Telefónica has dropped Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as the technology lead for the ambitious Unica project, a network makeover centered on network functions virtualization (NFV), according to a report in Light Reading today.
Telefónica hasn’t elaborate on its reasons, but it’s worth noting that the Spanish carrier was one of the few big names that didn’t join the OPNFV open source initiative. OPNFV recently decided to expand its charter to include NFV management and orchestration (MANO) — a crucial part of NFV, but a complex undertaking.
That decision might have been a factor with the Unica decision. When HPE (then Hewlett-Packard Co.) was selected for Unica in March, its HP NFV Director — part of the company’s own NFV stack, called OpenNFV — was one of the only orchestration options available.
In fact, Telefónica had been concerned enough about MANO to start its own project, OpenMANO. It consisted of Telefónica’s own virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) and NFV orchestrator, code that the carrier had already been sharing with vendors and that was turned into an open source project just in time for Mobile World Congress (MWC).
Unica is Telefónica’s network makeover, a new architecture based on virtualized infrastructure. Part of the goal is to provide services from the cloud, making for easier and faster deployment. It’s also meant to bring an end to proprietary infrastructure in the carrier’s network.
Unica is meant to be a gradual transition. The plan involved virtualizing a few nonessential functions first, such as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) structures. Core networks would come next, among them a virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) for LTE.
Telefónica had hoped to have 30 percent of its new buildouts running on the new model by 2016.
The Unica win was quite a coup for HPE at an MWC that seemed dominated by NFV chatter. HPE was to provide Unica with the OpenNFV platform stack along with servers, networking, and the Helion OpenStack distribution. HPE was also the systems integrator for the project.
On a more positive note for HPE, earlier this week the vendor announced it’s worked with China Telecom to open an NFV lab that’s based on OpenNFV.