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Diego Lopez – Telefonica

Diego LopezTelefonica

Diego Lopez is Assistant Technical Manager of ETSI’s Network Funictions Virtualisation ISG and Head of Technology Exploration in the Global CTO Unit of Telefonica, Spain. In advance of SDN World, we caught up with him to ask him about Telefonica’s outlook on SDN and his thoughts on the growth of the industry.

Diego, what is the significance of SDN for telcos?

“My view is that SDN will bring to networking a dramatic change (a “paradigm shift” is the term I’d employ if it had not become a little bit too overused), very similar to what Java meant for applications fifteen years ago. Things are going to change, though very probably not in the exact way we foresee now. And, as you can imagine, if such a dramatic change to networking occurs it will involve practically every network operator, at all levels.”

Why is carrier-class SDN so important?

“Essentially, because we are carriers! :-) Seriously speaking, SDN has proved its applicability in data centre environments, highly regular and homogenous not only in the infrastructure itself but also in what relates to the use of a limited set of protocols, reasonably controlled application usage patterns, and a highly centralised control and supervised operation.

“Moving SDN into much wider networks implies not only addressing the challenges about extremely high resilience with necessarily decentralised control, but the ability to address the high heterogeneity at all levels that characterises current network infrastructures.”

How quickly do you think SDN and NFV will become a reality?

“It is already happening, and I do think it will bring a snowball effect: the more environments where these techniques are applied the more other environments in which their application will become appealing. It is true that we are at the beginning of the slope, but I think that the interest and commitment of the whole industry (operators and vendors) is clear, compelling use cases have been around for a while, and real-life demonstrations are about to start.”

What do you think will be the best use-case scenarios for SDN and NFV?

“I’d reverse the question: what scenarios are not extraordinarily appealing for SDN and NFV? None I can think of. And the most appealing to me are those related with the possibility of providing powerful abstractions, easing the definition of E2E services over heterogeneous networks in dynamic way. I have sometimes referred to it as finding the equivalent in networking to what SQL was for database technologies.”

How does Telefonica intend to use SDN and NFV in coming years? What difference will it make to your ongoing operations?

“Virtualisation, with SDN and NFV being terms of the general equation, is one of our key strategies for network evolution. It will translate in much more flexible infrastructures, centred on the user, and able to provide a much better experience at lower costs of operation. The phased approach we have in mind, aligned with the pace of infrastructure updates, will help us in making such a deep change much smoother.”

Diego will be detailing Telefonica’s vision in greater detail at SDN World in Barcelona on 11-13 June 2013.