Jehanne Savi says the reality of NFV today is nowhere near as advanced as it was expected to by now because operators and vendors alike underestimated the sheer size and complexity of network transformation. However, it remains vital to stick to the virtualisation strategy and pursue the ultimate goal of "cloud native" because the industry's promise to the customer of the "on demand" network will only be achieved in a cloud native environment and the route to that is via NFV.
That said, realising "cloud native" is a difficult, time-consuming task and thus it is necessary to be realistic and pragmatic about the maturity of the ecosystem and technologies and to pursue the industrialisation of the current NFV stage of network transformation. Orange itself remains committed to NFV and continues to invest heavily in it and believes it would be a mistake to attempt to leapfrog directly to cloudification because it would severely jeopardise business in the short term.
Jehanne Savi adds that Orange has, from the outset, been a leader in and supporter of "the telco cloud" and of initiatives to standardise it. The telco is also very supportive of the standardisation of APIs, again because the industry has promised customers an end-to-end, seamless, digital on-demand service and the inescapable implication of that promise is interoperability.
The fact is that telcos and cloud providers will have to blend their ecosystems together to provide, from the standpoint of their customers, end-to-end services, both within their domestic networks and cross-border - and that will require the aggregation of multiple operators and service providers.
This, says Jehanne Savi, is the only way to keep the "on-demand promise" to customers and Orange is convinced it will be achieved by a combination of technologies and services, including 5G, on-demand networks with SDN/NFV embedded, and edge computing. Furthermore, she says such an approach will, in addition to bringing added-value to customers, be a great market differentiator for Orange.
Filmed at SDN NFV World Congress, The Hague, 2019