The goal of this research was to gain a better understanding of the following questions:
- What are communication service providers actually asking for when they request an “open” solution? Does the answer to that question vary depending on who you ask?
- What happens if you strip out the noise being made by vendors and look at what service providers actually want?
- Are the requirements different between a proof-of-concept (POC) and a commercial deployment?
At a high level, we found that the core requirement is not simply openness in itself, but rather, it is the perceived benefit resulting from openness. In this context “openness” implies a solution comprising hardware/software elements that work together and are interoperable. Openness also implies there is no “vendor lock-in” which is a concern for service providers.
Another big concern for service providers is carrier grade availability and reliability, however, at this point this benefit is neither implied nor expected from an open solution. At the end of the day, building a system that works is most important. Openness is a means to that end.
A couple of interesting findings from the report:
- 32% of respondents are currently deploying an NFV solution.
- When defining an open solution for NFV, the emphasis is on fully open source licensed from an existing project with vendor support, and compatibility with de-facto standards.
- 63% don’t expect to get all the reliability and availability they need from pure open source and most think deployable open source NFV is more than 2 years away.
- Open solutions are seen as very important when considering avoiding vendor lock-in and interoperability, but less of a factor when considering differentiation.
- When service providers move from a POC to a commercial deployment, having code that is open is less important than actually ensuring interoperability, carrier grade availability and reliability.
For a sampling of interview answers from OPNFV Summit attendees take a look at this video:
Thanks to TelecomTV and the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) for collaborating with us on this survey.