There’s been a lot of hype and even more uncertainty related to “Carrier SDN” and in particular the use of Open Flow protocol in carrier networks – between a centralized control plane entity and data plane entities residing in “packet forwarding” engines built from commodity silicon with minimal software intelligence. Many carriers are interested in the ETSI NFV work, which will NOT produce any standard or specifications. This author has been contacted by several network operators to assess their NFV plans (please note that such consulting is not free of charge). As ETSI NFV will make contributions to ITU-T SG13 work on future networks, it may be several years before any implementable standard (ITU Recommendation) is produced.
For its just released SDN and NFV Strategies survey, Infonetics Research interviewed network operators around the globe, which together represent ~53% of the world’s telecom capex and operating revenue. The objective of the survey was to determine the timing and priority of the many use cases for their software-defined network (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) projects.
SDN And NFV Strategies Survey Highlights:
- Virtually all major operators are either evaluating SDNs now or plan to do so within the next 3 years
- SDN and NFV evaluation and deployments are being driven by carriers’ desire for service agility resulting in quicker time to revenue and operational efficiency
- The top 5 network domains named by operators when asked where they plan to deploy SDNs and NFV by 2014: Within data centers, between data centers, operations and management, content delivery networks (CDNs), and cloud services
- 86% of operators are confident they will deploy SDN and NFV technology in their optical transport networks as well at some point, once standards are finalized
- Study participants rated Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), and virtual routers/security gateways as the top applications for NFV
“For the most part, carriers are starting small with their SDN and NFV deployments, focusing on only parts of their network, what we call ‘contained domains,’ to ensure they can get the technology to work as intended,” explains Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks at Infonetics Research.
“But momentum for more widespread use of SDN and NFV is strong, as evidenced by the vast majority of operators participating in our study who plan to deploy the technologies in key parts of their networks, from the core to aggregation to customer access,” Howard adds. “Even so, we believe it’ll be many years before we see bigger parts or a whole network controlled by SDNs.”
About The Survey:
Infonetics’ July 2013 27-page SDN and NFV survey is based on interviews with purchase-decision makers at 21 incumbent, competitive and independent wireless operators from EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Asia Pacific and North America that have evaluated SDN projects or plan to do so. Infonetics asked operators about their strategies and timing for SDN and NFV, including deployment drivers and barriers, target domains and use cases, and suppliers. The carriers participating in the study represent more than half of the world’s telecom revenue and capex.
To learn more about the report, contact Infonetics:
- Video interview with Infonetics’ co-founder Michael Howard on What’s really driving demand for SDN/NFV
- SDN and NFV: Survey of Articles Comparing and Contrasting
- Move Over SDN – NFV Taking the Spotlight – Cisco Blog
- Subtle SDN/NFV Data Points
- “Service Provider SDN” Network Virtualization and the ETSI NFV ISG
- The Impact on Your IT Department of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)
- SDNs and NFV: Why Operators Are Investing Now (archived webinar):