In a virtualised software-centric network don't forget about the hardware

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Alexander D. Quach, VP & GM, Wireline Core & Network Division, Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation

From a service provider's perspective there is an increased focus on knowing exactly who the customer is and what types of new services will justify fresh investment in their networks. In the context of digital transformation it is a matter of determining which software and hardware infrastructure will allow CSPs to quickly roll out interesting and monetisable services.

On the hardware infrastructure side, technologies are generally mature, can be deployed now and will remain future-proof for the next 5 to 10 years or more. That said, it is incumbent on the industry to ensure that hardware infrastructure is flexible, scaleable and allows for the different configurations that CSPs will need going forward. Alex Quatch says that challenge has largely been met and that there are now a number of suppliers making available general purpose, server-based hardware that will provide AI, high-performance computing, storage and networking capabilities.

The new problem to be solved is how to mix and match hardware from different vendors and move up the software stack to provide the interoperability to allow CSPs to choose between hardware from Vendor A, software from Vendor B and functions from Vendor C. That was a major problem as NFV was developed (although it is now mostly solved) and 5G should pay heed to that and learn the lesson by the easy route rather than the hard way.

Filmed at DSP Leaders Forum 2019, Windsor, UK

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