According to new research from IDC (www.idc.com), network virtualization is set to revolutionize the telecom industry as it transforms the culture and operational infrastructure, as well as the fabric of legacy proprietary infrastructures that have, until now, dominated the space.
As technologies and business dynamics continue to evolve, network virtualization strategies are reshaping the telecommunications ecosystem, says the research group. The shift to the third platform — built on cloud, mobile, social, and big data and analytics technologies — is driving communication service providers (CSPs) and their suppliers to accelerate their efficiencies and agility IT industry approaches and technologies such as virtualization, balanced with telecom industry business considerations are coming to the forefront of telecom industry dynamics.
Communication service providers and their suppliers are embracing the promise and opportunities related to network virtualization approaches, such as software-defined networks (SDNs) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
"Despite budget concerns and questions about the ability to execute on the network virtualization vision, CSPs, telecom vendors, and partners are all embracing potential opportunities," says Elisabeth Rainge, research vice president, Communications Service Provider. "Network virtualization for telecom represents some significant challenges, but the upside is extremely high. And, while not everyone will reap the benefits of this profound sea change (e.g., entrenched telecom equipment manufacturers), IDC sees an evolution of infrastructure that is already underway."
During the first half of 2014, a series of CSP and supplier announcements were made that provide concrete evidence of the maturity of CSP network virtualization. Because ongoing discussions emphasize the long-term visions for network functions virtualization, software-defined network, cloud, related IT technologies, and larger concepts of network virtualization, a clear picture of the status of CSP activities and potential activities can be challenging to discern. IDC's research in network virtualization will continue to examine and analyze progress towards network virtualization throughout the IT and communications ecosystem.
"Vendors will resort to network function virtualization and software-defined network architecture to catalyze use cases such as the voice over LTE (VoLTE) network evolution. However, with the talk of moving away from a 5-9s model in the name of service agility and flexibility, it remains to be seen whether and how NFV and SDN can ensure faster deployment while maintaining high standards of quality of experience (QoE)," says Sathya Atreyam, research manager, Wireless Network Infrastructure, IDC.