Analyst Coverage

Orchestration for NFV: Specialists Carve Out a Niche

Among the reasons that network operators initiated the network functions virtualization (NFV) push was to decouple software from hardware with the aim of reducing capex and enabling more rapid deployment of network functions that would allow innovative new services to be created and rolled out to customers. Wrapped up in these objectives was the ability to choose network functions from anyone that could provide them to run in virtualized form on standard hardware. This, in theory, opens the door to smaller developers of network functions to sell to network operators where they would have had little realistic chance of doing so in the past. 

While the intention was that it would be the virtualized network functions (VNFs) that might be provided by a wide range of vendors, in fact the infrastructure and management of the virtualized network itself may end up being provided by companies that are not traditionally among the biggest suppliers to telcos and other communications service providers. The argument goes that if an operator is fundamentally rethinking how its network is built and managed then established supply relationships need to be reviewed.