The clock is ticking and it’s about to strike midnight. NFV will usher in an era of change for the telecom industry yet again. The players will change, just like they changed with the ushering in of VoIP. Nortel is no more, Alcatel and Lucent merged, and Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and others emerged as huge telecom players. Curiously, IBM stayed on the sidelines. When I wrote my MWC blog a month ago, I wrote that NFV messaging wasn’t so prevalent. It wasn’t so prevalent. But NFV itself permeated the show quite a bit. The service providers recognize NFV can help reduce their OPEX and CAPEX costs, and help them become more agile from the perspective of spinning up new services, which they desperately need to do, and so they talked and talked about it. And since they talked about it, and vendors like us knew they were going to talk about it, there were demos and more talking about it.
It’s serious though. In conversations I had with some service providers, I hear things like “the era of us buying an end to end solution from a single vendor is over”. To me, this is like the basic open systems story that created Dialogic in the first place, and which has been played out in many industries. When I was at Intel, the advent of ATCA was this open systems story of the time (10 years ago). Replace purpose built gear with industry standard COTS gear. And while ATCA did reach some of those goals, it simply reduced the cost of the gear a little bit. The end-to-end systems still came generally from a single vendor.
NFV, to me, is the next phase. An operator can obtain the best software for their specific needs, and run it. There are issues of course – the software needs to work together and work together well, and it needs to do this when in separate locations and in clouds. Not a trivial task. But these issues are being worked on and will be resolved. When it is, and the era of “best of breed” can become a reality, then the players will change. Because the “best of breed” will win.