April 26, 2016
It seems as if we’ve barely had a moment to catch our collective breaths between tearing down our booth at last week’s Layer 123 NFV World Congress in San Jose and setting up at this week’s OpenStack Summit a few states away in Austin. Even amidst the ‘helter skelter’ of executing these consecutive events, we did manage to take a bit of time to notice this report that Light Reading recently published – “NFV Coming, Ready or Not” and this rather sobering assessment from one of the authors:
Interesting, then, that the emotion most evident during my conversations with service providers in 2016 hasn’t been giddy euphoria, but anxiety. CSPs are right to be cautious. Attempts in 2015 to launch commercial services based on NFV did not always go well, and there is a clear consensus amongst first movers that vendors have significantly overstated the network savings that can be achieved by deploying today’s NFV solutions.
Trying times to be sure, perhaps not at the levels of Thomas Paine’s American Crisis (these are the times that try men’s souls…), but challenging nonetheless. Optimistically, we might argue that this is the natural ebb-and-flow of a new technology adoption cycle. Indeed, Garter has already declared (nearly two years ago) that NFV is now making its descent down the “trough of disillusionment” where “…interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver.” Sound familiar?
Whatever the case, it’s clear that various interest groups behind the NFV movement needs to deliver some wins, sooner the better lest they face further slings and arrows of naysayer scrutiny. Rest in peace, William Shakespeare, btw. Well, the good news is that the industry didn’t have to wait that long for that win. In fact, on the very first day of the OpenStack Summit Verizon execs stood on stage to announce a major OpenStack-based NFV deployment across five of its data centers. Verizon touted that the project was also a major win for a number of its technology partners who were able to deliver on the many promises of NFV such as resiliency at scale, elimination of bandwidth bottlenecks, flexibility of logical network design, and reduced operational complexity. We especially liked this quote from Verizon about the project success: “We consider this achievement to be foundational for building the Verizon cloud that serves our customers’ needs anywhere, anytime, any app.”
Hey, that’s our line: Any App, Any Cloud, Any Scale.
The OpenStack Foundation understandably jumped on the Verizon win as a major breakthrough for this open-source cloud software. The narrative has gone as far as the Foundation’s executive director declaring that NFV was the “killer use case” for OpenStack cloud technology. Pretty bold considering that early two-thirds of all OpenStack deployments are still among enterprise IT sites while telecom deployments sit currently at 14%.
However, if you listen to AT&T, this percentage is likely to ratchet up quickly.
Old school data and telecom center methods simply can’t keep up with our raging hunger for 4G, never mind the burdens of handling 5G data. How heavy a networking load is it? Sorabh Saxena, AT&T’s senior vice president for Software Development & Engineering, said, “AT&T is already handling 114 petabytes a day of data”. It’s only going to get worse, much worse. Saxena said that “AT&T’s network traffic is expected to jump tenfold through 2020.
If the NFV industry can deliver practical solutions for major challenges such as AT&T’s, the gloomy conversations that Light Reading has been having with operators recently should lighten up significantly. No doubt that certain questions and obstacles do remain such as multi-vendor interoperability and carrier-grade worthiness of open-source technologies.
The good news is that overcoming both of these challenges is the raison d’etre of RIFT.io. After all, our product was born to enable telcos, mobile operators and even enterprises launch any number of virtual network functions on any cloud they choose, including OpenStack. As for carrier-grade of open-source, we need to look no further than major telco operators choosing our product and code specifically to be an integral part of the recently launched Open Source MANO initiative.
Not that we’re necessarily fishing for plaudits for all this hard work, but it was nice for our product RIFT.ware to be recognized by Light Reading as a finalist in the Best New Telecom Product category of the upcoming Leading Lights Awards.
Good luck to the other worthy finalists, but we know who we’re pulling for.