Survey Finds: Majority of telcos are using OpenStack as the NFV platform of choice

It’s really no surprise to us that so many telecommunications companies are eyeing OpenStack. After all, the open source software platform gives them a path towards virtualized network platforms using network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud. But don’t just take our word for it. A new survey, conducted by Heavy Reading and commissioned by the OpenStack Foundation, confirms it: 86 percent of global telcos consider OpenStack essential or important to their success.

The survey also reveals that telcos are accelerating their adoption of NFV to increase network agility and mitigate costs, and using OpenStack as the NFV infrastructure platform of choice. In fact, 60 percent said using or testing OpenStack for NFV, and 37.8 percent said they are considering doing so. That’s a whopping 98.1 percent!

In a prepared statement announcing the survey findings, OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce said the OpenStack’s flexibility and versatility lets telecom companies combine business and communications IT under a single technology. He also said the telco industry is actively contributing to OpenStack’s advancement. “The contributions the telecom industry is making to OpenStack have far-reaching value for other businesses with challenging requirements such as high-availability, scaling, fault management, and a diverse footprint of facility sizes and locations,” Bryce said.

Deutsche Telekom, which is mentioned in the statement, is already using NFV in production environments. “In March 2015, we announced CloudVPN, our first production NFV workload running on OpenStack, a service available in Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary,” Axel Clauberg, vice president, Aggregation, Transport, IP at Deutsche Telekom AG, said.

The survey also explored communication service providers’ use and adoption plans of 5G, IoT and enterprise cloud. It found that 91 percent of telcos are already using or currently testing new use cases with OpenStack for IoT, and 80 percent are using or currently testing new use cases with OpenStack for 5G.

Respondents cited multiple benefits to using OpenStack, including the ability to offer new services more quickly, more rapid virtualization of the data center, and reduced operational and software costs. Nearly three-quarters, or 74 percent, of respondents said they are engaged with OpenStack. And almost all, or 99 percent of respondents are considering containers for both virtual network functions (VNFs) and business applications.

Heavy Reading surveyed its Light Reading database and received 113 responses from representatives of telcos around the world. A little more than half were from the United States, but companies from Europe, the Asia Pacific region, 9 Central/South America and Canada, and the Middle East were also represented.

To hear more on the survey, you can check out a free webinar the OpenStack Foundation is hosting on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, 11 a.m. to noon US CST).

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