Migration to SDN and NFV: What are the hurdles? – Part 1

There are impediments to deployment, management, operation and service realization even though Service Providers acknowledge the benefits of virtualization technologies. These prove as hurdles for migration to SDN (Solution Delivery Networks) and NFV (Network Functions Virtualization). Migration to software-based solutions requires changes to the traditional service delivery method given the industry culture and mission-critical requirements (FCAPS) of the network. Critical impediments still exist with the required change of culture, development of new skills, and recognition of new business models.

Technical Hurdles

The lack of mature end-to-end solutions both from legacy vendors and nimble start-ups hinders adoption despite significant movement in terms of interest and shipments of NFV solutions in a past few years. These are some of the technical hurdles to Service Provider NFV adoption:

  • Not on par with existing solutions in production (e.g., FCAPS, availability and reliability)
  • Lack of interoperability across technology domains (e.g., physical, virtual, legacy)
  • Unable to meet commercial needs (e.g., SLAs, licensing, OSS/BSS integration)

Additionally, SDN and NFV will be disruptive to existing OSS/ BSS solutions and may require modernization or upgrade of existing solutions.

Changes in Culture

The traditional silos that have been erected in favour of cross-functional (IT, network, and product) teams need to be looked over and beyond. Primarily focused on the network, SDN and NFV require collaboration across compute, network, and storage teams to achieve an end-to-end business service alignment with infrastructure. New methodologies that leverage the combined strength of these cross-functional teams will also be required to improve responsiveness, operational agility, and quality of solutions.

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