1. Disaggregation in earnest: We have heard about the trend where customers will buy hardware from one vendor, virtualization software from another, VNFs from yet another set of vendors, so on and so forth. But this has largely not materialized. With 5G/edge, I am definitely seeing serious interest in disaggregation. From our stand point, ONAP is well suited to address this trend from an orchestration, management, and automation point of view as it is vendor agnostic.
2. Cloud native: The conventional wisdom is that the move from VNFs to CNFs (cloud native network functions) will take a long time—perhaps 3-5 years. I am seeing something quite surprising, some customers are betting the farm on CNFs and cloud native applications for 5G/edge in 2020! ONAP definitely has the lead on K8s and CNF support, so I find this trend very promising.
3. Open source: Several operators are starting to adopt an open source "first" methodology. In other words, technologists at these companies need to justify to the management team why they want to use proprietary software instead of open source. Open source is not for the faint of heart though, and I am hoping more and more customers will understand how to engage effectively with open source projects such as ONAP.
4. Widespread adoption of automation: Automation is now new. A lot of aspects of SDN/NFV have been already been automated. However, we are yet to see widespread adoption of automation frameworks. With 5G/edge around the corner, it will not be viable for humans to manage fault and performance management issues. For this reason, I feel automation using frameworks such as ONAP DCAE +AI/ML will be adopted starting in 2020.
5. Convergence of management and orchestration layers. There are so many layers of management and orchestration, e.g. LSO (MEF Lifecycle Service Orchestration), NFVO for VNFs, NFVO for CNFs, MEAO (Multi-Access Edge Computing Application Orchestration), and SDN Orchestration. There just isn't enough room for so many different platforms. My prediction is that all of these platforms will get collapsed into one framework such as ONAP. Of course there will still be cloud orchestration using OpenStack or Kubernetes, but the rest should get consolidated.
Curious to know how ONAP, more specifically the ONAP4K8s profile, can help with CNFs, 5G, and edge? Come see us as ONES in Los Angeles in April where we will have several demos/presentations on these topics. Set up a meeting with us (scroll down to the contact us form).