Happy New Year to you all. First, I’d like to share that I am grateful for your interest in my blog: this past year’s feedback turned out to be very encouraging, innovarista.org registered about 11,000 views and @innovarista shows in excess of 77,000 impressions in 2015.
These numbers are fairly modest and won’t “break the Internet” : ) but they do exceed initial expectations and fully justify the effort. Besides, I really enjoy all the conversations and emails that follow some of my posts, all incredibly insightful. That alone makes any time I spend on blogging worthwhile. Thanks again.
By the way, I picked up my new NOKIA badge just yesterday. I am proud to continue to work with some of most talented individuals and innovative teams in high tech. NFV, Network Functions Virtualization, and all the work with the Cloud Innovation Center remain my job’s main focus. Stay tuned.
One can only feel humbled about all of that as well as other very rewarding opportunities such as joining MIT’s and IIT’s Boards serving IDSS, a new Institute for Data, Systems and Society, and the Entrepreneurship Center respectively. I would also like to show my appreciation to those involved in IIT’s Real Time Communication conference and IEEE’s CQR, Communication Networks Quality & Reliability.
I took the above winter wonderland picture in my neighborhood. See you in Barcelona’s wormer climate at Mobile World Congress in just a few weeks.
Wishing you the best for 2016 and beyond!
“The real benefit to virtualization is that we no longer have to think about networks in the “fixed” sense. Virtualization is more about being able to dynamically change and scale the network based on the ebbs and flows of traffic on the network. So instead of experiencing a lack of capacity during specific times of the day in certain locations, you can ramp up the capacity when and where you need it to meet demand and quickly scale it back when it’s not needed. The building blocks for this architecture are IP and Cloud technology — both of which can be delivered “virtually” in a datacenter.”
If there is anything that everyone can agree about — it is that Cloud is here to stay. [Network operators] want to accelerate investment at both the heart of the network IP to Ultra-Broadband Access, either fixed or mobile […] we just announced at this show a new wireline offering called micro-nodes. These are similar to a mobile ‘small cells’ in that they bring fixed ultra-broadband closer to users to massively add capacity where it is needed. That is the truly surprising aspect of this industry. Innovation is happening everywhere — in the applications, in the cloud and certainly still in the network whether it is virtualized or not.”
We are gearing up for BBWF. Alcatel-Lucent’s booth will feature seven simultaneous demonstrations. I will be there at Area 3 Demo 1 to discuss VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) in the context of NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and the Carrier Cloud.
Long story short, our industry is fulfilling expectations on the so-called “the network is the platform” paradigm. This is now possible by adopting cloud computing technologies and opening what effectively become shared resource pools consumed on demand via API (Application Programmable Interfaces).
This model advances by taking down silos as vendors such as us (Alcatel-Lucent) and our partners can now rapidly deploy applications leveraging the same infrastructure and platforms.
Not amused yet? Compare that to lengthier and far complex conventional deployments where more expensive, tightly integrated software stacks and black boxes have come to depend on dedicated hardware and fragmented management, not to mention issues arising from redundant functions, overhead, mind boggling trouble shooting and poorly utilized systems negating ROA (Return on Assets).
Here is a quick teaser, these are some of the concepts I will address at BBWF:
- SOFTWARE CENTRIC – having decoupled control and data planes, application logic from service data, we are now immersed in a more dynamic an agile software defined service environment.
- OPEN & EXTENSIBLE – the network becomes an abstraction that is transparent to the developer, enabling the application to consume resources and leverage processes via API.
- MULTI-TENANT – the underlying fabric and resulting cloud communications platform allow for application multi-tenancy and achieve so under a multi-vendor’s best of bread model.
- AUTOMATED – a catalog presents applications which can be automatically onboarded via templates / recipes, then provisioned and deployed in no time.
- SCALABLE – applications, whether VNFs (Virtual Network Functions) or end user facing online services benefit from dynamic service chaining, meeting demand curves by growing and degrowing as needed.
- PROGRAMMABLE – programmability and context awareness drive the orchestration of events and resources involved in end to end lifecycle management, which then become subject to automation and iterative improvements.
- PLACEMENT – the efficient placement of loads entails analytics and algorithms understanding when is best to centralize and consolidate or to leverage distributed systems, all based on capacity management rules and SLA (Service Level Agreements).
- ECONOMICS – feature and performance parity are achieved under leaner and cost efficient operations, a smaller physical footprint, and significantly lower opportunity costs and, therefore, risks.
As Michel pointed out in the above interview, the telecommunications industry is no longer at a cross-road pondering what the future might entail. After having been involved in cloud projects for the past five years, it is clear that we are facing a point of no return, which is forcing a path forward. The industry’s cloud journey has already begun.
This is not about “drinking the Kool-Aid” and marketing spin. Most would agree that legacy systems that served the industry well can now lead to network bloatware and a patchwork, unable to gracefully scale as demand shifts. Many would also nod their heads when acknowledging that the above concepts are not really new to the telecommunications industry: them all have been broadly discussed in the past twenty years or so. But, this time around, current attempts benefit from dramatically different economics, a new ecosystem, lessons learned and proven IT models that are leading the way.
Given the fact that we are discussing emerging technologies and disruptive rather than incremental innovation, this is not without the usual challenges involving next generation systems. So, in our discussion we will also look at maturity levels, technology readiness, pivoting in the midst of market changes, talent, organizational behaviors and lessons learned, and I will be happy to discuss NFV economics.
AREA 3 DEMO 1 – VoLTE Innovation and Growth – What Services to Launch.
“Alcatel-Lucent’s market-leading Cloud Communications Platform combines proven, robust VoLTE performance together with open innovation based on the emergence of new technologies such as WebRTC and IMS APIs. Complementing the solution, Alcatel-Lucent also brings a dynamic ecosystem of developers who use our Web Developer Portal and Sandbox to develop and test new compelling applications and services.”
“For this Broadband World Forum edition we have especially selected some of those apps for you. Come see Alcatel-Lucent’s “VoLTE Innovation and Growth” demonstration and embark on a new communications journey of competitive, innovative apps that enrich the subscribers’ broadband experience (fixed & mobile), thereby helping you to deliver new services to the market faster and make the shift to today’s data-dominant revenues. Through this demonstration you will see with our Cloud Communications Platform how you can:
- Use Network APIs to enrich VoLTE service with added features
- Use WebRTC client APIs to extend VoLTE service to the web (second screen such as a tablet, PC, TV, etc.)
- Mix Client and Network-side APIs to integrate Communications into Business Process (Communications as a Feature) and deliver an integrated CRM experience across Fixed and Mobile (Saleforce.com integration).”
AREA 3 DEMO 2 – Dynamic Services with NFV and SDN.
“To gain competitive advantage, service providers are continually looking for creative services and enhanced service options. NFV provides the opportunity to dynamically deploy new functionality without causing service disruption or CPE change. The demo will show how services can be rapidly composed, deployed and modified (service chaining) and how they are automatically scaled up to meet surges in demand. It will demonstrate how the network adapts automatically in tune with the changing service requests highlighting the value of integrated NFV and SDN.”
See you in Amsterdam : )
Alcatel-Lucent’s Naperville team fostered our partnership with Illinois Tech (the Illinois Institute of Technology) by joining an impressive list of sponsors and contributing with speakers to the Real-Time Communications Conference’s 10th Anniversary. As in past editions, Carol Davids, Conference Chair, and her team managed to deliver one of the best regarded technical events in this fast evolving space.
His presentation was centered around a live demonstration illustrating a step-by-step deployment of a sophisticated end-to-end solution comprised of an EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) with both being onboarded in real time as VNFs (Virtual Network Functions) on a CloudBand Node.
The node performed as a multi-app-tenancy environment and is equipped to be set up in a highly distributed architecture. CloudBand is also well known by its Management System, this is the common platform orchestrating and automating the VNFs’ life cycle. I will refer you to ETSI NFV Use Case #5 on the Virtualization of the Mobile Core and IMS if interested in more background information about the demo’s purpose.
The end result was a live VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) service that network operators can now deploy and right scale at a fraction of the time when compared to conventional architectures. Ted was then able to browse the internet and make a voice call using 4G’s mobile broadband capabilities and IP (Internet Protocol) on the spot.
This demonstration also illustrated NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and SDN (Software Defined Networking) working together as other applications were added, such as Anti-Virus and Parental Controls to name two examples. Traffic was dynamically routed to best manage network capacity.
Ted’s talk was one of the highlights of the Cloud Track, which I co-chaired with Alan Quayle and greatly benefited from Warren Bent’s tireless support, the conference’s Content Director.
Ed Elkin, Anne Lee and myself delivered talks in break out sessions covering VoLTE, WebRTC and NFV respectively.
Vijay Gurbany and I also joined well followed panel discussions.Vijay spoke at the Cloud/SDN/Big Data session and I participated in the one moderated by Light Reading’s Elizabeth Coyne with:
- AT&T’s Mike Paradise
- Vonage’s Alan Bugos
- Allianza’s Ryan Higgings
Our panel was preceded by three 15 minute context setting presentations and the actual discussion dealt with the following 15 items:
- Are telcos right to be concerned about performance in a virtualized world?
- What can be, or is being, done to mitigate those concerns?
- What technologies are in the pipeline that will help address performance concerns?
- Can open platforms provide the requisite security for a telco environment?
- Does their open nature make them more vulnerable? What are the implications of openness?
- In a virtualized world, is the reliability of software more important than the underlying hardware’s reliability?
- How does open source help the cause?
- How are scalability issues being addressed?
- Is it more of a hardware or a software issue?
- How will the evolution of NFV colliding with movement towards the cloud play out?
- What are the most critical implementation issues when deploying VNFs?
- Will network PoP be easily transformed into data centers?
- How can data center operators ensure the feedback loop to support service guarantees?
- Do telcos have the skill set to be able to support NFV?
- Do you think that NFV, along with SDN, is an opportunity for architects to think about networking differently?
Here is a quick note to share that Elizabeth recently launched The New IP. Light Reading’s new site focuses on the business of managing and orchestrating state-of-the-art virtualized IP networks. The blogging team includes other well known industry analysts such as Ari Banerjee, Caroline Chappell, Tom Nolle, Carol Wilson and Ray Le Maistre to name some.
By the way, a big thank you to those of you who followed my session on NFV Economics after having to reschedule from Tuesday’s “prime time lineup” to Thursday’s “last talk of the conference” due to a last minute scheduling conflict on my side.
I would also like to thank Nokia Network’s Andrew N. Rollins most sincerely for his very kind introduction, which I am humbled by, and for allowing this business case talk to take 60 minutes given the attendees’ interest (instead of just using the 30 minute slot set for this session).
Post event feedback was very positive given the speakers’ credentials and, most importantly, the high quality of the talks and follow up discussions throughout this three day professional gathering at IIT’s facility. This conference was a source of insights worth sharing and deserving blogging some more, which I am hoping to do in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’d like to refer you to:
- Alan Quayle’s blog: IIT RTC Conference 2014 Summary.
- Chad’s WebRTCHacks’ blog: Building Consensus on WebRTC Q&A with W3C Editor Dan Burnett.
- IIT’s event site: Real Time Communications Conference & Expo.
I also need to thank Tom Costello, who is in charge of the conference’s Public Relations, for his support, understanding and patience as well as congratulate peer conference chairs for what turned out to be successful event raising the bar and expectations for next year’s XI edition : )
- Mobile Networks, Platforms and Applications – Maureen Stillman, Mission Critical Wireless, and Chris Mayer, Solstice Technical Consulting.
- Web & Emerging Technologies – Alan Johnston, Avaya.
- Next Gen 9-1-1 and Regulatory Policy – Bernard Adoba, Microsoft.
- Internet of Things – Sateesh Adepally, Cisco.
I’m posting this without further delay and will get back to add some more hyperlinks later on.