This blog is part of our ‘Telco Cloud experts talk’ series by Stefan Kindt from the Networks business of Nokia.
During the last few years, the main talking points in the telco cloud discussion have revolved around the virtualization of network functions (NVF), technological approaches, the selection of cloud stacks, the testing of virtualized network functions either in proof-of-concepts (e.g. with SK Telecom) and even for first implementations for end-to-end services. However, the closer we get towards commercial use – e.g. as announced just last week by Vodafone at TM Forum Live! – the more we see a shift in the discussion towards operational aspects.
One aspect in this discussion addresses whether telco cloud will become an overlay to existing networks or whether we will see the co-existence of virtualized and non-virtualized network elements in the same network, i.e. hybrid operations. Leading research firm IDC has shared its opinion recently, stating “A top challenge identified by IDC is the hybrid transitional environment that will exist as network virtualization becomes adopted and legacy operations are migrated to the new platform. The reality will include legacy infrastructures operating in sync with modern virtualized network elements and networks.”*
Do others in the industry agree? Our poll shows a resounding “yes” among operators.
Poll results from our recent telco cloud webinar are revealing: 100% of all participating operators replied they anticipate hybrid operations for the next years, with the majority estimating a timeline extending to 2020. Interestingly, the operators answered far more clear cut than other participants, which included vendors, analysts, and research institutes.
So what does this mean for the telco cloud solution? As with a typical overlay scenario, you might consider a greenfield type of approach, since interaction with existing networks, services or operation is rather limited. However, we’re now seeking a really integrated approach, building on the wealth of experiences of existing networks and related operations.
Considerations to ensure a best fit
1. Network functions
Full feature parity, smooth coexistence, and interworking between traditional and virtual network functions are crucial. It’s important not to compromise with limited feature sets or risk causing stability issues of a network entity.
2. Network management
As the network function itself does not change its original character, why should the management of this function change? In other words, the best option would be to use the existing network management system if it is capable of managing both virtualized and non-virtualized network functions in parallel. This way, operators also avoid the need for additional staff and training in new network management solutions.
Nokia’s telco cloud solution embraces both of these key considerations, enabling hybrid operations until 2020 and beyond. Find out more about how to achieve the best fit to your telco cloud needs here.
* IDC “The Network Virtualization Evolution in Telecom” Doc. #248827, May 2014
Interested? Here’s more from our new ‘Telco Cloud experts talk’ series:
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