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Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
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Matt Brunk | November 20, 2015 |

 
   

NFV Not New, But Evolving

NFV Not New, But Evolving CenturyLink gains cloud control, operational efficiency, and comprehensive security via a virtualized services overlay.

CenturyLink gains cloud control, operational efficiency, and comprehensive security via a virtualized services overlay.

Carriers are slowly starting to find ways to incorporate network functions virtualization (NFV) into their network architectures, such as the case with CenturyLink and its Programmable Services Backbone (PSB).

Nuage Networks earlier this month announced that CenturyLink has adopted its Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) to provide networking functionality for PSB. With VSP overlay, CenturyLink's PSB will deliver:

  • Cloud Control – the ability to unify new virtualized services with virtual private network, co-location, and existing cloud services. With this single entity, CenturyLink can then make the services available wherever the users are. "This provides CenturyLink full control of the unified cloud as well as the ability to program its global network from the customer premises to the public cloud," Nuage said.
  • Efficient Operations – the ability to integrate and interoperate with open source cloud platforms to coordinate compute, storage, and networking needs. This gives CenturyLink a way to automate network provisioning across the entire federated cloud. "This provides capabilities to detect, debug and resolve problems through a real-time inventory of virtual services, physical connectivity and the correlation between them," Nuage said.
  • Comprehensive, Consistent Security – CenturyLink can protect against internal and external security breaches using VSP's micro-segmentation capabilities, said Nuage, noting that it has built the platform to help address key security gaps in virtual machine and Docker container environments.

I've always liked CenturyLink (formerly Century Telephony). It's made investors money on their stock over the years, leadership is admirable, and it has long been a progressive company improving its technology year after year. It's targeted the small and medium-sized business sweet spot, and already has embedded firewall and content filtering into an NFV solution.

In hearing about CenturyLink's NFV initiatives, I think back to last summer when I heard about the work Adtran had been doing on software-defined networks (SDN) and NFV (see my earlier post, "Go Cloud But Don't Forsake Infrastructure). When Robert Conger, Adtran's director of global carrier strategy and solutions, said, "The use of SDN and NFV translates to efficient and effective services delivery," he was spot on.

But I want you to exercise a little imagination with this:

It seems that we are getting back into the churn that we went through in telecom during the 1980sand 1990s. Break it all up, stuff it in different pockets; consolidate, and then look for alternatives. Maybe it's just part of the natural business cycle, part evolution on behalf of the technology and part trying to get what we want. But in this process of trying to get what we want laced with the challenge of doing more for less, how are telco revenues reduced by telephony on the server, at the hosted shop, on the IP PBX-hybrid-TDM, wireless or PCs with 2,500 sets, or carriers with SIP/IP services?

CenturyLink will continue to thrive because it is following a path of convergence.

Now, without using your imagination, consider that the telephony PSTN model is broken up, stuffed into the pockets of vendors offering innovative products and services. Has this breakup really eroded the telco's profits?

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