LIVE FROM LTE WORLD SUMMIT 2015: The future adoption of virtualisation technology will pose both business and technical challenges, which will need to be addressed “if we are going to see the real benefits of NFV and SDN,” Douglas Suriano, SVP and GM at Oracle Communications, warned this morning.
The telecoms industry is “going through a transformation right now” with NFV, he said, and “most of the focus is on network elasticity – it’s the use case that seems to have the most traction”, he said.
This will be followed by work to adopt network automation, to reduce operating costs by “eliminating or reducing the human intervention, the time it takes to operate networks and rollout services”.
But going beyond this is a business transformation exercise, he continued – “getting past the technology of transforming the network, and really tying it in to the business”. In order to support this evolution, there is a need to “re-tool our organisations”.
‘What skill sets do we need to actually be able to realise this transformation? We’re moving from a more hardware-centric world, with those skill sets, to more software-centric. So our staff profile and skills actually need to change,” Suriano said.
But this will also be accompanied by changes in organisational boundaries and hierarchies. “The combination of IT and network organisations. Many companies are now transforming their organisation by mixing network and IT skill sets,” the Oracle executive continued.
And the way in which network assets are managed is also changing.
“The network lifecycle is going to become more or less a software lifecycle, rather than a hardware lifecycle. So what model are we going to use for capex and opex, what is the lifecycle of the software we have in our network? Do we really get to that benefit of speed to market with new service with this new paradigm of software really driving the network?” he mulled.
Unsurprisingly, attitudes to making such a widespread change to existing operating models are not uniform.
“I’ve seen some of our customers just jump in and do it. You have to get started. The first thing you understand is that as IT and the network converge, it is going to be a new world. We don’t have it well defined, there’s no cookbook you can go to that tells you exactly how to do it, you just jump in. Your organisation will follow – it’s amazing how you see the transformation happen,” Suriano said.
But this transformation does not need to be accompanied by a scorched earth policy, with everything that went before swept away.
“We see this transformation as being evolutionary. We’re not going to abandon the stuff in our network that works right now. We’re going to find new ways to use this new technology, while leveraging the old.”