Part 8 of 8: Operational changeis a huge part of the NFV transition
If you’re at all like me, a reformed networks guy, when you hear the word “migration” it’s hard not to shudder. I mean, when does that EVER go well? At best, it’s laborious, fraught with danger and possibly career ending. So, who would sign up for that?
In their eighth and final NFV transformation journey ebook, Ericsson starts out by referencing a McKinsey report saying 70% of transformation programs fail (yeah…..that sounds about right…) before moving on to say, it doesn’t have to be like that.
Plan the work and then work the plan and you too can do this: you telco operators can build brand-spanking new virtual network function (VNF) infrastructures and migrate over to them from the current physical network.
So to be clear, it’s VNF / NFV migration I’m signing up for – you can put those other migration project offers away, thanks-but-no-thanks.
And also, it’s the “migration done-right” aspect I’m specifically agreeing to. As I wrote about earlier in this NFV blog series, I’m old enough (ahem) that I’ve personally experienced the change from traditional to agile workflows.
That operational change (not the what we’re building but the HOW) is a huge part of the NFV transition and once you get there, it is So Good. Cloud-centric agile-based development and operational (DevOps) teams are excellent places to work. Good code gets created, tested and launched, faster.
VNF migration into five stages
In their final ebook, Ericsson recommends slicing the PNF to VNF migration into five stages:
- Evaluate your PNF services and decide which capabilities to keep and where you need to build new capabilities
- Identify your VNF requirements
- Onboard individual VNFs
- Deploy virtual network services
- Migrate subscribers and traffic
- (Celebrate! At every stage, quietly if you must, but do it; your team is in this for the long haul)
The titles of these stages should give you some comfort. You’re going to play to your strengths (and hire in where you don’t have the Right Stuff). You get to keep a lot of what you built, just use it in a different way.
You still get to insist on the highest requirements for reliability, backup and availability. Much of your current way of thinking – managing multiple vendors, for example – still applies, just sort of, well, upstream and a little broader than before.
Something else to keep in mind is that the market wants us to do this. Ericsson references the notion of “friendly subscribers”. That’s actually a thing. There are entire regions raising their hand, willing to pilot, ready to accept the risks of early migration.
Creating and collaborating with those test-beds will be a huge factor in keeping “fail-faster” -style agile development honest and on track. Ideally, with this kind of test-heavy stepped approach, regular subscriber traffic won’t be disrupted at all.
It’s been a long cycle, this entire series of eight blogs on NFV. Thanks for reading Ericsson’s ebooks and for believing we have to do this. The shift is coming at us, hard, and I am proud of the technologists – like Ericsson – who are on-board and helping lead the way. I’m equally happy to have the skeptics – we need critical eyes on this transition, just bring it on.
I recommend you grab all eight of the Ericsson NFV ebooks 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 this eight-part series, thanks for reading, I look forward to your feedback in comments. Thank you for being part of this exciting series of blogs.