At last week’s MEF16 event, which took place from November 7-10 in Baltimore, the industry gathered to discuss emerging themes in today's hyper-connected world. However, this year’s edition of the annual global networking event comes at an interesting time as service providers are making big decisions on how to manage their networks going forward.
As you are probably well aware, communication networks are currently undergoing a dramatic transformation as a result of customers’ increasing demand for data services. In order to accommodate this soaring need, service providers are beginning to integrate SDN and NFV infrastructure into their existing networks to deliver self-service, cloud-connect, and on-demand services.
Although this next-gen virtual infrastructure promises unparalleled service agility and elasticity, a way of monitoring, analyzing, and managing these services efficiently over multi-domain and multi-vendor networks needs to be established in order to realize its full benefits.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the discourse of the MEF16 primarily focused around Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) and furthering the development of MEF’s “Third Network” vision, which is based on “network-as-a-service principles, and enables agile networks to deliver assured connectivity services orchestrated across network domains between physical and virtual service endpoints.”
For CENX, the four-day conference, which was attended by over 1,000 telco professionals, provided us with the opportunity to meet with analysts, service providers, and other vendors to exchange ideas and keep an ear to the ground on key trends within the industry.
A recurring topic that emerges when speaking with analysts as of late has been closed-loop automation. Traditionally, fulfillment and assurance have been two independent processes. However, in order for virtualization to be successful, these processes need to merge to be able to create new services, modify them, and optimize utilization resources. Essentially, assurance capabilities, which monitor performance data, become the backbone upon which fulfillment is able to be carried out. This kind of automation is exactly where services providers can potentially reap the benefits of NFV/SDN and aligns perfectly with the LSO vision.
Additionally, as witnessed during the various presentations throughout the event, numerous service providers have expressed their desire to speed the innovation process and reduce the time to onboard new technologies. In the case of virtualization, the technology has become very attractive to service providers as it presents an opportunity to drive new revenue sources, reduce opex, and improve service agility. As a result, spinning up new applications has become a focal point for operators, with the need to assure them quickly following.
With that being said, the road map to having virtualization become completely adopted is not a simple one. While there is little doubt that virtualization is the way of the future, the conference also served as a bit of a reality check as it was made apparent that the majority of networks are still physical and will be for some years to come. Therefore, for the time being the key to efficiency will be managing this hybrid scenario effectively, which is exactly what CENX’s Exanova solution can help service providers do.
Learn how service assurance is the key enabler for NFV