The NFV Revolution & Evolution: There Is No Turning Back

The NFV Revolution & Evolution: There Is No Turning Back

May 2nd, 2017
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Will network design in the future be as easy as spinning up Virtual Machines, and will launching new services take days or even hours, not months or even years?

This is the promise of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and the value proposition of Software Defined Networking (SDN).

According to industry analysts, it takes CSPs an average of 9 - 18 months to launch a new service on existing appliance-based networks.

In the meantime, it takes an average of 11 seconds for new services to be launched on the Amazon cloud.

CSPs require one administrator for every 100 servers.

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Amazon's average is one administrator for every 15,000 servers.

The inevitability of real-time communications networks to move to the cloud, following on the phenomenally successful move of a majority of computing and applications to the cloud, is a reality service providers understand - and have embraced.

While the transformation from "hardwired" and "big iron" networks to cloud-based virtualized networks with software centricity hasn't been easy, overall the transformation is well underway with billions being spent for all the right reasons. Among those reasons? Less expensive to operate. More agile to build and deploy new services. Easier to maintain. And those are just the "internal" benefits for service providers. The pressure to operate networks more cost efficiently while also ensuring those networks are secure from increasing vulnerabilities has driven, in our experience the NFV "Revolution."

Network transformation to a software environment is no longer an option for any CSP of scale who wishes to compete in the hyper-connected, hyper-digital world. As a leader in transformation to NFV, cloud-based, distributed IP networking, and a trusted partner to most of the world's CSPs and the systems integrators who support them, we have been in a unique position to support these companies together with our partner ecosystem including HPE, Intel, Red Hat and more.

We've been literally helping service providers "replace the plumbing" and "upgrade the electric" in their networks, leveraging our deep experience in IP session management, network security, network interconnection and interoperability, and over 350 patents.

The transformation from equipment to software is a journey we began many years ago, moving our switching, security, and session management software sets into "software loads" that work brilliantly on Intel-based architecture, or servers of the service providers' choice. GENBAND is known for its expertise in disrupting legacy systems and creating and rolling out IP-based systems, which is how we got our start over a decade ago. So, it's no wonder that we continue to lead in moving away from our own "ironworks" into the virtualized and cloud world, where billions of sessions can continue to grow - and be protected and delivered resiliently and reliably - as the real-time communications industry propels forwards.

In fact, the pressure coming from the mass adoption of consumer and business applications that are increasingly cloud-native, is what has contributed to the requirement for service providers to move up to the cloud, or to the clouds - public, private and hybrid.

With the Revolution Well Underway, Where Does the Evolution Stand? 

Follow the money! This is where the often challenging and grueling revolution (transforming old networks to new) starts to truly pay off. Cost savings! Network Efficiencies! Revenue opportunities - even bigger. 

1. Real-time communications services can be consumed as easily as cloud applications are today - subscribe and go! 

2. Networks can be designed more easily with consoles that allow "network designers" to create their service networks or network slices, including secure private networks based on applications requirements - no more backlog in the "network engineering" department 

3. With provisioning possible within seconds, not hours, days, weeks, or months, services can be launched with connectivity "embedded" - this is a significant sea-change for our industry because connectivity can now be bundled with applications, and no longer considered an "afterthought" 

4. Because NFV networks are all software driven, the ability to see into these networks, understand the performance, isolate issues is vastly improved - network analytics may one day be as easy and convenient as Google analytics for the web! 

5. Real-time modifications in the network are much easier 

6. Automation of certain network functions can be programmed, including adding Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the backend to "observe the network" based on policy, requiring fewer humans to manage "Network Operating Centers" which are giving way to Network Management Services, another great new revenue opportunity for CSPs as they approach their enterprise customers with new offerings (replacing "maintenance" and other revenue sources that are evaporating) 

And That's Not All! 

Far above and beyond operational improvements for the CSPs, the EVOLUTION will open up the floodgates for creativity and "digital agility" and the development of new services for consumers and enterprises, including in the exploding world of the Internet of Things (IoT)

Kandy is a perfect example. GENBAND has invested for over three years in developing cloud-based real-time communications services, which our customers are rolling out every day to consumers (including OTT mobile messaging apps) and businesses (including large scale cloud-based collaboration and contact center applications, platforms and systems). We know what is possible because we have invested in doing what seemed impossible years ago - and we prevailed. 

With our award-winning Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) that can easily be “bolted on” to NFV networks, and our disruptive "Wrappers" - complete voice, video and messaging software that has been packaged so completely it can be simply embedded into an application or an offering in a matter of minutes or days. 

Our NFV solutions enable mobile, fixed Cable MSO and interconnect companies to increase their new services velocity at cloud scale, leveraging software-centric offerings from core and edge data centers. 

Our high performance, "Carrier Grade" NFV solutions for global service providers include a distributed Advanced Control Software (ACS) Virtual Network Functions (VNF) for Session Border Controllers (SBCs), Advanced Media Software (AMS), VNF for Voice over LTE and fixed network media interworking and transcoding, Media Control VNF for IMS MRFC & MGCF, an Analytics VNF, Kandy Cloud Communications VNFs and an Intelligent Messaging VNF. 

Our offering also includes a VNF Manager for lifecycle management, automation and elasticity of GENBAND and third party VNFs.

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GENBAND NFV solutions are fully geo distributed, elastically scalable, cloud native offerings with micro-services. Our elastically scalable cloud-based media interworking and transcoding Advanced Media Software VNF provides for high capacity and geo-distributed media transcoding in the telco cloud at better than appliance performance and are easily interworked into Open Management and Network Organization (MANO environments). 

We could have never developed the technology we have today without the input of literally dozens of the world's largest CSPs, and hundreds of ecosystem partners, channel partners and large global enterprises. We have counted, as well, on the creativity and experience of our developers and R&D teams, and the industry analysts whose guidance has been tremendously useful in building out not only the technical but business approach to enabling a transformation we will look back on and recognize as nothing short of tectonic. 

I am looking forward to learning more and hearing others perspectives on where the state of the industry is with regards to NFV at this year’s NFV World Congress in San Jose, California. I will be updating several industry analysts and media on the role GENBAND is playing – so if you’re going to be at the show drop me a note at sanjay.bhatia@genband.com  – I would love to meet up.

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