In this year’s Huawei Global Analyst Summit, Huawei discussed everything from NFV to SDN to Data Centers to Storage.
Prior to the conference I had the opportunity to visit the company’s Beijing center which focuses on IP. At only a couple of years old, the Beijing center hosts more than 5,000 employees and an SDN lab.
During the conference, Huawei indicated it is forecasting $40B in revenue for its Carrier division by 2018 up from 2013’s $27.5B. This 8% CAGR is in contrast to the 11% CAGR that the Carrier division experienced from 2009 to 2013.
I also had the opportunity to visit Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen. One of the demos included a live example of commercial off-the-shelf servers running packet core functionality. Yup, NFV. In the demo, Huawei simulated bringing on new virtualized network functions and later bringing them down, based upon an increase in load on the system. Huawei also demonstrated a disaster, by literally pulling a network cable out of a server, so that we could see how long it would take for another server to boot up a new virtual machine and take over. The system appeared to work well, but time will tell if this solution will be ready for a live environment as carriers will need to perform months, if not more than a year of testing before deploying it in a real network.
In summary, Huawei has shown strong progress as it works to transform concepts into commercial products. For SDN, competitors in the industry have made significant gains of their own, but few have been as vocal about testing at carriers as Huawei. For NFV, virtually all incumbent vendors are pouring money into R&D for their own solutions. Huawei’s strong IMS and Evolved Packet Core market share may aid adoption of their solution, as these two technologies are likely two of the first to be converted into NFV implementations. Regardless of who gets the first commercial deployments, this analyst is eagerly waiting for what’s in store for the future.