Alcatel-Lucent said it plans to collaborate with Korea Telecom (KT) on the development and adoption of a "comprehensive Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV)-based infrastructure", as interest in both NFV and software-defined networks (SDN) continues to drive industry-wide network developments.
NFV is designed to virtualise different functions of an operator's network in order to reduce costs, simplify creation of new cloud-based services and speed time to market. Alcatel-Lucent said the technical collaboration agreement with KT forms part of the Korean operator's Giga Network development, for which NFV will be a core underpinning element.
KT and Alcatel-Lucent said the objectives of the collaboration are to create an NFV proof-of-concept that includes Alcatel-Lucent's virtualised Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) systems to provide advanced service delivery capabilities; the vendor's CloudBand NFV platform for the management of the NFV environment; and the virtualised services platform (VSP) from France-based Nuage Networks.
"Alcatel-Lucent and KT share a vision of the strategic importance of virtualization and cloud infrastructure and service formation. We look forward to helping KT transition its EPC network functions to operate in an NFV/SDN environment. Combining vEPC, CloudBand and Nuage Networks VSP for SDN provides an innovative architectural model to answer the demand for next generation application workloads and to optimize capex and opex for delivering KT's mobile broadband services," said Chi Il Yoo, head of Alcatel-Lucent Korea.
While there is growing consensus on the need for NFV implementations in mobile networks, for example, there is still much to do to ensure the smooth deployment of what could be a very disruptive process for operators.
Operators certainly have no intention of ripping out their legacy infrastructure anytime soon, as pointed out by Keith Allan, director of IP mobile core product strategy at Alcatel-Lucent, at CTIA Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas in September.
However, Allan noted that operators do intend to power all new initiatives with NFV and software-defined networking architectures as they migrate to fully virtualised networks over time.
Recent research from Infonetics Research also noted that while savings in both operating and capital expenditure are often cited as leading drivers behind the move towards SDN and NFV, operators say service agility and new revenue really make the business case.
Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst at the research company, said at the SDN & NFV 2014 summit in Nice, France in September that the move towards SDN and NFV is a continuous process; there is still a great deal to do before the market becomes fully developed.
Howard commented that 2013 and 2014 have been "proof of concept" years, although this year there is more evidence of vendors and service providers making the software more commercially viable.
- see this Alcatel-Lucent release
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