Category Archives: NFV

AT&T expands NFV and SDN offering worldwide

business cloud network worldAT&T has expanded its Network on Demand solutions to now include 76 countries around the world, reports

The new service is built on the company’s software-defined network technology, and claimed to help businesses deploy a single universal piece of equipment, choose virtualized functions and set them up in different countries. The service would appear to be designed to simplify the process of buying and adding network functions, reducing the reliance customers have on hardware.

“Building networks by deploying network functions in software is a major shift in network design,” said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and International. “We’ve broken through traditional, cost-prohibitive barriers. Our software platform delivers a simple, flexible and efficient experience for any business, virtually anywhere and anytime they need it.”

The service was initially launched in 2015, with AT&T claiming it now has more than 1,200 businesses signed up to the service. 76 countries are now supported by the service, with capabilities including Juniper Networks virtual routing, Cisco virtual router, Fortinet virtual security, and Riverbed virtual WAN optimisation. The service is the third the company has launched on the SDN platform.

The launch builds on wider trends within the industry as telcos aim to utilize the flexibility and speed of SDN and NFV to recoup lost revenues. Traditional revenues streams of voice calls and text messaging have been slowly eroded in recent years, as more customer switch to OTT services such as WhatsApp. Creating new services for business customers is generally regarded as critical if the industry is to avoid being relegated to the likes of utilities.

It would appear to have been a busy couple of weeks for the AT&T team who also made a couple of new announcements last week. On the enterprise side of things, the team it was adding faster internet speeds, up to 1 Gbps, for business customers using the AT&T Business Fiber service. On the consumer side, AT&T also announced it has reached the trial phase of its national drone programme, which focuses on how AT&T customers can benefit from drone-based solutions, including providing enhanced LTE wireless coverage.

Verizon launches NFV OpenStack cloud deployment over five data centres

VerizonVerizon has completed the launch of its NFV OpenStack cloud deployment project across five of its US data centres, alongside Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat.

The NFV project is claimed to be the largest OpenStack deployment in the industry and is currently being expanding the project to a number of domestic data centres and aggregation sites. The company also expect the deployment to be adopted in edge network sites by the end of the year, as well as a number of Verizon’s international locations, though a time-frame for the international sites was not disclosed.

“Building on our history of innovation, this NFV project is another step in building Verizon’s next-generation network – with implications for the industry,” said Adam Koeppe, VP of Network Technology Planning at Verizon. “New and emerging applications are highlighting the need for collaborative research and development in technologies like NFV. We consider this achievement to be foundational for building the Verizon cloud that serves our customers’ needs anywhere, anytime, any app.”

Verizon worked with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat to develop the OpenStack pod-based design, which went from idea to deployment of more than 50 racks in five data centres in nine months, includes a spine-leaf fabric for each pod controlled through a Neutron plugin to Red Hat OpenStack Platform. The multi-vendor project uses Big Switch’s SDN controller software managing Dell switches, which are orchestrated by Red Hat OpenStack platform.

“Dell’s Open Networking initiative delivers on the promise of bringing innovative technology, services and choice to our customers and Verizon’s NFV project is a testament to that vision,” said Tom Burns, GM of Dell’s networking business unit. “With the open source leadership of Red Hat, the SDN expertise of Big Switch and the infrastructure, service and support at scale from Dell, this deployment demonstrates a level of collaboration that sets the tone for the Open Networking ecosystem. This is just the beginning.”

HPE scoops two telco client wins for cloud service projects

HPE office logoHewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced partnerships with telcos Swisscom and Telecom Italia subsidiary Telecom Personal to share its cloud service expertise and boost its presence in the comms industry.

In the Swisscom project HPE’s brief is to impose a network function virtualization (NFV) discipline on the IT and telecoms infrastructure, using its OpenNFV systems. Swisscom claims it is one of the world’s first communication service providers (CSPs) to pioneer the use of NFV to offer virtual customer premise equipment (vCPE) to its business customers.

In January BCN reported that HPE has launched an initiative to simplify hybrid cloud management for telcos using a new Service Director offering. Among the productivity benefits mooted for HPE Service Director 1.0 was options for pre-configured systems to address specific use cases as extensions to the base product, starting with HPE Service Director for vCPE 1.0.

In the Swisscom project HPE will use its HPE Virtual Services Router and HPE Technology Services in tandem with Service Director to create Swisscom’s new vCPE model. The objective is to allow Swisscom to manage its customers’ network infrastructure from a centralised location and provide networking services on-demand. This will cut costs for the telco, speed up service provision and boost the availability of services. It could also, claims CPE, make it easier to create new services in future.

Argentina based Telecom Personal has asked HPE to modernise its network in order to use 4G/LTE technologies to cater for an increasing appetite for data services among subscribers. HPE has been appointed to re-engineer the infrastructure and expand and upgrade part its network core. The success of the project will be judged on whether HPE can give a measurable improvement in service experience, network speeds and capacity, according to Paolo Perfetti, Telecom Personal’s CTO.

Yesterday BCN reported that HPE has launched AppPulse Trace, a service that developer clients can use to monitor their cloud app performances.

Wind River launches vCPE NFV platform

Network Function VirtualisationIntel subsidiary Wind River has added to its NFV portfolio with the announcement of a new product which focuses on the virtualization of customer premises equipment (vCPE). The vendor claims it has strengthened its VNF offering to bring initiatives like vCPE management closer to reality.

Wind River’s new Titanium Server CPE software adds to the vendor’s existing NFV portfolio. vCPE is one of the primary NFV use cases mooted by the telecoms industry; the improvements to Wind River’s software could mean all functions traditionally configured on each piece of hardware at the customer’s premises can now be handled centrally and instantly replicated across the cloud.

According to Wind River, the improvements to the Titanium Server portfolio (Titanium Server and Titanium Server CPE) will create faster network performance, allow networks to ramp up in size instantly and simplify the commissioning of new additions to any network. The vendor also claims the Titanium Server portfolio’s new software stands up to the carrier grade needed for telecom networks.

The cost of administering moves and changes, which is often time consuming and labour intensive, is one of the areas that telcos view as ripe for efficiency improvements. However, the virtualization of CPE functions has proved a challenging ambition to fulfil. The replacement of a system which individually configures each physical appliance (such as a switch or handset) with a centrally managed one could slash operating expenditure (OPEX). The savings would come by substituting the work of multiple physical configurations, requiring a site visit, with a single software change that can be published to all devices on all points of the telecoms cloud, using the new Titanium Server CPE platform, according to Wind River.

Among the new features added to Titanium Server are dynamic CPU scaling, greater system scalability, a virtual switch packet trace tool and the capacity for bulk provisioning and automated deployment. The new release also now supports QinQ tunnelling, IPv6 support for all interfaces and has updated support for all the latest high-performance network interface cards (NICs). It also supports VNF access to hardware acceleration devices, such as the Intel Communications Chipset 8925 to 8955 Series.

The new incarnation of Titanium Server CPE launch follows collaboration with NFV software partners Brocade, Check Point, InfoVista and Riverbed.

Titanium Server and Titanium Server CPE will be showcased at Mobile World Congress 2016.

Openstack targets telcos with NFV push

Digital illustration of Cloud computing devicesA new report indicates that there could be a boom in network function virtualisation projects this year, with NFV the second most popular subject of research after containers, reports

According to a report from the OpenStack Foundation, only container technology is under closer scrutiny than NFV by technology buyers and decision makers in the world’s enterprises and service providers.

The paper, Accelerating NFV Delivery with OpenStack, reports on the findings of the foundation’s most recent user survey, in which 76 per cent of those questioned identified an important telecoms function that had to be addressed through virtualisation. Of the OpenStack user base 12% were traditional telcos and another 64% were companies that now include telecoms as part of their roster of services, such as the categories of cable TV and ISP companies, telco and networking and data centre/co-location companies.

By comparison, an OpenStack user survey in 2014 suggested its user base of telcos was much smaller, the Foundation says, and only an elite of global telcos, such as NTT and Deutsche Telekom, were investigating NFV use. Since then there has been a surge in interest, it reports, with

increasing numbers of telecom-specific NFV features, such as support for multiple IPv6 prefixes, being requested or submitted by OpenStack users.

Container technology information is even more sought after than NFV, according to OpenStack, but the two issues are not mutually exclusive. Sources have speculated that the technologies may be used in tandem as OpenStack is the foundation of rationalising the hybrid nature of most telco’s infrastructure.

According to the paper’s executive summary OpenStack could provide cost effective route to the creation of private clouds without vendor lock-in, since proprietary hardware is becoming associated with NFV.

“While the interoperability between NFV infrastructure platforms that use OpenStack is still a work in progress, the majority of configurations surpass expectations,” concluded the paper co-authored by Kathy Cacciatore, the OpenStack Foundation’s Consulting Marketing Manager.

New Service Director from HPE could simplify hybrid cloud management for telcos

HPE street logoHPE claims its new Service Director system could put comms service providers back in control of their increasingly complex hybrid computing estates. It aims to achieve this by simplifying the management of network function virtualisation (NFV).

HPE claims that Service Director will automate many of the new management tasks that have been created by the expanding cloud environment and provide a simpler system of navigation for all the different functions that have to be monitored and managed. The new offering builds on HPE NFV Director’s management and orchestration (MANO) capacity and bridges existing physical and new virtualized environments.

As virtualisation has expanded it has extended beyond the remit of current generations of operations support systems (OSS) and the coexistence of physical and virtual infrastructure can introduce obstacles that slow the CSPs down, HPE said. It claims the Service Director will help CSPs roll out new offerings quicker.

The main benefits of the system outlined by HPE are automation of operations, shared information, flexible modelling of services and openness. With a single view of the entire infrastructure and dynamic service descriptors, it aims to make it easier to spot problems and create new services, HPE claims. As an open system the Service Director platform will have interfaces to any new third party software defined networking controllers and policy engines.

Since there is no such thing as a green field NFV set up there has to be a system to rationalise the legacy systems and the new virtualised estate, said David Sliter, HPE’s comms VP. “Service Director is a transformational change in the relationship between assurance and fulfilment, allowing the OSS resource pool to be treated, automated and managed as a service,” said Sliter.

The telecoms industry needs an omnipotent service orchestration system that can span every existing NFV MANO and OSS silo, according to analyst Caroline Chappell, principal analyst of NFV and Cloud for Heavy Reading. A model-driven, fulfilment and assurance system like Service Director could speed up the delivery of services across a hybrid physical and virtual network, Chappell said.

HPE Service Director 1.0 will be available worldwide in early 2016, with options for pre-configured systems to address specific use cases as extensions to the base product, starting with HPE Service Director for vCPE 1.0.

Cisco promises breakthrough software for cloud-scale networking

Network ExpansionCisco claims it has invented a way to integrate and simplify web scale networks to make them twice as cost effective and much more scalable.

The networking vendor has worked with the world’s top hyperscale web companies to help service providers create faster simpler clouds from its IOS XR network operating system using popular IT configuration and management tools.

By making networks more programmable they can create a form of liquidity in cloud services that will allow providers to pool and converge their data centres and wide area network (WAN) architectures, it claims.

As a result of its collaboration, new features will appear in Cisco’s IOS XR software which, it claims, would halve the cost of running today’s network over the course of five years (under the present circumstances) by doubling network efficiency and performance.

However network running costs for cloud operators are expected to soar in future due to predicted surges in data demand. Total global data centre traffic is projected to triple by the end of 2019 (from 3.4 to 10.4 Zettabytes), according to the Cisco Global Cloud Index figures for 2014-2019. With 83% of total data centre traffic expected to come from the cloud by 2019 the improvement in manageability will help to rein in soaring costs, according to Cisco.

The investment in IOS XR will also help cloud and data centre operators to make a smoother, less expensive, transition to cloud-scale networking in future, Cisco claims.

Cisco IOS XR software, which is currently run over 50,000 live network routers, will benefit from a number of technical improvements, including new modularity, more service agility and higher levels of automation convergence with third-party application hosting.

Cisco said its software development kits and the DevNet Developer Program Cisco will encourage service providers to create large-scale automation and predictable network programmability, with higher levels of visibility and control. The aim, says Cisco, is to cater for any data model, any encoding method and any transport method.

“The network is cloud computing’s final frontier, at technology, people and process levels,” said Laurent Lachal, senior analyst of infrastructure solutions at analyst Ovum.  “It needs to be built for scale and ruthlessly automated.”

AT&T, Ericsson and Apcera demonstrate NFV in a PaaS environment

Voice and video can work in the most complicated clouds, according to an integration breakthrough demonstrated at the OpenStack summit in Tokyo.

AT&T and Ericsson claim they’ve created an improvement to container technology that makes cloud telco platforms far more secure and yet easier to set up. They jointly presented their invention in proof of concept exercise, along with cloud service provider Apcera.

Container technology, previously used for creating secure environments for text based office and enterprise productivity applications, has been tweaked in order to overcome some of its security limitations, when telecoms is handled in the cloud.

Telco AT&T, equipment maker Ericsson and cloud service provider Apcera described how they came together in order to bring their own perspectives of the multiple levels of the OpenStack hierarchy. The joint problem they faced is that the virtualization of telecoms still has some teething problems that need to be resolved, such as the interaction of various web browsers and video and audio services.

The companies demonstrated how they have tweaked container technology to create a containerised policy driven PaaS that can use the telecoms related Virtualized Network Function (VNF). The resulting telecoms-charged ‘advanced container’ was able to house a Web Communication Gateway (vWCG) that fully integrated with OpenStack.

The proof of concept exercise showed audio and video communications actually worked between multiple Web browsers on the virtualized telephony system.

Never mind the complexity of what’s happening across the comms stack and the cloud, the main thing to take home is that this system works with a few clicks of a mouse, said Magnus Arildsson, Head of IaaS and PaaS at Ericsson. “This is an important step toward fast, secure and policy-integrated deployment of Telco VNFs on micro-services-based containers,” he said.

Ericsson and Apcera accelerated the development of the micro-services-based PaaS environment, said Derek Collison, CEO of Apcera. “This exercise paves the way for cost-effective, efficient deployments and further collaboration with telco operators to integrate carrier-grade requirements with our cloud platform.”

Ericsson sets up cloud lab in Germany

Ericsson is boosting R&D in cloud

Ericsson is boosting R&D in cloud

Ericsson has set up a lab that will see it work with operators and enterprises to demo, test and verify cloud-based services. The move comes just two months after the networking vendor set up a similar lab in Italy.

The company said the lab will focus on helping customers develop cloud migration, governance, security and data integrity competencies. It plans to offer access to in-house cloud technology experts as well as its growing portfolio of cloud technology.

”By developing these cloud solutions in cooperation with our customers, we will provide them the opportunity to speed up the deployment of cloud technology,” said Valter D’Avino, Ericsson’s head of Western & Central Europe.

“This means we will more quickly experience the benefits of cloud, such as shorter time to market for new services within Internet of Things for example, and a more agile IT infrastructure.”

The move comes just a couple of months after Ericsson set up a similar lab in Rome, Italy, focused on stimulating development of multi-vendor SDN and NFV solutions that primarily address the needs of telcos.

The recently announced lab is part of a much broader shift into the enterprise ICT world and outside its traditional customer base.

Orange creates NFV, cloud testing lab for 5G advances

Orange and Inria are partnering on an NFV, cloud testing lab for 5G

Orange and Inria are partnering on an NFV, cloud testing lab for 5G

Orange has unveiled its new lab dedicated to network virtualization and cloud computing, called I/O Lab. It’s targeting an open and accessible environment for collaboration with the wider industry.

In a particularly buzzwordy announcement, the telco has claimed the new testing environment for NFV and cloud tech will enable advances in the development of 5G, IoT and Big Data; while also referencing “fog” computing – a form distributed cloud computing where near-user network edge devices are utilised for storage – and Mobile Edge Computing.

“The networks… will undergo a radical transformation in the next decade as a result of the progress of virtualization techniques,” Orange said in a statement. “General purpose servers will be able to use software to incorporate more and more network functions, all while meeting the networks’ growing needs for capacity and reliability. At the same time, cloud computing techniques will contribute to the development of flexible storage and processing capacities in data centres and even within networks and their peripheries, including connected devices and objects.” This trend could be strengthened by the increased momentum of the Internet of Things and Big Data processing”

“The I/O Lab’s vision is to develop a coherent, flexible and reliable management structure for the networks of the future, seen as distributed communication, storage and processing infrastructures. This will be achieved by virtue of the dual distributed network and software culture of its partners and a large contribution of the worldwide Open Source communities.”

The lab has been developed in partnership with Inria, the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, and the two companies say the test-bed will be dedicated to contributing heavily to relevant Open Source communities.

Orange also claims the lab will promote and develop a broad scale network OS, called “Global OS”, which will be designed to support a variety of app development for the infrastructure, including security, performance, availability, cost and energy efficiency management. It has also targeted 2020 for tangible outputs from the lab in terms of network infrastructure ready for 5G-compatible deployment.