Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog about my initial thoughts on Mobile World Congress. Even today, I am still surprised by the lack of WebRTC messaging at MWC. But of the themes I talked about in that initial blog, NFV stood out as the week went on. And I started asking myself some questions.
It seemed many of the big infrastructure players were talking about NFV and SDN. Huawei, for one, was big on this trend. I couldn’t help but wonder about the motives of these big players, because they have a lot to lose if NFV plays out. They will lose revenue from their “iron” in favor of software modules, so are they trying to play the game and drag it out and muck up the field, only selling software NFV modules if they absolutely have to? It’s not like this is any new playbook from an incumbent. It’s been played out over and over again in high tech. I think this is on the agenda of many iron incumbents, given we are starting to see some of the issues emerge, such as companies attempting to course correct product roadmaps to get in the NFV game.
But beyond that, NFV adoption is about philosophy. A lot of these players got strong on the iron, and that is built into their DNA. Just flipping a switch to pivot onto software and take advantage of the benefits of virtualization is not easy. The changes virtualization cause in a company are enormous, since the switch involves not only products, but also services, support, pricing, sales strategies and development methodologies.
I should know, since we at Dialogic are in different stages of NFV deployment in our products. With our media server, which has always only been software-based, NFV is no big deal at all. There are some APIs to adhere to, but the DNA remains constant thanks to more than 12 years of honing a software-only product. We have been able to leverage this learning for our other software products, such as our virtual SBC, our Diameter signaling controller product and our softswitch.
My point is, when these big guys talk about NFV, is it just talk? Or are they really changing their companies? The DNA question is important, and it needs to be considered if you are planning on moving to NFV-based products.
What are your thoughts on NFV adoption? Let us know here.