Part 2 of 8: Why are we doing this NFV transition?
Let’s face it, none of us were born yesterday. We know that change is constant, especially in the world of computers and networking infrastructure.
And you don’t need a PhD in rocket science to see that the telcom industry’s pivot to Network Function Virtualisation ( NFV ) is rapidly evolving and massive in scope ( per my 1st post on Ericsson’s NFV ebook #1 ).
So with so much in the mix, why should you give any particular weight to what I, or Ericsson for that matter, has to say about it? A couple things.
For one, I am irrevocably wedded to open-source and interoperability, no secrets there ( just google me ); I wouldn’t be investigating NFV prospects if it there wasn’t some real merit to it.
But secondly, I love it when people walk their talk. Ericsson’s already well into their NFV journey and they’re not shilling vapourware, they’re sharing what they’ve learned and trying to make it easier for the rest of us.
For me, the whole purpose of this blog, the second in my eight part series on NFV ( a review of Ericsson’s own eBook on the NFV business case ) is to put the benefits of what Ericsson is saying into context. Your context: What’s in it for you.
Q: Why are we doing this NFV transition, again?
A: Because I, or rather we, want 5G. Why do we want 5G? We want 5G because it makes high-speed, high-throughput, low-latency, resilient-fault-tolerant-safe-secure-instant connectivity possible, anywhere, anytime for everyone, in ways we’ve never been able achieve before. 5G opens up a whole world of exciting and entirely new use cases, from media available from everywhere, to communication with smart vehicles, devices, sensors and infrastructure. In other words, critical access & secure control of remote devices, powering life changing interaction between humans and the IoT …
Q: And why do we have to have NFV to have 5G?
- Because 5G is only possible by leveraging the CLOUD; it can’t exist on the physical layer. It’s network slicing, distributed cloud etc. all require virtual functions to run.
- Because humans can’t do this unaided. The speed, scale, scope and complexity of the next generation of use cases require software defined orchestration and automation. If that means you need to have a deep and meaningful about the future of humanity, go do it and then remember how much you like your smartphone and read on. Automation requires software-defined networks, infrastructure, data centers, edge computing, cloud-native applications…. not to mention a restructuring of our radio spectrum …
I meant this to be uplifting… and it is… in a seriously nerdy way… because no matter where you look, and how you slice it, the data says we are 100% headed this direction .. and yes it’s massive but it’s also completely awesome and the acceleration is going to be wickedly great.
But don’t just take my word for it, here are some of the market & analyst stats Ericsson quotes to support my position on all of this:
- A recent Markit NFV biannual tracker predicts carrier NFV spending will grow from USD 10 B in 2016 to ± USD 37 B in 2021 [OMZ!] with a CAGR (compound annual growth) of 30%
- Technology Business Research Inc finds that 75% of Tier 1 operators have already adopted NFV [the bold text highlight is mine, because this is astounding exciting]
- Heavy Reading projects that the global NFV market will grow from USD 4.8 B in 2016 to USD 16 B in 2021, stemming from a reallocation of CapEx from physical to virtual network.
Understandably the research does not report revenue numbers (no surprises there, let’s face it, revenue is usually a closely guarded secret). TBM’s findings from 18 top telco operators do indicate, however, that a much faster time to market, in theory, results in increased revenues … provided you have the org structure to support it. Another good point that Ericsson makes is that 5G network upgrades will benefit 4GLTE too, such as using network slices for IoT and mobile broadband.
The real meat of the second Ericsson ebook details the NFV experiences of Telfonica, Swisscom and NTT Docomo – their reasons why, their decisions and their outcomes. It’s the stuff business cases are built around, and should be considered as required reading for everyone on this journey, IMHO.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a complete series of eight ebooks from Ericsson, which break the transition down step-by-step. I recommend you grab all eight of them and consume them at your own pace, in bite-sized chunks to avoid choking – this is a long-term strategic play, you’ll need your strength. Grab your copy of all eight free NFV eBooks from Ericsson here => ericsson.com/nfv
That’s it for part two in this eight-part series, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in part three.