Heavy Reading
Length: 71 Pages
Price: $3,995
Click here for the full list of included vendors.
71 pages of analysis of the impact of SDN and NFV technologies on service provider networks and OSS
Detailed breakdown of the emerging next-generation network management solutions that will affect the way service providers run their networks, including the two distinct SDN approaches and the NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) architecture
In-depth profiles of 24 vendors that we believe are taking an early lead in the creation and definition of next-generation OSS/management systems for SDN and NFV
Senior Analyst,
Heavy Reading
Caroline is widely recognized as a leading authority on the SDP technology sector. She has more than a decade of experience tracking the telecom industry...

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Length: 71 Pages
Price: $3,995
Managing the Virtualized Network: How SDN & NFV Will Change OSS

Software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are promising technologies that could transform the cost profile and flexibility of IP networks. But the largest barrier to their deployment is service provider investment in the management of their existing networks. Service providers have large numbers of people, processes and operations support systems (OSSs) that are firmly wedded to the current operational status quo.

SDN and NFV create new management challenges that can't be addressed with current OSSs. SDN and particularly NFV which is emerging as the larger, "umbrella" concept are therefore encouraging new companies, with new network management approaches, to enter the market, while causing established players to reconsider their OSS approaches, systems and entire architectures. SDN and NFV are disruptive from a management perspective because they require change at every level: in employee skillsets, process reengineering and automation, and new OSS capabilities.

OpenFlow-based SDN changes the demarcation between OSS and the network by driving the operational intelligence that currently exists in a fragmented way within multiple OSS systems into a single, centralized control plane in the network. Network abstraction approaches that support the SDN concept of network "programmability" by automating network configuration may be more OSS-friendly, but they nevertheless provide a similar, centralized, near-real-time touchpoint with the network. And NFV requires the implementation of a completely new level of management not only of cloud infrastructure and the virtual resources (compute, storage and network) that make up that infrastructure, but also of the consumption of those resources by individual virtualized network functions (VNFs).

Vendors recognize that technologies are evolving fast, particularly where the cloud is concerned, and that to create the required management architectures, they will need to bring together OSS, cloud management and network knowledge and skills, which have previously existed in separate domains. They also need to address issues such as how far and fast service providers will move toward radical approaches for operationalizing the network, what management functionality will be embedded within VNFs rather than an external management system and how to avoid introducing new levels of operational cost into the network, since there are plenty of unknowns in migrating network function to the cloud.

Managing the Virtualized Network: How SDN & NFV Will Change OSS looks at the network management implications of SDN and NFV and assesses emerging vendor responses to the management challenges they pose. These responses range from the greenfield development of new management systems to the scoping of management architectures that aim to harmonize existing OSS with SDN and NFV. Such platforms and architectures are very new and are typically works in progress that may take years to fulfill. Although service providers say they want to implement NFV quickly, in reality the journey to network virtualization will take at least a decade, and it is far too early to predict the end management state of such networks.


The report profiles 24 key vendors with interesting and/or emerging solutions for NFV and/or SDN-based network management, which we categorize into five types: network abstraction and automation layer vendors; SDN controller vendors; "big picture" SDN and NFV management vendors; NFV management vendors; and enterprise cloud management vendors.

So far, the telecom industry has found it difficult to clearly articulate the relationship between SDN and NFV. Many operators and vendors use the terms interchangeably; some maintain that the two concepts are completely different. Over the past several months, the synergies and differences between the two have been coming into sharper focus and the common attributes and goals outweigh the distinctions, as the excerpt below shows.

SDN and NFV introduce different network management paradigms that address many issues with legacy OSS. Two distinct "SDN" network management approaches are emerging: a physical network abstraction and automation layer that automates the configuration of physical and virtualized networks; and a new set of SDN management applications that replace existing network management stacks. The ETSI NFV group has also proposed an NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) architecture that addresses the operational lifecycle needs of VNFs as they are deployed in the cloud. These three new management approaches will affect the way service providers run their networks, although with differing impact, as seen in the excerpt below.

Report Scope & Structure

Managing the Virtualized Network: How SDN & NFV Will Change OSS is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II looks at the drivers for SDN and NFV, how the two approaches are interrelated and the network management impact each brings to the market. It discusses two ways of fulfilling the management requirement for SDN: network abstraction and automation and SDN management applications; and the emerging ETSI vision for NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO).

Section III provides an analysis of the vendors that are taking an early lead in the creation and definition of next-generation OSS/management systems for SDN and NFV. It describes the "big picture" vendors with the most extensive and synergistic vision for both approaches and contrasts them with other vendor categories addressing specific aspects of SDN or NFV management.

Section IV profiles vendors that are offering next-generation network abstraction and automation systems to improve the "programmability" of the existing network.

Section V profiles vendors that are creating new management applications to support the SDN controller paradigm.

Section VI profiles "big picture" vendors that are attempting to reconcile existing OSS, SDN and NFV within a single, comprehensive architecture.

Section VII profiles vendors that provide specific NFV components for building an NFVI or an NFV MANO system, or have created VNFs that illustrate their management concerns and needs.

Section VIII profiles enterprise cloud management and orchestration vendors that are developing parallel capabilities for enterprise applications and provides a glimpse into the (possible) future of NFV MANO.

Section IX summarizes the conclusions of this report.

Managing the Virtualized Network: How SDN & NFV Will Change OSS is published in PDF format.