The industry is on the cusp of change -- inevitable and irreversible change -- driven by New IP technologies like open source, virtualization, white boxes and software, a series of keynote speakers at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event said today.
Starting with Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and including speakers from AT&T, Cisco and Heavy Reading, the emphasis was strongly on the need for service providers to transform themselves.
Check out all the news and views from the 2015 Big Telecom Event at Light Reading's
dedicated BTE show news channel.
In fact, Patrick Donegan, chief analyst at Heavy Reading, said service providers need to "look like Facebook" in what is turning into the biggest "makeover" the industry has seen in 15 years -- and one that is fraught with challenges, including financial drawbacks, security, collaboration, technology adoption and lack of skills.
The serious obstacles that SDN and NFV are facing might not be the expected ones, noted Donegan. He pointed to new Heavy Reading research that showed that the number one obstacle to SDN for service providers is "lack of a clearly defined business case," while the number one obstacle for NFV is project costs.
Despite those downers, Heavy Reading's capex market forecast for SDN and NFV shows a massive increase in dollars spent on both technologies. For SDN that capex jumps from $148 million in 2014 to $6.8 billion in five years. NFV will see a similar jump -- from $485 to $12.7 billion by 2019.
Heavy Reading's latest market forecast for SDN and NFV capex shows massive growth in five years.
As if to provide some context to these numbers and put them in perspective, AT&T's Andre Fuetsch, senior vice president of architecture and design, took the stage after Donegan and gave an update on the service provider's aggressive push to virtualize and software control 75% of network by 2020 with a focus on 200 network functions. (See AT&T Touts Its First Virtualized Functions
and AT&T Details Software Shift
Cost benefits and service capabilities are two of the main drivers behind the provider's move, said Fuetsch. "NFV is really key here -- not just lowering cost over time but also for getting greater resource reuse and distribution," he said, adding that having those resources in software is a benefit, plus SDN really builds the much-needed automation and adds more reliability and security.
By the end of the year, AT&T's goal is have 5% of its functions virtualized by the end of the year, and it has already made some progress. According to Fuetsch, it already has traffic and customers running on virtual evolved packet core and SDN-based Network on Demand, which is in service in 100 markets. In addition, mobile call recording is fully virtualized, he added.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP