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Virtualization technology is changing the way the world connects

Nicolas Bouverot, President, Alcatel-Lucent Japan | April 13, 2015
Simple. Fast. Effective.Customised. Get ready, the shift is coming.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Nicolas Bouverot
Nicolas Bouverot, President, Alcatel-Lucent Japan 

Sometimes important changes are easily overlooked. Take for example this NTT media release - World's first demonstration of interoperability of IETF method for service chaining involving six companies.  At first glance it appears innocuous. In an industry fond of trumpeting firsts and breakthrough technological advances the currency of a 'world first' is often devalued by hyperbole. Not in this instance. 

For those in the know, NTT's polite announcement was like the proverbial pebble being dropped into a calm pond. It sent ripples through the telecommunications industry. Ripples, which will ultimately, affect anyone who makes or uses telecoms networks. For the better.

This really is going to revolutionise networks
Deep inside its R&D Labs, NTT, ALAXALA Networks, Hitachi, Cisco Systems, NEC and Alcatel-Lucent have successfully proven the viability of Software Defined Networking (SDN) in a multi-vendor environment using the IETF method of service chaining.  

Interoperability creates flexibility & flexibility creates choice
Why does this matter? Three reasons. First, IETF's mission is to make the Internet work better. Its standards help to ensure the Internet remains 'an open and universally accessible platform'.  By citing the work of the IETF, the media release is highlighting the vital role that standardization plays in meeting real market demands.

Second, telecoms networks are typically built out of equipment from many different vendors. So interoperability between vendors is very important. The ability to 'play well with others' creates flexibility. Flexibility creates choice.  And more choice is good news for both the operator and its customers.

Third, where NTT leads other operators will follow. A competitive marketplace is good news for consumers. To stay ahead of the competition, NTT has to maintain its lead. Last July, NTT Communications, the international communication and business solution subsidy of NTT Group launched the first SDN/NFV commercial service on a global scale. The Group's research arm, NTT Labs, has developed and delivered Ryu, a SDN controller delivered as an open source. It's latest media release signals that more innovative services are coming.

Offering more choice is the key to a fast growing market

The move to virtualization represents a seismic shift in the way telecom networks are built and operated. And the shift is gaining momentum -- fast. IDC Japan estimates that by 2017 the market for SDN will be worth US$287 million.

I will explain why.

To compete, operators need to change from...Telecom networks are currently built out of custom hardware. Each dedicated 'box' has a specific function. In the near future, networks will be built out of general purpose servers. The network functions will be provided by software.


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