Light Reading

NFV Gets Practical at BTE

Carol Wilson

While many issues around NFV deployment are still being debated and discussed, practical application of the technology is already in development, and one such application will be on display in Chicago next week. (See 4 Vendors Bring Distributed NFV to BTE.)

Four vendors have teamed up on an NFV demonstration that uses one vendor's network orchestration capabilities -- Cyan Inc. 's Blue Planet -- in managing distributed NFV equipment from another vendor, RAD Data Communications Ltd. , with virtualized security functions from two more -- Fortinet Inc. 's firewall and Certes Networks Inc. 's encryption.

The four have teamed on a Big Telecom Event demo next week of Distributed NFV that is one of many practical applications of technology the show will feature on its demo floor.

In addition to having been accepted as an ETSI NFV Industry Specifications Group proof of concept (PoC), the Distributed NFV demo met a number of goals for its participants. For service provider sponsor CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), it is a practical application of virtualization that advances its managed services strategy. For Cyan, the PoC shows Blue Planet's ability to orchestrate virtualized functions from the data center to the edge and non-virtualized physical network elements. For RAD, which first promoted distributed NFV as a concept, the PoC is validation of its belief that some virtual functions still need to be premises-based and not entirely centralized. (See Inside CenturyLink's NFV/SDN Strategy, Two Faces of Distributed NFV, MWC Offers Peek at NFV Projects, and ESDN: RAD Rolls Out Distributed NFV Strategy.)

"We think this shows how you can start NFV deployment," says Yuri Gittik, chief strategy officer for RAD. Service providers can get started using NFV to offer new managed services, such as security, in a cost-effective way without having first to deploy NFV in the larger data center environment.

The demo will show an emulation of two customer sites with RAD equipment at both locations, terminating network connections and providing the NFV infrastructure, with virtual functions from Fortinet (firewall) and Certes (encryption) running separately as well as in a service chaining demo. Cyan's Blue Planet will be providing the end-to-end orchestration.

One of the most challenging aspects of the PoC was the integration of IT and network elements into a converged solution, Gittik says. That required extensive discussion between Cyan and RAD, as well as the other two companies.

"The vertical extension of the orchestration to handle not only IT resources, but also the physical network resources, was not trivial," he explains.

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

It's not too late to join us at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, and check out demos of NFV, SDN and more. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

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User Rank: Light Sabre
6/25/2014 | 5:39:07 AM
Re: Interoperability
Operators are always advised to never loose site of their interoperability as it will be helpful for their business. Vendors should be able to work together hand in hand to ensure that their business does prosper. Certain rules and regulations should be put on place to enable to operate in harmony without any problems. The vendors should also ensure that their applications are featured on the demos of the company as this will bring about transparency. This will definitely be a good investment for vendors.
Carol Wilson
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
6/11/2014 | 4:01:51 PM
Re: Interoperability
I think that's the focus of many of the PoC's - not just to demo capabilities but to show multiple vendors working together. 
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/11/2014 | 3:39:35 PM
Vendors often lose site of interoperability in their SDN and NFV marketing. That makese sense -- vendors are most concerned about selling their own products, not other vendors'. But interoperability and avoiding vendor lock-in is a very important part of network virtualization. 
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