Slovak Telekom outlines virtualisation progress

NICE, France--Slovak Telekom gave an update on its progress with the virtualisation and "softwarisation" of its network, but key aspects of network functions virtualisation (NFV) are distinctly lacking in the integrated operator's deployments to date: the orchestration tools required to manage data and service availability in an NFV environment.

Speaking at the SDN & NFV 2014 summit here on Wednesday Eugen Mikoczy, head of strategy and architecture at the Deutsche Telekom-owned Slovakian operator, made it clear that his company is embracing the concept of virtualisation inherent in software-defined networks (SDN) and NFV. However, while the operator--which has already moved over to an all-IP network and plans to turn off its legacy TDM switches by the end of 2014--is building a cloud infrastructure and has virtualised some functions such as IPTV and it content delivery network (CDN), it has not yet implemented orchestration tools.

Mikoczy said the company is now looking at the orchestration piece and has issued some RFIs to the industry. He conceded that some people within his organisation question why orchestration is needed, and say they can manage the newly virtualised applications and networks themselves.

"We need to establish the use case," said Mikoczy, noting that it is currently difficult to establish what the savings would be with orchestration tools because they are not yet at full maturity.

In the view of many delegates at the summit this week, network and data analytics, orchestration and automation are fundamental to the management of future NVF-based architectures at telecoms operators. Technology is not regarded as the stumbling block to implementation; instead it's a question of making some sweeping changes to existing organisations and mindsets.

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