Interview with Diego Lopez (Head of Technology Exploration, Telefonica)


Diego Lopez

Ahead of Network Virtualization Forum 2015, we’ve conducted an exclusive interview with Diego Lopez from Telefonica, about his upcoming contribution and his opinions on the key challenges and developments regarding the SDN & NFV landscape.


Would you be able to go into detail regarding your experience in the industry and your current role?

I am among the “founding fathers” of the NFV concept and the ETSI NFV ISG, and engaged with SDN concepts since quite a while ago. Currently I am in charge of network virtualization research in Telefonica; I chair the ETSI NFV Technical Steering Committee, and the NFV Research Group in the IRTF

What excites you about the implementation of SDN and NFV technologies?

Essentially the possibility to bring all the flexibility and adaptability that software has brought to IT practice into the field of network infrastructure.

How far away do you think we are before we start to see some real-world impacts?

Real-world impact is already here. SDN is becoming widespread in datacenters, and the first software-based network services have already being announced. It is true there is a long way to make software networks commonplace, but the first steps (the most difficult ones) are already taken.

What is holding back SDN and NFV technologies at the moment?

More than anything, cultural resistance in the industry: operators, vendors, regulators and even users.

Is there a solution in the near future?

The sheer power of the market itself! Technologies are mature enough for quite a few use cases, and the direct benefits and market opportunities will drive the transformation. Laggards will lose market position

What aspects of the industry do you feel SDN and NFV will have the positive impact?

Many of them, though I think the most relevant would be service adaptability and personalization, reduced time to market, and reduced operational costs.

And are there any drawbacks which you are slightly concerned about?

As in any case of a technology paradigm shift, there is a high number of different proposals, and the temptation of labelling almost everything as SDN or NFV. This can be a cause for misunderstandings and failures.

Are you able to offer any insight into the projects which you are working on at the moment?

I’d say the two most significant ones are focused on an integrated development environment that attempts to bring the software engineering practices to network service development and deployment, and another one intended to provide personalized security services, which I believe will become a key use case for NFV and SDN generalization.

What other projects have caught your attention?

We are currently considering the application of software network principles to 5G, especially in what relates to additional orchestration requirements, function composition, and the application of machine learning to service deployment and management.

Finally, what are your predictions for the remainder of 2015?

We’ll see the consolidation of the initial NFV deployments already announced in 2014, with much more operators announcing NFV-enabled services, and a much clearer view of interoperability requirements for NFV, as a result of the current activity in the ETSI NFV ISG


If you can provide insight and a business case for the implementation of SDN and NFV in a real-world environment, I’d be very interested in hearing from you.

During September (16-17), IIR’s 4th Annual Network Virtualization Forum, will be taking place in Madrid. With speakers already confirmed from the likes of Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, ETSI NFV ISG, MEF, du, Portugal Telecom, Telefonica, INTUG, BICS, TeliaSonera and T-Systems, the conference will address the more practical side of SDN & NFV; what is the roadmap to deployment and how can we monetize the networks?

If you have an interest in attending or speaking at the meeting, drop me through a quick email.

Jamie Davies: Jamie.davies@iir-telecom.com

IIR background

4th Annual Network Virtualization Forum, Europe
16-17 September 2015 (with a LSO pre-conference workshop hosted by MEF on the 15th)
Melia Avenida, Madrid

Pre-order the conference brochure right here

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