As communications service providers (CSPs) transform their businesses to deliver next-generation connectivity and services, they are embracing virtualization, to take advantage of optimized network efficiency, greater agility and the opportunity to create new revenue streams – all of which can be done easier and quicker in virtualized environments.
One of the key drivers is the transition to 5G, and enabling IoT environments that will require cost-effective and flexible solutions if they are to be commercially feasible. 5G is all about high performance and low latency, which will require more distributed environments, closer to the end user. The same is true for IoT, with millions of connected devices to the network resulting in higher data throughput, and extremely high requirements for low latency, for example for connected and self-driving cars. These needs can only be supported by Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) environments, and operators are already starting to prepare this by establishing virtual packet core networks today, which is the foundation for extending to virtual radio access networks (RANs) to support 5G roll-outs in the years to come.
Gartner suggests that CSPs deploying SDN/NFV technologies can anticipate Opex reductions of 60%and Capex reductions of 40%. In short, these technologies are the answer for telecoms companies looking to drive innovation and retain their edge in a highly competitive marketplace. So it’s no surprise that by the end of 2018, it’s predicted that more than 70% of CSPs will have conducted proof-of-concept projects based on SDN and NFV.
However, there are still challenges in doing this. The traditional ‘big iron’ physical security appliances that CSPs currently rely on lack the flexibility and scalability needed for virtualized infrastructures. This acts as a drag on innovation and can lead to security gaps emerging. So how do CSPs secure their new virtualized environments so they can enjoy the full benefits of the environments’ flexibility and scalability?
Erik Engstrom, Clavister’s head of global telecom sales, recently authored an article for the leading portal NFVZone on this subject, looking at the virtualization opportunities and challenges for CSPs, and how they can secure their next-generation networks by choosing the right security virtual network functions (VNFs). It goes hand-in-hand with our recent guide looking at how CSPs can securely migrate their networks to SDN and NFV. Find out more and download the guide here.