For many CSPs, NFV is now at the tipping-point of long-term profitability

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Nigel Stephenson, Dir. Market Development, EMEA, Telco and Edge Cloud BU, VMware

There is an ongoing industry debate about whether CSPs can use cloud native technologies just as they are for the next phase of network transformation or if they need adapting to new specifications and standards. Nigel Stephenson is sure which side of the divide he and VMware sit and says that whilst, in some quarters, opinions may vary it is the responsibility of the vendors and the community to ensure that cloud native does not have to be, and will not be, specialised to and solely for the industry.

Of course, that is not to say there are no unique use cases vis a vis other industry sectors but the goal has to be and is (bolstered by increasing evidence) that there should be no need for specialised versions to emerge as part of what should be a generic capability.

There's also a school of thought that NFV is taking much longer and is costing much more than was originally envisaged and the industry should take pains to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself with the cloud native sector.

Nigel Stephenson doesn't agree with this pessimistic assessment and emphasises that VMware already has close to 100 international deployments of NFV under its belt, some of which are extremely significant indicating that, in VMware's case anyway, the deployment of real-world NFV has not taken longer or been more expensive that was expected. However, it is nonetheless a matter of fact that some benefits of NFV have not been realised as rapidly as was originally anticipated.

Nigel Stephenson agrees that is true of some players and their customers but is at pains to emphasise that VMware's customers are already reporting good benefits from their investments in terms of greatly improved operational efficiencies, scale and time-to-market and are expecting more in due course in the form of improved revenues resulting from the introduction of innovative new services. So, while generally there have been some hurdles to surmount and few blind alleys to negotiate where the deployment of NFV architecture is concerned that experience is by no means typical of VMware's user base.

Many of VMware's customers are either at, or have already passed, the break-even point where the expense of deploying NFV is paid and off the books. Thereafter the route to increased profitability is wide open because customers can then go to the open market to onboard multi-vendor apps and that action, in and of itself, creates competition and boosts revenues.

Filmed at: Great Telco Debate, London, December 2019

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