I believe it was 1965 when Bruce Tuckman first introduced the notion that all teams go through four inevitable phases in their evolution - forming, storming, norming, and performing.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit with many of our partners and customers at the Network Virtualization & SDN World Congress in London, and was struck at how much our efforts in the NFV movement revolve around the notion of a team - or ecosystem as we prefer to say.
The show was literally "teeming" with teams - some focused on addressing the "big rocks" of NFV, and others addressing the subtle nuances associated with transforming complex network infrastructures.
Companies such as RedHat and OpenStack are teaming with operators to build predictable reference platforms that can be used as the building blocks for NFV. For operators and vendors alike this effort is critical since the promise of NFV is only fulfilled when operators can easily and predictably instantiate new network functions - perhaps manually today, and automated via orchestration in the future.
Telefonica continues to push NFV forward, this week announcing team efforts targeted at increasing the accuracy of where virtual network functions will be deployed - enabling operators to pinpoint the specific location (data center, rack, or blade) of a VNF deployment. For operators the impact of this team effort could be huge as operators could even further optimize the performance and utilization of their infrastructure.
A "big rock" close to our heart at Procera is how to optimize the performance of "data-plane" network functions that operate in virtualized environments. Today companies like Intel, 6Wind, and Wind River are teaming with companies such as ourselves to solve this problem. And while some may say we can never achieve high performance of data plane applications on x86 COTS hardware, at Procera we have been doing exactly that for years. For us the path is clear. We simply don't need specialized hardware to achieve optimal performance. Anything less breaks the NFV model and is simply unacceptable.
As I observed the myriad of teams I understood the real reason why NFV continues to gain momentum. NFV is a machine (sometimes oiled, sometimes squeaky) comprised of teams - all pulling in the same direction. Some of our "norming" teams are driving predictability of deployment. Some of our "forming" teams are tackling performance hurdles, in order to remove the technical and financial barriers to broad scale virtualization of all network functions. The point is, the power of NFV lies in the team, and at Procera we embrace that!