In January, I’ve started working for Verizon as a DevOps Engineer with focus in network engineering. I’ve been working with SDN for about 2 years and my last experience was at the Open Networking Lab, a research lab, pioneer in terms of SDN research, in collaboration with AT&T.
In this article, instead of describing a technology as I usually do in this blog, I’ll try to summarize my thoughts on where this industry is going.
Every day it’s clearer to me that innovation in service providers is driven by two factors: pressure to reduce acquisition and operational costs; increasing pressure to deliver new services fast, which BTW happens in order to generate new sources of revenue.
Most service providers are trying to leverage open hardware from OCP and open source technology in order to achieve those goals. The “open” alternative of solutions is quite cost-effective compared to current legacy solutions; at the same time it offers the opportunity to be at the edge of technology development, that’s to say open technologies fasten innovation cycles significantly. The disaggregation of network devices has played a tremendous role in enabling innovation as well.
There are challenges in order to achieve those goals. Acquisition costs are definitely the most compelling point of open technologies. The delivery of the open source solutions on the other side is where the risk lies. If you are used to open source, you do know that bugs are just part of your life. There’s a 9 in 10 chance that at least one of your critical features won’t be supported natively by available open source solutions.
To couple with that I believe service providers should invest in acquiring diverse talents, or invest in training its own staff.
The truth is change is inevitable, you either hop on the boat and deliver reduced costs or new services or you will be left behind. We’ve started to see evidence why that has been happening with big vendors, I believe this pattern will repeat with providers.
In the next posts, I’ll try to comment on what is going on with vendors or make a follow-up post with my thoughts on costs, risks and benefits of this search for innovation as well.