Thanks to all who joined us for The Modern Telco is Open, Part 2 – Virtual Central Office (VCO) in an Open Telco World sponsored by Red Hat and Intel. During the webinar, we learned how a virtual central office (VCO) architecture, using open source innovations for these components improves service agility, reduces cost, and improves customer experiences. After the webinar, we took questions from the audience but unfortunately ran out of time before we could get to all their questions. Below is the full The Modern Telco is Open, Part 2 Q&A.
Why are we virtualizing the central office?
Primarily to take advantage of virtualization, SDN , and cloud technologies to make the network infrastructure more flexible and agile to offer new services faster and closer to the end customers.
Aren’t central offices sacred to telcos? Wouldn’t that cause a huge operational disruption?
Telcos need to improve the speed and thus the economics for delivery of new services and virtualization is a key enabler — as with any evolution of network infrastructure, the service providers expect to make incremental changes to support new services and applications while minimizing disruption to their existing customers and services.
Are operators already contributing to the VCO project at OPNFV?
Absolutely — several Telcos are part of it – from AT&T, Comcast , Bell Canada, T-Mobile, and so on. All of them provided input and reviewed the paper we published on OPNFV site. We now have a new project going thru approvals on CRAN — being shepherded by China Mobile. Many operators are interested and contributing as part of the community with different Telcos trying to deploy this in there central offices. It is all part of the approach to enable edge compute. The goal is how to deploy that virtualized environment closer to the customers be it VCO or similar architectures.
What is the feedback from Telco and are they starting to build out VCO now?
They are starting to plan now and some are going ahead and doing that virtualization effort now, but many central offices are not virtualized yet. The journey has just begun and as time goes on and we get a better handle on a distributed OpenStack environment, there will be much wider adoption of VCO. Operators already have their lab environments for SD-WAN, mobile services — they are taking advantage of what is happening in the VCO project and planning to build it out to offer new applications and services.
What is the key benefit of having a VCO?
First/foremost on their minds is that agility is the only sustainable advantage to be successful. VCO gives them that ability to be more agile. Service providers want their choice of technologies to control their destiny and how they can deploy their services in there central offices. They need this multi-vendor open approach to on-board these VNFs and build out their services faster. This provides them with the control and choice of technologies to drive that pace of innovation. When you do those two things – it drives improvement to their bottom line — It enables them to have a common even across data center (IT) and central offices — with less things to manage, common operations models , single pane of glass to manage – that can only be achieved by a virtualized model — to help them achieve this goal of reducing their costs and offer innovative services to their customers.
What is the interest for real world deployments and what is the long-term vision for VCO?
The community of interest is really the people involved in OPNFV – both vendors and Telcos to take this open source approach to deliver services. Operators want to use a virtual distributed approach to take advantage of this effort to get that choice to pick and choose the functions and to stitch them together in a common way. Operators want to what they have done in production and apply this distributed model – many are already taking this approach and extending it with VCO. The long term vision for VCO is that this is a key way to evolve the architecture so that Operators can, in an open way, orchestrate, spin up new services quickly at will, wherever they want to deploy them. Operators can then innovate on top of that as new functionality becomes available – to take advantage of that flexibility to delivers new services faster and more economically.