April 25, 2023

Director of Product Marketing

Network Cloud Large Deployments – Lessons Learned – Part 2

In the first part of this two-part blog post, we reviewed the need for “software magic” by service providers (SPs) and their need for agility in a dynamic live network. In this post we will review an additional three key lessons that SPs have learned from their DriveNets Network Cloud deployments. 

Network Cloud Large Deployments – Lessons Learned – Part 2

#3 SPs are revolutionizing networks with small but strategic steps

Service providers understand that seamless integration is crucial for successful replacement of working technologies, even before beginning new deployments. While SPs acknowledge the need for new network architectures to support increasing data traffic, they may still be cautious about adopting new technologies due to past failures in infrastructure transformation, such as with VNF and CNF. Service providers have realized that operational familiarity can play a significant role in ensuring frictionless integration and avoiding negative side effects. Therefore, leveraging familiarity can help accelerate confidence within operations and catalyze the deployment process.

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NCNF: From Network on a Cloud to Network Cloud

DriveNets Network Cloud delivers the elasticity of the cloud while still feeling familiar to operations. This familiarity makes it easier for service providers to adopt and utilize new and revolutionary infrastructure. By transforming off-the-shelf white boxes into an orchestrated shared resource over which network functions are installed in a container, SPs can operate any function through a single command-line interface (CLI), just like a classic router. This familiar environment wrapping the new disruptive solutions has helped service providers build confidence from within. Leveraging the familiar CLI experience, SPs have been able to grow their networks and enjoy the benefits of unlimited scalability, agility and simpler operations.


DriveNets Network Cloud allows operating multiple network functions through a single command-line interface (CLI)

#4 Multi-vendor solutions may need one leader  

The primary advantage of disaggregation is the ability to mix and match components from various vendors. This creates faster software innovation cycles, rapid offering of new services, greater choice, and reduced dependence on a single vendor.

“We are pushing for disaggregation in all the network layers. Why? When decoupling the software and the hardware you can have different innovation cycles and you can bring new things to the network in a faster way. 

Cayetano Carbajo, VP Core, Transport & Service Platforms, Telefónica

Talking about disaggregated cloud-native networking at MWC 2023

The way service providers adopt disaggregated solutions differentiate them from one another. While some SPs quickly embrace a multi-vendor approach, others may view disaggregation as a mixed blessing as they prefer a single point of accountability. From their perspective, the perceived disadvantage of a multi-vendor solution is that it can lead to a “blame game” between vendors during root-cause analysis, making issue resolution difficult.

For this reason, service providers are pushing networking vendors to adopt a more flexible approach for addressing these concerns. vendors delivering a multi-vendor solution should embrace any responsibility model required by the SP, including taking end-to-end responsibility for the solution. This means that any issue, whether software- or hardware-related, is subject to the software vendor’s SLA. Alternatively, if the SP so prefers, the vendor should shift to a shared responsibility model where the SP leads any hardware communication. In this way, any service provider can enjoy the much-needed benefits of a multi-vendor model, while also eliminating any concerns they may have regarding responsibility prior to deployment. 

Although both responsibility models are valid, the majority of service providers seek complete control over the solution to exercise greater authority over the total cost of ownership (TCO).

#5 The winning strategy is network disaggregation

Service providers are struggling to keep up with the demand for traffic and new services from over-the-top (OTT) services and hyperscale companies. As such, SPs need a more flexible and cost-effective networking architecture. 

Disaggregation is increasingly becoming the go-to approach for SPs facing network challenges. AT&T’s largest DDC network deployment serves as a prime example, with 52% of its core network traffic carried by DriveNets DNOS software running on white boxes. This approach has enabled significant improvements in data traffic load, supporting up to 594 petabytes of data per day, surpassing all previously anticipated traffic loads. It also has significantly reduced costs by around 10 times compared to legacy architectures.

“White boxes offer AT&T a capital savings of about 10X compared to traditional chassis and line card architecture.” 

John Gibbons, VP Network Infrastructure Services, AT&T

AT&T VP: Fiber backbone carries 594 PB of traffic per day

At MWC 2023, Orange reported a 20% reduction in TCO by using disaggregation to build an elastic and flexible network, while Telefonica is actively promoting infrastructure disaggregation in all network domains. These statements align with other telco giants like Turkcell, Vodafone, and KDDI, who also are publicly advocating and deploying open disaggregated solutions throughout their network domains. 

Commercially available disaggregated solutions are demonstrating that the core issues of service providers, such as cost savings, faster innovation and scalability, can be addressed by open disaggregated network solutions. As a result, disaggregated networking is a well-established and compelling solution for any service provider.

Looking forward to future deployments

In this two-part blog post, we have examined five valuable lessons learned by service providers: 

  1. Service providers are seeking “software magic” 
  2. Agility in a dynamic live network is possible when done right 
  3. SPs are revolutionizing networks with small but strategic steps 
  4. Multi-vendor solutions may need one leader  
  5. The winning strategy is disaggregation

It is clear that service providers, particular those operating tier-1 networks, are no longer afraid to pursue disruptive and agile solutions. Recognizing that traditional networking solutions are unable to deliver the elastic networks they require; SPs have identified methods to implement and operate disruptive technologies successfully. Most importantly, these SPs have found, and are reaping the benefits from, the emerging go-to approach: disaggregation!

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NCNF: From "Network on a Cloud" to "Network Cloud"

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