Virtualization has been part of the business and networking language for the past five years. For early adopters, what has proven elusive is realizing the expected benefits of virtualization, especially the financial, service creation and agility benefits.
Operators are raising questions regarding the maturity of virtualized and cloudified solutions, the integration of multivendor solutions and the proposed virtualization cost efficiencies promoted by many vendors. We see this as having a negative effect on the progress toward core network virtualization, even as 5G will depend on this virtualized core. Operators that are deploying virtualized cores are also looking for these advanced upgraded cores to support not just 4G but 5G services and applications.
Addressing these concerns, vendors are starting to provide virtualized solutions that are increasingly cloud-native and micro-serviced based. What has largely been missing from the equation is the combination of these micro-service, cloud-native applications into an integrated solution. The question is no longer whether to adopt a virtualized network solution, but rather why not adopt an integrated, cloudified network core instead of separate stand-alone or virtualized solutions?
Solution vendors have progressed into cloud-native development, and operators are looking past early virtualization efforts into cloudified solutions for easier and faster creation of services with reduced integration costs, higher network performance and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
For this study, we looked at the integrated virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) solution from Affirmed Networks. The integrated solution includes integrated virtualized network functions for GiLAN, automation, analytics and probe as part of the vEPC. This is compared to stand-alone best-of-breed multi-vendor solutions for similar functionality to the integrated vEPC solution. The Affirmed integrated vEPC solution provides a maximum capital expense (CapEx) savings of up to 81% and maximum operations expense (OpEx) savings of over 94% with specific operator configurations generally resulting in CapEx savings of 50% and OpEx savings of 87% over five years compared to the best-of-breed solution.
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