The telecom industry is famous for generating acronyms and corresponding technologies. Gartner refers to the flurry of excitement that often surrounds this exercise as the hype cycle. But the recognition that our industry is susceptible to hype can be counter productive, causing the more cautious types among us to take a wait-and-see attitude when new opportunities present themselves.
It certainly makes sense to look before you leap, but those that never leap will be left behind. And, in the fast-moving world of tech, standing still can make it near impossible to catch up. That’s why it’s important for service providers to get their feet wet in the network functions virtualization and software-defined networking pool.
Make no mistake about it, NFV and SDN are here to stay, and communications service providers that want to benefit from the operational efficiencies and flexibility they can deliver should get on the path to learn about and adopt these solutions as soon as possible. Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert), an undisputed leader in communications networking, can help guide them on that journey.
“NFV is here and now, it’s not a fad,” says Phil Tilley, marketing director of cloud strategy and solutions with Alcatel-Lucent. “It’s going to evolve. The key is to start looking at it now, start planning, start the discussions.”
Move to Cloud: It’s a Journey
Alcatel-Lucent offers a variety of NFV and SDN components to help service providers better position themselves for success.
“The move to NFV and SDN will be a journey, but a rewarding one, and Alcatel-Lucent can help take you there,” says Tilley. “We have a lot of experience and knowledge to share. And for service providers that set out on this journey, the rewards will be there.”
Such leading service providers as China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, and Telefonica (News - Alert) are now doing proof-of-concept testing with Alcatel-Lucent and its ecosystem members. A year ago Alcatel-Lucent established the CloudBand Ecosystem Program, an open community through which various service providers and vendors come together to share experiences, develop use cases and test products for interoperability. Today, this ecosystem has expanded to 30+ partners working on NFV workloads and use cases.
Speaking of partners, Alcatel-Lucent has close NFV and SDN alliances with leading chip company Intel (News - Alert) and open source pioneer Red Hat. The company is working with Intel on how to maximize performance and scale in cloud platforms, radio access network, and routing deployments. It’s collaborating with Red Hat (News - Alert) on the development of OpenStack, the open source code that will enable the integration of various software components in SDN and NFV scenarios.
Alcatel-Lucent also supports network operators via its Cloud Transformation Services, a portfolio of professional services to help service providers work through the business case, engineering, implementation, new service delivery, return on investment, and system integration aspects of their transformation into software telcos.
Portfolio: What’s Needed for the Journey
The Alcatel-Lucent portfolio includes:
- CloudBand NFV Platform: provides compute, storage, and a cloud orchestration and management system that manages cloud servers and server configurations.
- Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform: integrates with CloudBand to deliver an automated, robust, and programmable SDN network infrastructure that extends through the data center and across the WAN. Abstracting the underlying network layer and automating the network allows the distribution of network functions according to geographic demand.
- Motive Dynamic Operations: provides a path for meeting today's operational challenges of all-IP networks and tomorrow's promise of virtualized, software networks, designed to help bring new services to market quickly, keep pace with innovation, and capture the full potential of SDN and NFV.
- Virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) and IP Multimedia Systems (vIMS) solutions: these are virtualized versions of the company’s existing and proven EPC and IMS offerings. Multiple trials are under way for the solutions, which deliver high reliability, scalability, and APIs support – which service providers can use to fast track innovation and bridge the gap with web developers to create differentiated applications.
- All of these solutions can be used together, or individually, as they were designed as open platforms to work with Alcatel-Lucent and third-party solutions.
Service providers, Tilley explains, can use NFV and cloud-based technologies to improve the efficiency and flexibility of their networks. For example, in mobile operators’ new IP-based LTE (News - Alert) networks, some of the IMS and EPC functions can be run in a cloud environment, allowing for greater resource flexibility and resource utilization, as well as reliability due to resource distribution.
Whatever the deployment model, Alcatel-Lucent can help guide service providers in their network transformation journey.
Edited by Maurice Nagle