Heavy Reading Survey: 86 Percent of Global Telecoms Report OpenStack Important or Essential to Their Success

A survey recently conducted by Heavy Reading reveals that 85.8 percent of telecom respondents consider OpenStack to be essential or important to their success. The survey, commissioned by the OpenStack Foundation, explores current usage and adoption plans of communications service providers (CSPs) particularly with respect to NFV, 5G, IoT and enterprise cloud. Attend a webinar hosted by Heavy Reading senior analyst Roz Roseboro on November 9 for a deep dive into the survey results, and hear directly from telecoms at the OpenStack Summit Barcelona, October 25-28, 2016.

Facing unprecedented traffic and rapidly evolving customer expectations, telecom providers worldwide are accelerating their adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) to increase network agility and mitigate costs, and OpenStack has emerged as the NFV infrastructure platform of choice. Already, numerous telecom providers and enterprise leaders have chosen to implement NFV with OpenStack. AT&T, Bloomberg LP, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT Group, SK Telecom and Verizon are among the organizations documented using OpenStack for NFV.

“The flexibility and versatility of OpenStack as a cloud and NFV platform allows telecom companies to combine business and communications IT under a single technology,” said Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation, “We’re seeing incredible progress and rapid adoption of OpenStack by the telecom industry, and in return, 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.”

Axel Clauberg, vice president, Aggregation, Transport, IP at Deutsche Telekom AG, reports, “Deutsche Telekom is well on its way taking NFV into production. In March 2015, we announced CloudVPN, our first production NFV workload running on OpenStack, a service available in Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary. Deutsche Telekom supports OpenStack and contributes requirements and code to help advance NFV features more rapidly.” Jörn Kellermann, senior vice president of Global IT Operations, T-Systems International, GmbH (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom) will be a keynote speaker at OpenStack Summit Barcelona.

Key Findings:

Heavy Reading surveyed its Light Reading database and received 113 responses from representatives of telecom companies around the world: 54 percent from the US, 14.2 percent from Europe, 11.5 percent from the Asia Pacific region, 8.9 percent each from Central/South America and Canada; and 2.7 percent from the Middle East.

  • Highly Valued: 85.8 percent consider OpenStack to be essential or important to their success.
  • Rapid Adoption: Telecoms are already using or currently testing new use cases with OpenStack for:
  • NFV: 60.3 percent using or testing; 37.8 percent considering (total 98.1percent)
  • IoT: 41.3 percent using or testing; 49.5 percent considering (total 90.8 percent)
  • 5G: 30.6 percent using or testing; 49.1 percent considering (total 79.7 percent)
  • Multiple Benefits: In popularity order, the benefits cited most often are:
  • Offer new services more quickly (This was by far the most-cited benefit, outpacing the next by 24 percent)
  • More rapid virtualization of the data center
  • Reduced operational cost
  • Reduced software cost

Strong Community Engagement: 73.5 percent of respondents are engaged with OpenStack, primarily by contributing to the software, contributing requirements and use cases, and attending OpenStack Summits and OpenStack Days community events. Neutron is the OpenStack project most contributed to, followed closely by Nova.

OpenStack Neutron Plug-in Popularity: The survey revealed that telecoms are using a mix of open source and commercial OpenStack Neutron plug-ins for SDN and virtual switching. The variety of plug-ins selected in the survey validate OpenStack’s strategy of providing user choice.

Containers on the Rise: 99 percent of respondents are considering containers for both VNFs and business applications. 68.4 percent will definitely use containers for VNFs, and almost all others are considering them (30.6 percent). This is slightly higher than using containers for business apps (63.6 percent definitely or likely, 35.5 percent potentially).

“One of the findings of this survey, which is borne out in other open source research we’ve conducted recently, is the high degree of awareness of OpenStack among the telecom industry,” said Roz Roseboro, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. “Also impressive is the large number of organizations using or testing NFV solutions on OpenStack; this number has grown considerably in comparison to similar studies we conducted only a year and a half ago. The number of telecoms using or testing Internet of Things solutions on OpenStack is also significant, as IoT is a rising star, and OpenStack is well positioned to be an integral resource in this high-growth arena.”

The OpenStack Summit taking place this October in Barcelona, Spain, will feature a telecom/NFV keynote address, user presentations, workshops, panels and collaborative sessions. Among the telecom user speakers will be AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and Verizon.

A highlight of the keynote address on October 25 will be a live NFV fault management demonstration with OpenStack Congress and Vitrage, based on the OPNFV Doctor Framework. Another special demonstration will be held in the Marketplace; EANTC (European Advanced Networking Test Center) will broadcast NFV tests from the Berlin test center, showcasing OpenStack-based interoperability and performance for a variety of telecom solutions.

Approximately 6,000 attendees from 50+ countries are expected to attend the Summit to discuss how the OpenStack open source cloud platform is helping companies increase agility and save money as software becomes more strategic to their business.


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