“NFV holds the key for cost efficient delivery of managed services”


Driven by a number of benefits around better manageability, flexibility of operations and operational cost efficiency, today there are large number of organizations that are looking at critical IT network functions such as routers, firewall, intrusion detections systems among others to be virtualized.

Moving forward there is huge potential for CSPs to outsource the operation of those network functions with existing connectivity customers. With its focus around Ethernet network interface space, ADVA is in an ideal position to become a catalyst of this network transformation. Ulrich Kohn, Director Technical Marketing, ADVA Optical Networking speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about NFV and what innovations are being driven by ADVA in this space.


Why NFV is important for telecom ecosystems and networks today..??

NFV changes the way how communication service providers design and build their networks. Network functions which were implemented with dedicated hardware devices can now be provided by software appliances running on standard servers. This simplifies the network, increases the flexibility and also reduces the number of different network elements. NFV also allows our customers to extend the services portfolio which they are offering to business customers.

Today communication service providers frequently offer connectivity services. As IT network functions such as routers, firewall, intrusion detections systems among others can be virtualized, there is significant potential for a communication service provider to outsource the operation of those network functions with existing connectivity customers. NFV is the key for cost efficient delivery of those managed services.

What is the big role of ADVA in this segment..??

ADVA has a market leading position with Ethernet network interface devices. Those network elements build the demarcation between the networks of communication service providers and enterprises. The introduction of NFV moves this demarcation deeper into the enterprise IT network as communication service providers outsource IT functions.

Hence, our network elements will require providing new features such as programmability, integrated server and storage interfaces to open source virtual infrastructure management systems among others. With our recently launched ProVM and ProNID solution portfolio for NFV network we are well positioned to build on our historically strong position with demarcation technologies and to set the benchmark for NFV edge devices.

Where are the future opportunities with regards to NFV..?

Today, most customers are interested in our NFV portfolio as they start to replace dedicated hardware on a customer premise by software appliances. Our network elements allow them to run those appliances right in the network element but we also support hosting of those virtual network functions in the cloud with a specially optimized demarcation technology.

In the future we will see a similar technology to be applied in connectivity networks in the Internet of Things, which will require server capability at the edge of a network for processing and storing of data gathered from a high number of sensors. We also see increasing interest in NFV with radio access networks and we have optimized our products for this emerging NFV use case.

Even enterprise networks talk about NFV and SDN today…what kind of trends do you see in this space today…?

We assume that large enterprises will apply this technology in a very similar way as communication service providers. The introduction of NFV with smaller companies will frequently be part of a managed services deal.

What are some of the challenges that lie a ahead towards the road to NFV…?

The ETSI NFV architecture is a blue print, which describes an end-game scenario. There is a lot of specification and system integration work to be done until such architecture becomes real. We will need to define a smooth path towards this architecture, which allows our customers to benefit from NFV at an early stage even without having the full architecture in place. We see significant business opportunities for early adaptors with a pragmatic approach which selects a subset of the functionality of what a full blown NFV network can provide.

Many operators have very strong legacy systems…how can they embrace next gen NFV solutions?

The introduction of NFV adds new functionality to existing, legacy networks. Initially we will see management and orchestration being supported by legacy management systems for the existing network elements and new management systems such as virtual infrastructure managers (VIM) will handle the new NFV infrastructure elements.

Such parallel management system might be a good way for operators to seamlessly develop the skills of their operational staff. We as a supplier work on respective management solutions which over time migrate to a single system for management and orchestration.