Deloitte Predicts Global Transition to SDN, NFV

By Casey Houser July 08, 2016

It can be difficult to assess the entire information technology market and pick out a handful (let alone a single) of influential products or services or methods of operation that will have the most impact on businesses or consumers for decades to come.

Deloitte, a provider of financial counseling and tax services, has its pick: software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). Those two advanced methods of networking go hand in hand; whereas SDN refers to a range of ways in which businesses can control their networks with software, NFV refers to the specific virtualized network functions that run on an SDN system. Together, they have the potential to change way in which telecoms offer their services and businesses control their networks. It can make networking simpler while also making it faster and more efficient.

Pedro Marques Tavares, an associate partner at Deloitte, noted that these types of advances only come around about every 20 years. He noted some examples of the type of change everyone will experience:

“Every 20 years or so, telecom networks experience huge advances in the way they are planned, implemented, and operated. Key industry revolutions include moving from analog to digital (1960), from copper to fiber (1980), and fixed to mobile (2000),” Tavares said.

He continued by mentioning that the start of this latest revolution could begin in earnest by 2020. Although TMC readers are familiar with the topic of SDN, business have been hesitant to adopt this method of networking because it still has a lot to prove. This last left SDN as part of the joke that it really means “still done nothing”; however, TMC notes that there is some real-world applications of software-based networking already in use, which helps make the case for future adoption.

All new business transformations, including all those Tavares listed above, must persist through growing pains before they are able to catch hold in the market. Before global enterprises begin staking their reputations on virtualized network functions, they will want to see proofs of concept and real-world action from the bravest of the bunch. Some early birds have taken the bait, and they will show the world what SDN can really do.

Meanwhile, it is clear that Deloitte and other speculative entities will continue to believe in its potential. Tavares said the widespread use of SDN could give rise to assets such as on-demand bandwidth provisioning and quality of service that depends on specific network contexts. In short, these smaller pieces of the whole will give service providers the fine-grained control over their networks they could only dream about.

Deloitte may push for adoption of both software-based networking and the use of wireless LTE in various parts of the world; it has also indicated that it will seek to assist its own clients with the use of LTE in the Middle East and North Africa – somewhat developing parts of the world that could catch other more-advanced parts of the world by attaching to the proper infrastructure. Deloitte’s own Center for Excellence for Telecom Engineering has a strong presence in the Middle East, so it will have a lot of leverage in that region for local service providers’ transitions to this latest 20-year change.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Writer

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