AT&T and NFV
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.