2016 was a mixed year for NFV.
On the plus side, there were more and more announcements of deployments for NFV-based services. In addition, major NFV open source initiatives were started or expanded.
There were also negatives in 2016. Telcos were slow to move forward with NFV, and they spoke loudly about the issues that needed to be addressed relating to standards, performance, cost and automation.
How will NFV fare in 2017? Here are my predictions:
1. Mainstream NFV Deployments by Tier 1 Operators
We have already seen a number of small deployments of NFV-based services in 2016. I predict that 2017 will be the year when those limited excursions become the mainstream. The scale of the deployments may still be limited, but they will be the leading edge of an oncoming wave.
2. Multi-Vendor Solutions
Some of the large traditional suppliers of hardware appliances and software systems have been publicly embracing a multi-vendor approach, but their actions speak to a preference for closed or tightly controlled ecosystems. My prediction is that in 2017 we will see buyers demanding that these closed systems be opened up.
3. Acquisitions of Software Companies
The growth of NFV and SDN will continue to increase the value attributed to software. As a result, I predict we will see a growing number of traditional appliance, system and/or application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) suppliers acquiring software-only VNF companies. These acquisitions will be positioned as bolstering the product portfolio of the acquirers. Unstated will be the fact that they need the acquired products and technology to catch up.
4. Security Moves to the Forefront
In 2016, we saw the advent of distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks powered by low-cost and ubiquitous consumer devices such as webcams and DVRs. This raises the specter of attackers using NFV infrastructure in a similar fashion. My outlook is that securing NFV infrastructure and the hosted VNFs will become a major point of emphasis for operators and suppliers.
5. Open Source Projects NFV MANO
There are a number of open source projects for NFV management and orchestration (MANO), including Open Source MANO, Open-O, Tacker, XoS and eCOMP (maybe). This plethora of projects is too large and dilutes the ability to make progress. In 2017, I believe we will see the decline of at least one of these projects, leading to its absorption into one of the others.
2017 Will be a Year of Change for NFV
So those are my predictions. Do you agree with them? If not, how do you see 2017 playing out?
In any event, I predict you will agree with me that 2017 has big changes in store for NFV.