We caught up with Diego Lopez, Technical Manager ETSI NFV ISG and Head of Technology Exploration, Global CTO Unit, Telefonica I&D, Spain, to find out his thoughts on the SDN and NFV industry in 2014.   Diego, thank you for joining us. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date? DRL: ”I believe, the coming of age of both technologies. We have witnessed their evolution from the labs to standardization activities and, what is more important, into actual deployment in real services (for real users and dealing with real money). SDN and NFV are no longer only part of the future of networking, they also have a role in its present.”   Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like? DRL: “Not as much as I'd like to, but I am impatient by nature! :-) The industry has made amazing progress, and the momentum of this network virtualisation techniques, the degree of commitment of the major players, and the thriving innovation ecosystem is extremely promising.”   How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN and NFV at present? DRL: “Telefónica has recently made a bold commitment of having one third of our infrastructure supported by a virtualised framework by 2016, so you can imagine how interested we are in this realisation. We have been part of the leadership of the NFV ISG and members of the ONF. And beyond all that, we strongly believe in a "make things happen" approach, so we continue our own R&D activities on SDN and NFV.”   What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome? DRL: “There are technology gaps, but I believe they can be overcome by hard work and proper co-ordination: the amount of mind-power focused on these gaps is amazing. There are other gaps, related to the necessary cultural changes among operators and vendors, that will be harder to deal with. We must bear in mind that these technologies bring a real paradigm shift, not only to the industry itself, but also to its foundations.”   Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why? DRL: “This varies very much from operator to operator, their nature, their customer base, their cost structure and their strategic plans. What is certain is that there will not be a "NFV/SDN zero day" for anyone, and that virtualized and non-virtualized infrastructures will be around for many years to come.”   What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years? DRL: ”To have a much more mature understanding of the new network design and operation principles they bring, with a stable industry offer of software, supporting infrastructure and management/orchestration elements. And to see SDN and NFV as a key enabler for the next generation of network infrastructures and services.”   Which company do you most admire in the SDN / NFV space, and why? DRL: ”Would it sound too conceited if I said mine? From the beginning, Telefónica has made a strong bet for NFV/SDN as enablers for network transformation, and we are proud to be the first operator running a NFV trial in a real operating environment and with real users.”

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