Telefónica has brought together optical transport systems and software-defined networking (SDN) platform developer Cyan (NYSE: CYNI) and Linux-based software developer Red Hat Inc. (NASDAQ: RHAT) to create a network functions virtualization (NFV) architecture. The team will leverage Cyan’s Blue Planet SDN platform and Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform to create an open, deterministic architecture for hosting virtual network functions (VNFs) that Telefónica and other service providers potentially could deploy next year, say spokesmen for the two technology vendors.
Part of the challenge of deploying SDN and NFV in carrier networks is the complexity of properly locating VNFs within a transport SDN environment, said Nirav Modi, director of software innovation at Cyan. Factors such as latency, performance requirements, and even regulatory restrictions can influence the optimal location for such functions within what can be a global network of servers. Thus, carriers require a deterministic way of finding the right server host for each function – and of relocating those functions should circumstances change.
The team will use Blue Planet as an NFV orchestrator in conjunction with Red Hat’s version of OpenStack to create such a mechanism. While Telefónica is driving the requirements for the project, the goal is to create an open architecture that could apply to any carrier’s network, explained Radhesh Balakrishnan, general manager, virtualization and OpenStack at Red Hat. He expects carriers will begin to deploy SDN and NFV capabilities in earnest next year, and the team hopes to complete its work within this timeframe, Balakrishnan added. However, some changes to currently available OpenStack and hypervisor implementations would be necessary to make the results of the collaboration widely deployable.
Telefónica has already run several SDN trials with multiple vendors (see “Huawei, Telefonica trial SDN-based IP and optical layer interworking” and “Telefonica I+D, Infinera demo SDN-based Network-as-a-Service capabilities”). Both Modi and Balakrishnan cited the carrier’s deep interest in the technology.
“Telefónica believes NFV is an important and transformative technology,” said Enrique Algaba, network innovation and virtualization director at Telefónica’s I+D-Global CTO Unit in corroboration via a press release. “We believe that the deterministic allocation of CPU, memory, I/O, and storage relative to a particular type of VNF is critical to delivering the predictable performance needed for telco-grade network functions. This new deterministic architecture transforms a generic cloud computing data center into a telco data center capable of supporting NFV.”
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