Out with the old — in with the new! Gone are the days when vendors and suppliers are able to lock in communications service providers (CSPs) with expensive equipment, complex hardware, closed software systems and the related layers of expense associated with inflexible technology.
In the old world, rolling out a new service required months or even years of work on business models that called for a heavy and risky capex investment, removing old equipment, replacing it with new equipment, and loading up “walled garden” software and licensing fees that went with it.
In the new world, CSPs are calling the shots and insisting on more interoperable, more easily integrated off-the-shelf hardware and software platforms that are able to support new voice, video, messaging, edge, 5G, and Internet of Things (IoT) services along with the ability to quickly scale up or down and extend their reach to meet growing consumer and enterprise demands.
That’s why it makes sense for every supplier to build their technology on openness — not to “open source” all their software, since they would lose differentiation and competitiveness if they did so. By participating in open frameworks, suppliers can dramatically reduce the pain and cost of integrations for the CSPs they serve. This is one of the vital drivers of bringing about the benefits of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), which include more efficient and automated networks, new service agility and reduced costs.
In today’s advanced open network environment, software appliances easily extend network capabilities to the edge and outside geographies much faster, and with far less complication. Open protocols and open-source software platforms for network functions and controls enable operators to modernize their networks for new differentiated services and drastically improves existing ones.
We’re still at the beginning of this sea change in our industry and many vendors are collaborating closely with their service provider customers and other leaders in the open community, including Red Hat, Intel, Ribbon Communications, the Linux Foundation and others. Many of these suppliers are working closely together to apply their respective deep knowledge and experience in the area of software-based technology to help their customers transform their network architectures. Collectively, these vendors are committed to bringing about the benefits of being “open” while enabling service providers to differentiate their offerings with unique virtual network functions capabilities. This includes Session Border Controllers (SBCs) for edge and managed services applications such as virtual and universal customer premises equipment (vCPE, uCPE) with SBC-as-a-Service (SBCaaS).
For example, Verizon recently introduced a virtualized SBCaaS offering to help enterprises dynamically respond to seasonal demands in a truly elastic operating expense model, helping them better manage their costs, adjust to changing business needs and reduce their reliance on dedicated network hardware and their potential points of network failure.
SBCs are a vital component of IP-based infrastructure and by virtualizing and offering it as a service, Verizon is providing enterprises with a new way to compete in the global marketplace.
This is just one of many examples of how CSPs are rolling out innovative new services with virtualized technology. As NFV continues to mature and becomes even more widely deployed, it — along with more open approaches and mandates for open interoperability by service providers — will deliver high-performance networks with edge computing that are more elastic, more scalable and more adaptable than ever. This will result in dramatically improved automation with new and improved services compared to networks built from traditional networking equipment and legacy software running that equipment.
It is extremely vital to the success of NFV for technology vendors to work together with adjacent partners to collectively push the envelope to bring to CSPs the latest in virtualized software solutions designed to help them differentiate their offerings more effectively in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
It has taken many years and significant investment by CSPs and vendors to move NFV deployments from concept to strategy to lab trials to proof of concepts and beta deployments into what is now becoming pervasive solutions in production networks. If we continue to invest together, now with more mature open source communities, we will be investing wisely in a more open, interoperable future.
Sanjay Bhatia is VP of solutions marketing and strategy at Ribbon Communications.
Filed Under: Infrastructure, IoT • IIoT • internet of things • Industry 4.0