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NFV(NetworkFunctionsVirtualisation)andSDN(SoftwareDefinedNetworking)offernewwaysfortelecom

operatorstodesign,build,operateandmanageinformationnetworks.Expertsatthe2015AfricaCom
Conferencefrom1719November2015inCapeTown,willunpacktheseveryhottopicswhicharesureto
generatesomeintensediscussion.
PressuresthatarebeingnotedbytelecomoperatorsinAfricaincludethecontinualthreatfromOvertheTop(OTT)
serviceproviders,aswellasthepressuretoreducecostsandsignificantlyincreaseagilityandspeedbywhichservicesare
createdanddeployed.SDxCentral.com,anindustryspecificwebsite,notesothertrendsaffectingoperatorsbusinessesare
theincreasedinnovationindevicesusedtoaccessnetworks,themanydifferentappsandservicesuseddailyandthe
increasingcomputingandstorageneeds.Astheunderlyingnetworkthatconnectsallofthesethingsremainsessentially
unchanged,thisincreaseindemandisstretchingitslimits.Forthisreason,investmentinNFV&SDNhasneverbeen
moreimportant.
GeorgeDebbo,aSouthAfricanSDNandNFVexpertspeakingatAfricaCom,saysthatNFVandSDNofferspecific
benefitstoAfricanOperatorsthatfacechallengesoflowcoverage,buthighcapacitydemandslimitedtechnicalpersonnel
skillsbaseandauxiliaryinfrastructure(suchasgridpowerandenvironmentalfacilities)notbeingsupportiveof
deployingsophisticatedandintelligenttelecommunicationsystems,especiallyinruralareas.
OperatorsinAfricahaverealisedtheimportanceofinvestinginSDNandNFVnow.ATelecoms.comsurveydonein
March2015,foundthat76%ofAfricanoperatorssayNFV/SDNisthetop,oroneofthetop,prioritiesforthenext12
months.Thesurveyalsofoundthat83%ofAfricanoperatorsintendtorolloutvirtualisedarchitectureorservices,into
thelivenetworkbetweennowand2017.
PaoloCampoli,HeadofMiddleEast&AfricaGlobalSPSalesandSPCTOfortheEMEASalesRegionatCiscoLead
sponsoroftheSDN&NetworkVirtualisationprogrammeatAfricaComalsoaddedhiscommentssaying:CiscosNFV
architecturewillhelpAfricanServiceProviderstotransformtheirnetworkstoprepareforthedigitizationintheIoT/IoE
era.WehavecombinedNFVwithtwocomplementarytechnologyinitiativesnamelyOpenSourcetohelpfreean
organizationstechnicaltalenttoinnovateandSDN,whichisenablingorganizationstoaccelerateapplicationdeployment
anddeliverywhilstdramaticallyreducingITcosts.SDNalsoenhancesthebenefitsofdatacentervirtualization,increasing
resourceflexibilityandutilizationandreducesinfrastructurecostsandoverheadandenablesnetworkprogrammabilityand
codedevelopmenttobringapplicationsandnetworkscloser.