Interview with Takashi Ooi, Senior Vice President – Network Services, NTT Communications

Takashi Ooi

Takashi Ooi, Senior Vice President – Network Services, NTT Communications

Takashi will be speaking at the SDN & NFV Asia Summit 2014 on Wednesday, December 3 at the Suntec in Singapore. Click here to download the full agenda.

If you are an operator/carrier you can claim your free pass here, alternatively if you are not an operator/carrier you can register here. 

Are you happy to go into detail about your experience in the industry and current role?

For nearly 30 years in NTT, I have contributed to the success and innovation of our network services. Over the course, I have had direct insight and experience in many functions of the global network business. I have led the installations of multi-national companies’ network, relationship management with business partners including regional and local carriers, and development of Arcstar Universal One™ – NTT Communications’ VPN service for global enterprises offering a broad range of connectivity options, 24 x 7 support in 196 countries/regions.

And this year, I have led the initiative to revamp our organization to implement SDN and NFV technologies to our network service. Our SDN and NFV enabled Cloud-based Network Services – provided as a value added service to Arcstar Universal One™ – will allow network to become more agile and responsive to end-user business needs while reducing costs. We have become the first service provider to launch such service in a global scale.

What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

Success of virtualization technology is a key factor, of course. But another important factor is the reliability of network. Improving reliability of network guarantees the connection between the central controller and infrastructure, allowing enterprises to fully leverage the on-demand agility and flexibility of SDN and NFV enabled services.

For further progress, contributions of vendors are essential. With more products offered as software instead of dedicated appliance, we can establish an “app store” for network services, allowing enterprises to select and deploy features when and where they are needed.

Why is Virtualization so important to the future of the industry? Can you explain why SDN & NFV will benefit enterprises?

The evolution of network virtualization will have a huge impact for our industry by changing the way enterprises, service providers and hardware vendors build networks.

Traditional enterprise network comprises hundreds or even thousands of network devices and functions: routers, switches, WAN accelerators, firewalls etc. They are designed to be resilient and reliable, but they are also inflexible. On top of this, enterprises must recruit skilled IT staff to operate these appliances.

With NFV technology, network functionality – from routing and encoding to encryption and filtering – can be delivered in ‘as-a-Service’ model from the service provider’s platform. This means that enterprises will no longer need to own and manage thousands of network appliances installed on-premises. By reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO), the proportion of enterprise IT budget to keep the network system running can be re-allocated to more innovative projects that support business growth.

Furthermore, a friendly support from SDN will enable enterprises to remotely control these network functions. In NTT Com’s case, we provide a web customer portal that enables self-service activation and real-time configuration. The flexibility and agility of network will help enterprises keep up the speed within the competitive business environment.

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritized for virtualization, and why?

As mentioned earlier, virtualizing on-premises network devices would be a key driver. NFV is a virtualization approach similar to server virtualization. It removes the operating systems of proprietary hardware like router, WAN accelerator or firewall, and migrate the intelligence to servers within the network cloud. Each of these servers can also be virtualized so that the software controlling the data flow is always up-to-date and configurable through a simple web portal.

Especially in the world today where end-users and business ecosystems are geographically distributed, it would take allot of human labor and expenses to manage and operate various network devices. Migration of these devices from on-premises to network-hosted virtual machines will not only benefit enterprises, but also simplifies delivery and operation model for service providers like us. Without this initiative, enterprise network cannot scale to meet the changing end-users needs, thus eventually will become a bottle-neck for company’s business growth.

Are you able to share with us some of the projects you have in the pipeline? How is your company working to realize the potential of SDN and NFV?

Most of our customers in the pipeline today are interested in the NFV-enabled cloud-based network functions.

For example, one of our customers listed in Global 100 is considering service deployment in 100+ sites. The service will not only help optimize IT costs, but because the necessary network functions will be extended to all 100 + sites – including small branch offices and retail shops where there are limitations to IT budget – the service will support improving end-user experience.

From a service provider perspective, how can SDN, NFV and the Cloud drive service delivery benefits?

The cloud-based nature of NFV-enabled capabilities allows service providers wider latitude for innovation by…

  • lowering the cost and risk of new service development and accelerating the time to market new offerings.
  • allowing us to stay vendor neutral.
  • enabling us to introduce new business models, such as “pay-per-use” payment. Our Cloud-based Network Services can provide customers choices of contract terms: hourly, daily, monthly and yearly.

What challenges have you faced in implementing network virtualization, whilst maintaining efficiency?

Achieving the automation and flexibility required for the NFV-enabled services on top of our traditional network infrastructure without disrupting our existing customers, was the most challenging work. But in the end we were able to come up with a clever solution that enabled us to launch our Cloud-based Network Services globally.

What role do you think Trade Shows play in helping the development of the SDN & NFV movement?

The role of the Trade Shows can be helpful in two areas:

  • Increase the knowledge of SDN and NFV within the industry
  • Increase the comfort level for enterprises to adopt these new technologies
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