There was a lot of buzz around the state of NFV at the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress held in Dusseldorf last week. Both operators and vendors had a lot to say about NFV, but one thing was certain; going back to old way of deploying network functions using proprietary hardware is not going to happen. And although NFV is nearing its third birthday, according DTAG’s Axel Clauberg, it’s really going through puberty right now, which provided everyone in the audience a pretty good mental picture of where the technology was at this time. Some of the recurring points brought up in the conference included:
If social media is any indication of how far along NFV has come, then it seems to be making progress. Prodip Sen, Director-CTO of NFV for HP, cited some Twitter stats on the buzz around NFV for 2015:
But, even with all the hype around NFV, there were some words of warning to not oversell the technical maturity of the “NFV movement.” Noel Foret, VP at Orange cautioned that overestimated near term NFV savings and having them not materialize could lead to cuts in investment.
And, while the technology continues to improve, what about the human side of the NFV equation? NFV will be extremely disruptive to the existing work flows operators currently employ in creating, managing, charging and delivering services to their customers. This theme is reaffirmed by a recent TM Forum survey that Jim Metzler cited in a Dialogic sponsored white paper, “NFV Applications – Key Considerations for Profitability” which indicated two of the leading business related inhibitors to the broad adoption of NFV are the need to reskill the employee base, and the need to make organizational changes.
TM Forum Study on inhibitors to NFV deployment
So, what do service providers say vendors should be doing when it comes to NFV? From the presentations I attended and the one-on-one discussions with service providers the message is to continue to “cloudify” your offerings because NFV will continue to gain momentum over the next few months. After all, how long does puberty last? Tell us what you think - tweet us your comments at @Dialogic.