Inaugural Customer Symposium Highlighted Fast Move to SDN/NFV

In Paris a few weeks ago, Packet Design hosted our first ever Customer Symposium to discuss industry trends and share our latest product developments. Partners and customers joined us from four hemispheres and five continents (with a handful who travelled over 10,000 km). In addition to a showcase of our SDN product (due out later this year) and a sneak preview of our 15.1 release (stay tuned for more on this), the highlight was a presentation by Heavy Reading industry analyst Caroline Chappell. Here’s a quick summary of her talk.

Chappell discussed SDN and NFV adoption trends and shared deployment strategies being used by leading communication service providers. She also outlined the new architectures and management systems needed to successfully operate SDN and NFV-based networks.

One quote that stood out was her contention that, in her more than 25 years of industry experience, “I have never seen the telco industry transition so quickly.” She said the timeline for widespread SDN adoption has been pared down from 10 to five years. The pace of change is accelerating and the need for SDN is getting stronger each day. What’s motivating operators to add SDN/NFV programmability? She said the top three are greater agility in adapting to service demand, faster innovation, and development of new business models.

To realize these benefits, operators need to make networking as easy as cloud. They must deliver network services in the same way customers consume cloud services, including allowing applications dynamically to flex bandwidth and shifting resources across the network to meet demand.

This is easier said than done. Chappell asked: “What’s going to happen to managing the network?” The challenge is that network agility is needed now, but SDN and NFV have great impact on OSS:

    • SDN and NFV introduce new layers of management and orchestration
    • SDN controllers will potentially take over network configuration
    • SDN controllers are immature and incomplete
    • What is the functional overlap with existing OSS systems?
    • Existing OSS systems are not fit for the purpose – not dynamic enough for SDN environment
    • Organizational and cultural issues persist

“The crunch time is now,” said Chappell in answer to how to remedy these challenges. “…as operators you need to manage the network end to end…you have to have this information model that goes across everything.”

This is in line with Packet Design’s perspective and capabilities: That always-current network routing models, traffic matrices and performance analytics are required for intelligent, real-time orchestration by SDN controllers and also for the operational monitoring of overlay networks and dynamic applications, such as traffic engineering, bandwidth calendaring and virtualized network functions. This is what we are working to deliver with our upcoming SDN product.

Judging from the questions, engagement, and feedback, both during and after the event, the content we discussed was right on target. More customers than ever before are being asked to implement SDN or plan their SDN strategies and they recognize the key role Packet Design plays in their plans.

We’re pleased with the outcome of the event (customers rated the city, venue, food, and presentation content as top notch). And we’re fortunate to have received a wealth of ideas from our customers and partners to make the next symposium even better.

My hope is that this post will serve as a public “thank you” to the customers and partners who made the journey to Paris, withstood the rigors of jet lag, suffered the indignities of limited legroom and airline food, and lost luggage to join us at our Inaugural Customer Symposium. To those who weren’t able to join us (this time), we hope to see you at the next symposium (date to be determined)!

Below are a few photos from the event:

CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discusses how Packet Design will lead the industry in SDN.

One last look back at our symposium guests gathered for dinner.


Caroline Chappell presents on SDN/NFV Management & Orchestration.