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IHS: NFV Coming to 35 Percent of Surveyed Operators by End of 2015

By Steve Anderson June 12, 2015

2015 is going to be a big year for network functions virtualization (NFV), at least if the word from IHS' recent survey bears true. By the end of 2015, the survey revealed, fully 35 percent of organizations plan to put NFV in place, a move showing that, while NFV is still in its comparative infancy, these early days will not last long at all.

The survey in question, titled “IHS Infonetics NFV Strategies: Global Service Provider Study,” noted that while there was no small quantity of firms ready to put NFV in place, it didn't stop with just plans to add the systems. Forty-eight percent of surveyed firms are planning to at least evaluate the NFV concept by the end of 2015, and most of the issues that companies are currently finding are more end-stage problems rather than early-going matters. The two biggest problems identified in the study were a lack of carrier-grade products that proved insufficient to meet companies' needs, as well as an overall lack of personnel trained sufficiently in NFV tools.

Additionally, the survey noted what most of the companies intend to use NFV for down the line, with virtual enterprise CPE one of the biggest intended targets right alongside service chaining and firing up virtual network platform as a service (VNPaaS) systems.

IHS' senior research director for carrier networks, Michael Howard, offered up some commentary around the subject, saying “Though we’re still in the early stages of a long-term transition to NFV-SDN architected networks, many carriers will be moving from proof-of-concept tests and lab evaluations to commercial deployments of NFV in 2015. In fact, all major operators are either now deploying NFV or plan to within the next few years. Providers believe that NFV and its SDN (software-defined networking) companion are a fundamental change in telecom network architecture that will deliver benefits in service agility and new revenue, operational efficiencies and capital expenditure (capex) savings.”

Indeed, there's a lot of value on hand when it comes to NFV; as Howard noted, it's a great way to provide extra agility while at the same time dropping the need for major capex spending through the floor. That's a combination that makes it a lot easier to compete in the field; those who don't have NFV capability in the near-term might find it much harder to take on other firms that do have such advantages. So seeing a mass exodus over to NFV just makes sense; we've already seen a flood of new announcements in NFV come from AT&T just recently, and it's not likely to be alone in this field.

It won't take long before we find out just how accurate IHS' projections are, but knowing what we know so far, it's a pretty safe bet that we'll see a lot more NFV deployments coming. In 2016, meanwhile, we'll likely see plenty more as the firms at the evaluation stage this year discover the value of NFV systems, and consider the implications of trying to go without.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Contributing Writer

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