AT&T and NFV

Capacity - - Five Top: Innovators -

There are many car­ri­ers around the world mak­ing good progress on the vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion of their net­work in­fra­struc­ture. But US car­rier AT&T re­mains an im­por­tant pace set­ter, de­spite ma­jor in­vest­ments by ri­val brands.

New Hamp­shire-based mar­ket re­searcher Tech­nol­ogy Busi­ness Re­search has re­cently judged AT&T to be fur­thest along in net­work func­tions vir­tu­al­iza­tion (NFV) de­ploy­ment than oth­ers, even than main ri­val Ver­i­zon which has also been in­no­vat­ing in this area.

Tech­nol­ogy Busi­ness Re­search in par­tic­u­lar iden­ti­fies AT&T In­te­grated Cloud and Net­work on De­mand so­lu­tions, and its en­hanced con­trol, or­ches­tra­tion, man­age­ment and pol­icy pro­ject that has been de­signed to au­to­mate net­work ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture run­ning in a cloud en­vi­ron­ment. Its pol­icy has been to thrash out tech­ni­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties in small ini­tial de­ploy­ments be­fore scal­ing the re­sults across its whole foot­print. By this means AT&T is able to judge what ser­vice of­fer­ings are likely to work well be­fore they get set be­fore cus­tomers.

This ap­proach has of­ten seen AT&T work­ing ahead of stan­dards bod­ies, per­haps one of the rea­sons why it has been sup­port­ive of open source NFV so­lu­tions where el­e­ments of its progress will in due course be shared with other mem­bers of the open source com­mu­nity. The ul­ti­mate goal of AT&T re­mains to achieve lower spend­ing on its net­works com­bined with im­proved rev­enues, all within the next two years. Its aim as al­ways is to mon­e­tise its in­no­va­tions as soon as pos­si­ble rather than de­fer a re­turn on in­vest­ment for an un­de­fined pe­riod.

AT&T’S stated aim for the past two years has been to vir­tu­alise 75% of its net­work by 2020. Its plan for 2016 has been to mi­grate 30% of its ap­pli­ca­tions into a pri­vate cloud. Dur­ing the past few months the car­rier has built out 74 AT&T In­te­grated Cloud fa­cil­i­ties where it is able to op­er­ate vir­tual net­work func­tions.

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