SDN Solutions: A 360 Snapshot of Considerations




As progress continues with Software-defined Networks (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), there are several different approaches that are triggered by markets you are serving and how success is defined.   This could be in the form of CAPEX / OPEX savings, new revenue streams, and the ability to increase market share via emerging companies.

As service providers look at legacy networks and systems, including new revenue sources, there is still more work required on the CAPEX savings side of the house. The approaches will vary by different use cases for Global Carriers, MSO’s, Mobile Operators, Data Centers, and others in the Communications Industry – a 360 degree perspective looking at all areas of focus are key to long-term success.

There are three (3) things for consideration when looking for SDN solutions for your business from a carrier perspective:

1. Emerging trend for carriers and manufacturers

Consider network virtualization industry trends in this space.  B2B companies demand solutions that easily integrate into their networks and scale using SDN/NFV technology. This requires an intelligent enterprise service bus coupled with new technology for both legacy applications and new applications.

To stay competitive in today’s SDN/NFV communications marketplace, you need to offer technical solutions that provide network and operational efficiencies while at the same time creating new revenue opportunities. Taking a holistic approach and ensuring that you provide centralized management, automation (all the way thru self-service), strong network visibility, with security safeguards and policies, is essential foundation work. Generating new revenue streams require speed, flexibility, and scalability from both platform and systems.  Advanced SDN / NFV solutions allow clients to leverage virtualization technologies to inject service agility into their operations. Once the framework / platform is built, future services (IoT) can be layered on top more efficiently.

2. Use Cases and ROI (balance of cost savings and revenue enablement) with POCs

Understand your use cases and goals for success. Key to this topic is the collaboration of people, process and technology with a balance of providing an ROI for enhancing the customer experience.  This starts with aligning your suppliers/partners and your cross functional teams with a short-term plan to demonstrate a tangible outcome.  Including a product roadmap for future services is a must!

There are several moving parts with SDN/NFV implementations which could include both Southbound integration with suppliers/vendor equipment) and Northbound (orchestration layer connecting various OSS/BSS systems and customer portals for self-service and activations).

Below is a partial list of use cases that are ever-evolving:

  • Mobility Virtualization W/ OSS/BSS Integration
  • Virtual CPE and Service Enhancements
  • SDN & NFV with Service Orchestration
  • WAN Optimization & Innovation
  • Policy Driven Application Provisioning & Delivery
  • Dynamic Bandwidth & Network Access

3. Planning now so you are ready in 2016 

Plan ahead with consideration of budget, technology, people, process, and end-to- end integration.  Here is a list of things you absolutely want to consider for your SDN/NFV strategy:

  1. How will this new service create new markets or impact my existing base (i.e. cannibalism)?
  2. Will this service grow significant market share while optimizing my cost structure and at what level of adoption and pace?
  3. Will this service enhance the customer experience through self service automation?
  4. Balance ROI with cost savings and provide a platform for future services (not yet developed)?
  5. Define different go-to-market strategies that align with network and operational excellence.
  6. Whether in-house or working with a partner, think about simple user interfaces for your customers and customers’ clients.

A 360 view of all these moving parts will help create a positive outcome for the POC’s and future deployment.

If you are in the communications industry and want to continue the discussion on SDN/NFV deployment, let’s set up a time for an introduction to share further our experience in the SDN/NFV space.  We can discuss strategic partnerships or our SDx360 SDN Solution.