Sri Lanka Telecom: “Softwarization will play the major role in all future technologies”

Anuradha UdunuwaraBroadband World Forum researcher Sarah Bailey talks SDN and NFV (or, as he would have it, “softwarization”) with Sri Lanka Telecom engineer Anuradha Udunuwara…

Sarah Bailey: What are the drivers for and technology trends behind SDN (Software-defined networking) and NFV (Network-function virtualization) and how will telcos benefit?

Anuradha Udunuwara: Rather than confining this to SDN and NFV, I would like to consider the question under the broad term ‘softwarization’: the next telco transformation.

It’s very important that operators understand this correctly. While the vendors may push operators to start deploying pieces of the puzzle, it’s important that telcos don’t evaluate technologies in isolation, but always consider the big picture. The main short term drive for SDN/NFV/Softwarization is the CAPEX/OPEX/TCO reduction. However, the long term driver is the hunt for new revenues.

How is the industry moving towards a more open and transparent approach to virtualization?

Virtualization as a concept and as a practically deployed solution is very mature and stable. However, there is still significant confusion surrounding the management, control and orchestration of VNFs with the view of end-to-end services.

It’s not clear to me whether this industry has a clear and unified understanding of VNF (Virtualized Network Function) management and orchestration. However, it’s obvious that the vendors take open approaches (in terms of APIs and software), but these approaches may not always be transparent.

What will be the role of SDN and NFV on the road to 5G?

My prediction is: SDN/NFV/Softwarization will play the major role in all future technologies; not only 5G.

What are the telco opportunities for SDN in data centre and big data management?

SDN was started inside data centres (DCs) and is now moving to telco networks. SDN is quite mature in the DC.

Big data requires big DCs. Considering the rate at which data grows and the different management requirements, SDN/softwarization will certainly help operators to build, maintain and operate large numbers of cost effective DCs with unified management.

What are the challenges of effectively managing NFV infrastructure and how will MANO enable this?

The effective management of NFV infrastructure is critical for any operator. And not only virtual infrastructure: they’ll have to manage physical infrastructure as well. This also includes legacy and NGN stuff. With regard to services, network and business, we need orchestration also at different levels. MANO is expected to achieve this.

Anuradha Udunuwara will be participating in an interactive discussion at this year’s Broadband World Forum: ‘Assessing the Viability of SDx. Moving from Networking to Software- Defined Compute, Storage and Security.’

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