IHS: Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Orchestration Software Vendors Analyzed

IHS-Infonetics released excerpts from its NFV Orchestration Software Vendor Leadership Analysis, which profiles and analyzes 10 leading network functions virtualization (NFV) orchestration software vendors: Brocade, Ciena Blue Planet, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Juniper, NEC/Netcracker and Nokia. 

The report examines vendors’ approaches to and overall activities in the NFV orchestration software market to understand how suppliers are approaching this emerging opportunity and gauge the most likely market winners as the market matures. 

“Each of the vendors profiled in our network functions virtualization (NFV) leadership report brings a unique vision to the market, are providing innovation and thought leadership to support their vision, and will play an important role in shaping NFV orchestration with their products, partnerships and contributions to open source initiatives,” said Michael Howard, senior research director and advisor for carrier networks at IHS. 

“The big revenue opportunities in NFV are with big service providers who want a prime vendor or two that can put together all the multi-vendor software, hardware, partners and services to develop and deploy virtualization to help them meet their fairly urgent needs for automation, agility and services differentiation,” Howard said. 


  • Brocade has become a strong contender in the NFV market via acquisitions and has created a portfolio including OpenDaylight software distribution, virtual routers (vRouters) and other virtual network functions (VNFs)
  • Thanks to multi-vendor/domain functionality, a standards-based NFV platform and professional services, Blue Planet, a division of Ciena, is gaining visibility with large service providers who’ve traditionally only worked with incumbent suppliers
  • Possessing many attributes the new world of NFV requires — including existing customer relationships, data center IT experience, NFV orchestration and enough employees to address many NFV opportunities — is telecom giantCisco
  • Dell brings its NFV hardware and software portfolio in combination with a number of partnerships with well-known NFV software suppliers to showcase an open, standards-based NFV platform
  • Ericsson is collaborating with other industry players to bring NFV to an industrial scale, providing a full suite of virtualized network applications, network and cloud managers, analytics, consulting and system integration services
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise was one of the earliest large vendors to invest in a major strategic effort to become a significant NFV player and has all the ingredients to be a prime supplier for NFV projects
  • A serious contender in the service provider NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) markets, Huawei continues to invest for success and has all the major components to serve as a main vendor for large operators
  • Juniper’s use of standard protocols allows it to create third-party partnerships and increase the variety of NFV use cases, boding well as large service providers develop vendor-agnostic networks to avoid vendor lock-in
  • With deep operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS),NEC/Netcracker’s NFV software has the operational functionality needed for hybrid networks containing physical and virtual networks
  • Nokia is one of the main players for NFV management and orchestration (MANO) and is well suited to be a prime vendor for not just NFV MANO endeavors, but the full range of NFV and SDN projects


For more information about the report, contact the sales department at IHS in the Americas at +1 844 301 7334 or [email protected]; in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at +44 1344 328 300 or [email protected]; or Asia Pacific (APAC) at +604 291 3600 or [email protected].

Please note that the content manager for this blog website (yours truly) has a different opinion of the NFV market. We’ve outlined in previous posts, that the main issues are: no standard Management & Orchestration functional block, lack of APIs and no implementable standards or backward compatibilty with the installed base of real/physical network appliances.  

We’ve also stated that Open NFV could potentially address those shortcomings, but we’ve not followed that open source consortium’s progress.  Failing to address those NFV shortcomings will result in a fractured market where different vendors sell various “virtual appliances” with APIs to their own Management & Orchestration entity or one created by a partner NFV company.

In an email reply on Feb 18, 2015, Michael Howard of IHS wrote:

“I see many directions for “industry standard” NFV orchestration: a split in the OPNFV group on the most difficult part, the MANO; the HP OpenNFV and other vendors’ versions; at least 1 initiative in Asia; Telefonica’s OpenMANO.

The issue for operators – and vendors – is that most large operators want standards – and NFV MANO inparticular — but don’t want to wait until they are available. This leaves vendors and operators to develop viable “platforms” into which pieces and parts can be mixed and matched—and these “platforms” are available or becoming available from many of the telecom vendors, the OSS companies, and some smaller specialists. Few of the operator contributors to OPNFV are sitting around awaiting the results—they can’t wait to get into the game, to find out how to bring automation to their services and networks.”