75% of CSPs put VNFs on their 2017 priority list), NFV/cloud services (63.5%), and networking functions and solutions (61.5%).
Less than 10% of CSPs report that they have started development work on most or all of the high-priority functions they expect to virtualize by the end of 2017; however, more than 95% of CSPs say they have at least started this process.
More than 80% of CSPs now have some of their high-priority virtualized functions in live production networks, but the majority of CSPs have less than 10% of those functions live at this point.
More than half of CSPs expect to have at least 20% of their high-priority functions live by the end of 2016, and at least 50% of those functions live by the end of 2017. Only about 20% now expect to have all of those high-priority functions virtualized by that time. This strongly suggests that the migration to virtualization will take longer than CSPs anticipate.
Only about 30% of CSPs expect to complete their entire virtualization transformation by the end of 2020.
Half of the CSPs represented in the index expect virtualization to account for 10% or more of their capex budgets in 2016.
Nearly 80% say spending on virtualization will increase in 2016 compared with this year, and 77% also expect that spending to increase in 2017, as well.
Very few CSPs -- less than 12% -- expect virtualization to result in lower operating expenses in the next two years. Most expect to see some opex relief from virtualization in three to five years' time.
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Deploying New IP networks and services requires not only a new way of thinking but also a new way of building platforms and services, and getting there is not easy, especially when it comes to orchestration.