This post is by David Noguer Bau, Head of Solutions Marketing EMEA. Juniper Networks
There are no prizes for guessing the hot topics at the Broadband World Forum will include Software Defined Networks (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). This has certainly been the case as I have travelled across Europe, the Middle East and Africa speaking directly to service providers. This is echoed by my colleague Brian Levy, CTO EMEA Service Provider Sector in his conversations. Last week I caught up with Brian to compare notes.
First off customers want to cut through the hype surrounding SDN and NFV. They just want to get to the basics; What is SDN? What does it mean for Service Providers? And what does it enable a service provider to do for their customers?
We both agree that genuine use-cases help people understand the advantages of SDN/NFV. For example we talk about the ability for SP’s to generate new revenues by providing more agile services on top of the traditional connectivity. One example is to virtualise certain network functions which can transform the enterprise CPE into a virtual CPE (vCPE). We also talk about how SDN helps service providers insert themselves in the cloud value chain. By highlighting the value of the network allied to the intelligence SDN extracts and an end-to-end service wrap with a single point of contact, with the necessary compliance to have data in the right place, SP’s begin to see how they can develop new value propositions.
But the most surprising topic of discussion is not rooted in technology; the impact SDN/NFV has on the traditional organisational structure of service providers can be a barrier to its adoption. Is it the responsibility of the CTO or CIO organization? Will it lead, as Brian Levy postulates, to the creation of a CTIO or CITO type function? This is fascinating and is fundamental to the kind of culture change that SDN is likely to encourage.
One thing is for sure, all the most recent surveys and all our face to face discussions point to one thing; it’s not a matter of if Service Providers will deploy SDN and NFV but a matter of when. But decisions still need to be made. How far will your organisation embrace SDN/NFV? Do you see it as a means to reducing operating costs or do you have the vision to see it enables new revenue generating services to be introduced?
Brian and I share the opinion that service providers that don’t create an organisation that is capable of embracing this technology in the next few years are really going to lose out. SDN will be the platform to enable much greater network efficiencies and scalability and can also offer a greater potential to create new services for your customers.
Watch the conversation I had with Brian in this six minute video where we share more of our experiences of what service providers are telling us about SDN.
So, time to get your organization ready to talk about SDN. Why not start your conversation with us at Broadband World Forum?