Softwarization will mean a radical Biz Transformation of Telecommunications and ICT. Enabling technologies such as SDN, NFV but also Mobile Edge Computing will accelerate a substantial convergence process, already ongoing, bringing towards highly integrated IT+Network infrastructures.
These software-driven infrastructures will be able to host a wide variety of network and service functions and components. Some of these services (let’s say low level network services) will have to be executed either in the Cloud or in the middle, or at the edge of the network, by involving virtualized functions which carry out intermediate processing of information.
Examples are typical network services, such as: content distribution networks; authentication, authorisation, and access control; content policing and filtering; content based routing; content based QoS management (e.g., DPI); intrusion detection; firewall; content based performance acceleration and bandwidth optimisation (WAN acceleration)… and other middle-boxes. These virtual network functions (and many other other) will have to be dynamically combined into combination of services by constructing specific chaining of functions – called service chains (here we are not talking about Consumers’ services yet).
So, the orchestration can be seen as a key process of such converged infrastructure: it will take care of the different steps involved in the provisioning of virtual network functions and service such as creating and removing logical resources as well as installing, configuring, monitoring, running and stopping software in the logical resources. But these software-driven infrastructures will have also to provide APIs to upper platforms for developing and provisioning Consumers’ services. In this sense, it will have to have another level of orchestration typical of the IT higher level service (based on more articulated combination of service logics): just like an OS supporting diverse application platforms. The biz role/model will depending on where this border is set.
So, in this way to this future software-driven infrastructures, arguably, we have two main strategies for handling the consequent business transformation:
- Evolutionary: 1) inertial evolution of the legacy infrastructure... to transform it gradually into an agile software-driven infrastructure.
- Bi-modal: 1) “clean slate” deployment of a new (agile by design) software-based production infrastructure (sandbox) operated in parallel the traditional legacy infrastructure; 2) progressive decommissioning of legacy systems and gradual migration of (ongoing and future) service provisioning from the legacy to the new software-based production infrastructure. This implies obviously that there will be a coexistence, for some time, of the two infrastructures (which should temporarily interwork) and that Customers will have to be smoothly migrated from the legacy to the new software-based production infrastructure.
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