Virtualization interoperability complexities translate into more than operator expenditures on testing.
Indeed, they equate to defining architectural consistency, what it means to be interoperable and determining the approach to take -- all of which add up to more time and less profitability for service providers, says Prayson Pate, CTO Ensemble at ADVA Optical Networking, in an interview.
"Before they even get to the testing they need to understand their problem, which of four or five different approaches they're going to take, then move to the testing," he says.
To address this, a number of developers are teaming up in partner programs and industry initiatives such as the New IP Agency. In the case of Juniper Networks and
ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) , they're doing both. This week, Juniper Networks joined Verizon's Enterprise Solutions tech partner group, while ADVA added ten members to its Ensemble Harmony Ecosystem.
Power in Numbers
Juniper and ADVA point to openness as a driving force behind their respective partnerships. Enabling service providers to choose best-of-breed products is critical, says Donyel Jones-Williams, director of product marketing at Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR).
"We had this vision to bring virtualized services to market and assist in the agility of their business -- new businesses, new offerings -- that customers can opt in from a point and click, provisioning perspective," he tells NIA.
Likewise, openness is critical to ADVA's Harmony program and virtualization itself, says Pate. "The importance of the ecosystem or the program is it reflects our fundamental view of how NFV needs to be structured -- open, harmonious, if you will, and letting our customers have choice," he adds.
In Juniper's case, its Cloud CPE is the engine for Verizon's Virtual Network Services. The modular NFV framework supports open standards and protocols that can run an array of network functions from Juniper and third parties, which Verizon then uses so Virtual Network Services customers can choose VNFs from six vendors to run on Cloud CPE.
For its part, ADVA's ten new members cross different categories, from security to SD-WAN to service provider. They include Advantech, ASTRI, Check Point Software Technologies, Introspective Networks, LightRiver Technologies, Mirantis, Riverbed Technology, Versa Networks, and Walker and Associates; operators like Masergy use ADVA Ensemble to deliver software-based services, says Pate.
"Our value is to come to them and say, 'Here's how you can get the benefit of some of these technologies like NFV and SDN and not only provide services but provide innovative new services,' like they can't do today," he notes. "End customers don't care anything about NFV. What they care is if they get something new."
Powered by industry
Within the CSP virtualization arena, the number of partner programs is growing, says Pate. Not all vendor programs are created equally, he says, and developers alone cannot simplify the standards picture.
"If you think of groups of operators and suppliers coming together to implement tests [via NIA], it's very much aligned with our way of thinking," Pate says.
Adds Jones-Williams: "NIA is creating this consortium [to address] the current state of the industry in terms of interoperability and openness. This is somewhere Juniper has shown some leadership. A couple of months ago we participated in an interop demo at BCE. A lot of them rely on us to do this testing for them. It's the nature of the industry where we are going to have to prove to customers, 'Yes, we did that.' Interoperability efforts that are happening in the industry are very critical to show we are standards-based so end customers have that choice of which path they want to go down."
— Alison Diana, Ambassador, The New IP Agency. Follow her on Twitter @alisoncdiana or @NewIPAgency.