“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 : )