Service Chaining to Unlock NFV's Potential for Telecom Operators, Heavy Reading Finds

NEW YORK, Nov. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Network service chaining is an emerging set of technologies and processes that have the potential to radically change how service provider networks are designed and operated, helping operators unlock the full power of their investments in NFV and SDN, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading (, the research division of Light Reading (

Service Chaining in Software-Centric Telecom Networks examines the drivers for service chaining in telecom operator networks and identifies the key technology innovations and architectural requirements needed to make the concept commercially attractive. It explores emerging use cases that take advantage of service chaining technology, discusses how different operators and vendors plan to implement the technology in their products and networks, and analyzes what can be learned from putative service chaining deployments in the software-defined data center.

This report profiles eight leading vendors of service chaining solutions, to provide a selection of different approaches to this evolving concept. The intent in the report is not to provide a comprehensive review of all vendors, which would be excessively long, but merely to offer an overview of the types of market propositions in play.

"Service chaining directly addresses operator demands for more flexible networks, service agility and business model innovation," says Gabriel Brown, Heavy Reading Senior Analyst and author of the report. "Multiple Heavy Reading operator surveys have identified service agility as being the driving force behind NFV deployments, for which the ability to insert virtualized network functions into software-configured processing paths in the appropriate order is critical. Service chaining addresses the requirement for both optimization of the network, through better utilization of resources; and monetization, through the provision of services that are tailored to the customer context."

While the concept of service chaining is important and there is promising market activity, there is not yet any common definition of network service chaining. However, this uncertainty is actually a positive, Brown explains: "Given that agility and flexibility are objectives of dynamic service chaining, the technology should be deployed commercially in advance of formal standardization and specification. There are already several proofs-of-concept underway in operator networks, and some limited commercial deployments of dynamic service chaining. In practice, the constraints of formal definition don't necessarily matter all that much – yet."

Key findings of Service Chaining in Software-Centric Telecom Networks include the following:

Hardwired services characterized by hand-crafted complexity, with lifecycles that are long and static, result in "network ossification" and limit the addressable market for telecom services. The ability to innovate and iterate in the application layer will be one of the primary advantages of service chaining to network operators.

Network service chaining is inherent to software-centric networking technologies such as virtualization, NFV and SDN – in fact, it is a natural application of these technologies. Operators will not realize the full potential of NFV and SDN unless they are able to take advantage of service chaining to redefine their operating models and processes.

Early use cases for network service chaining include enterprise WAN services, virtual enterprise CPE and data center network services. A defining feature of these use cases is that they seek to offer a "granular" service configuration customized for a particular user group. In each case, the customer is also, in theory, able to configure, manage and change the combination of services to which they are subscribed through a remote portal.

Service Chaining in Software-Centric Telecom Networks costs $3,995 and is published in PDF format. The price includes an enterprise license covering all of the employees at the purchaser's company.

For additional information, or to request a free executive summary of this report, please contact:

David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
Heavy Reading

Press/analyst contact:
Dennis Mendyk
Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading

About Heavy Reading
Heavy Reading (, the research division of Light Reading, offers deep analysis of emerging telecom trends to network operators, technology suppliers, and investors. Its product portfolio includes in-depth reports that address critical next-generation technology and service issues, market trackers that focus on the telecom industry's most critical technology sectors, exclusive worldwide surveys of network operator decision-makers that identify future purchasing and deployment plans, and a rich array of custom and consulting services that give clients the market intelligence needed to compete successfully in the global telecom industry.

About Light Reading
Light Reading ( combines its research-led online communities and targeted events portfolio to help those in the global communications industry make informed decisions. is the ultimate source for telecom analysis for more than 350,000 subscribers each month, leading the media sector in terms of traffic, content, and reputation. Light Reading produces targeted communications events and focused one-day conferences each year for cable, mobile, and wireline executives across five continents.

Logo -

SOURCE Heavy Reading