Light Reading

New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud

Carol Wilson
7/12/2013
50%
50%

It's time to update your scorecard tracking the industry groups engaged in virtualization efforts for carrier networks. A new group, CloudNFV, tiptoed out of stealth mode this week, nudged along by early press coverage, but ready nonetheless to make some bold statements about how Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) must be developed as a cloud service.

The father of CloudNFV and, thus far, its public spokesman, is longtime industry analyst and software guru Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp. He says the impetus for the new group is the belief that, rather than design NFV to run on anything from "bare metal servers" to the cloud, the industry should move immediately to a cloud-based implementation, and that a prototype should be developed as quickly as possible to become a guide for implementation. Nolle explains his early thinking in this blog.

"We believe it is simple and more effective to run OpenStack on top of any server environment and create a private cloud environment for NFV," Nolle tells Light Reading.

At this point, CloudNFV consists of six vendors who share Nolle's thinking about NFV deployment, but network service providers are taking notice, in part because this approach guarantees them a critical advantage against over-the-top (OTT) service providers, Nolle says.

"We have built a platform that doesn't distinguish between the functions that make up a service and the components that make up an application," he explains. "So you can combine things that are typically thought of as applications components, like calendars, naturally and easily with things that are typically considered communications components."

That will enable some long-sought but never achieved benefits of Unified Communications to actually reach commercialization, Nolle says. It's not accidental that CloudNFV's first project is a cloud-based implementation of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the architecture designed to support converged services and enable network functions to be broken into reusable modular segments.

CloudNFV will go one step further in taking TM Forum-oriented operations processes and melding them into cloud deployment strategies that enable network management and Operations and Support System (OSS) functions to be engaged as well. Most likely there will be a software layer created that sits between the existing OSS/Business Support Systems, although Nolle says the data models for CloudNFV will include specs that would enable non-standard systems to be connected with simple Java apps.

Because service providers know how to enable apps that surpass Internet best-effort standards and run well enough "to make someone want to pay for it," Nolle comments, they can leverage a cloud-based deployment of converged capabilities that exceeds what a mere OTT player can accomplish.

CloudNFV will be ready for selective beta-style demos within the next six weeks, Nolle says, and ready for a public demo "no later than mid-October." The vendor partners are not yet public but will be shortly, he promises.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/17/2013 | 1:10:21 PM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
Good points, Tom.

I see many operators that have some virtualized network functions already, that plan to do more, and that hope to port all this over to a "Cloud NFV" platform in future.

The logic is “we can get this running on VMware, and then we can port it over to whatever hypervisor and orchestration layer we end up using later.”

A challenge for operators is that they can’t wait for the
platform to be ready before virtualizing at least some applications, and therefore they need to work on both at once. This is essentially the transition from waterfall to agile in telco networking.

As a side note, I’ve been quite surprised at the willingness (and, in fact, the desire) of operators to buy vertically assured solutions from vendors – so it might be say, a virtualized PCRF or a TAS running on HP or IBM servers, but supplied by a Big Vendor.
nuker
50%
50%
nuker,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/17/2013 | 12:22:59 AM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
How do they enable apps to run better than best-effort and get somebody to pay for them ?
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/16/2013 | 11:50:34 AM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
I think there are really two risks there, Gabriel. First, for sure there is a strong likelihood that implementations of NFV would come from the major vendors in a proprietary form, with bare minimum accommodations to openness. That's the big reason we didn't want large vendors in our activity; it would almost surely have stalled our progress. Second, there is also a risk that NFV will focus on the relatively simple task of virtualizing real devices and stopping there. That will undershoot benefits so much that it would put the whole concept at risk in my view. NFV is, potentially, an architecture to define how you operationalize software, or service-features, as a service--an anything-as-a-service deployment and management strategy. That's how we've seen it from the first, so it's what we're doing. We hope to help the ISG see the potential of its own work.
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/16/2013 | 11:15:37 AM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
Came cross my first *unprompted* mention of Project Clearwater from a tech exec at a big operator last week. Conceptually people like it.

The idea that apps written with the constraints / optimizations of a box in mind will need to be re-written (perhaps from the ground up) for the "NFV Cloud" is, I think, now dominant among carriers.

Vendors want to do a straight port of their applications to COTS. They are having a hard time modelling how to invest a bunch of money into software R&D only to go and lose revenue from lost hardware sales.
Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/16/2013 | 11:04:39 AM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
Good post Tom. What chance do you think there is that NFV will, in practice, replicate the classic appliance model, where operators buy a vertically assured solution from the vendor?

Yes, it may be a virtualized app, and, yes, it would run on COTS, but still the operator buys a pre-integrated solution from the vendor?

I know this runs contrary to the concept of NFV and "NFV Cloud", and people kick-back against this idea of running network function on dedicated x86 servers, but I speak to a lot of operators that see this as perhaps a practical first step to NFV.
TomNolle
50%
50%
TomNolle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2013 | 10:40:41 PM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
To set some minds at ease: First, CloudNFV is a prototype of the ISG work, and all the vendors involved are ISG members. Future integration partners will also have to be members. Second, the ISG is developing a standard and not an implementation, so it was always the case that multiple implementations would exist. Will they interwork? Yes, at interfaces sanctioned by the ISG. Third, CloudNFV is going to be a totally open process. You can't build something while involving a cast of thousands, so we've selected a smaller group. But we have provided for interfaces to integrate others at multiple levels and in multiple ways, and we'll publish all the options when we open up.

Tom Nolle
Dredgie
50%
50%
Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2013 | 2:52:24 PM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
They got together during the 1st NFV meeting in Santa Clara. I look at it as an interop group. A virtual plugfest maybe?! Worst case, they uncover interop issues that the ISG would not, as they are totally theoretical.
Ray Le Maistre
50%
50%
Ray Le Maistre,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2013 | 12:37:50 PM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
Is there a danger that we will end up with many splintered NFV development groups all pulling in slightly different directions? That wouldn't help. I'd be amazed if all the parties involved aren't in some way connected to the NFV work going on at the carrier-led ETSI group, so maybe that will become the organization that will be at the center of what CloudNFV and others are doing/planning.
Dredgie
50%
50%
Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/14/2013 | 7:27:15 AM
re: New Group Ties NFV to the Cloud
What we do know from that early coverage
is that Project Clearwater (@prjclearwater), the IMS cloud initiative launched
by Metaswitch a few months back, will form the foundation of the IMS functions
CloudNFV initially aims to virtualize using NFV guidelines. It’s apparent that Tom believes the foundations are in place: To quote: "That, my friends, is how abstraction should work."
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
LRTV Custom TV
Network Visibility & the New IP

7|30|15   |   02:23   |   (0) comments


Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (5) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
Cable Feuds With Senate Dems Over STBs
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/31/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 2: Warning Shot
John Barnes, Author, 7/28/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Comes With Free Phone Stand Click Here
Who says cats don't have any skills?