& cplSiteName &

10 Myths About NFV (Mostly) Dispelled

Brian Santo
7/12/2016
100%
0%

The transition toward network functions virtualization (NFV) is in progress and, as with any technology transition, companies are proceeding with caution. The trick is figuring out which anticipated hazards are real, if any of those have already been cleared, and making sure you don't get frozen by hazards you anticipated but which failed to materialize.

Make no mistake, the course ahead is tricky. Evangelists for new technologies can get overly enthusiastic, envisioning everyone at the finish line before anyone has cleared all the technological barriers. And then there are those companies who take off without surveying the course ahead -- they're the ones that bumble into hurdles they could have anticipated if they'd simply prepared better.

At the same time, companies can be too hesitant to explore their options, based on suspicions that appear reasonable but aren't merited by the actual situation.

Based on its experience with customers, Luxoft, which provides development, test and evaluation services to vendors and operators, keeps coming across ten commonly held myths about NFV. This article is adapted from a presentation made by Luxoft executive director Tomy Issa, and comments he made in a subsequent conversation with Light Reading.

Issa has served stints with Allied Telesis, Nortel, and most recently with the operations of Tektronix, Fluke and Arbor Networks that are now owned by Netscout.

MYTH 1: Existing applications become "NFV ready" when the software is ported to run on a virtual machine

"We have heard that from both established vendors and startups," Issa lamented.

Porting code running on some piece of specialized hardware to run on an x86-based virtual machine (VM) is possible, but it emphatically does not automatically make that virtual app NFV ready. Luxoft said it worked with one company that tried to migrate software composed of a few million lines of code to run on a VM, only to find out that the resulting virtual appliance consumed huge amounts of CPU and memory, and was simply not scalable.

The best way to build a carrier-grade virtual network function (VNF) is to take a ground-up approach, starting with a purposefully designed modular architecture that addresses performance, scalability and other important requirements, Luxoft recommends.

Traditional carrier-grade design was rigorous, sometimes including design for manufacturing and design for testability. Successful design of VNFs should adopt those same methodologies and augment them with a new one: design for virtualization.

Design for virtualization includes a new set of design attributes such as:

  • Modularity (re-usable; optimizing memory usage)
  • Multi-threading (optimized for multi-core parallel processing)
  • Multi-Tenancy (optional: for SaaS)
  • Other considerations include

  • Ease of installation and turn-up
  • Real-time performance
  • Time required to allocate resources to scale up or release of assets when scaling down a required service or function
  • A VNF developer who adopts this approach and these methodologies will be able to demonstrate to prospective customers that they will be able to scale up, evolve the VNF, and grow their virtual environments with confidence that interoperability will not be an issue.

    MYTH 2: Virtual appliances cannot perform as well as their physical counterparts

    This is one of those things that seems a reasonable assumption but -- even with the current state of technology -- is not true, Issa asserts.

    He cites several examples, including Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), which recently demonstrated a VNF with 40 Gbit/s throughput. He adds, "I met with a number of startups with virtual appliances, such as carrier-grade NATs and BGCs, that have proven performances comparable to their counterparts in physical appliance world."

    One of the key enablers for the ability to build high-performing virtual applications is the data plane development kit (DPDK), introduced by Intel in 2012. It has become a common acceleration platform for most hypervisors, Issa said.

    There are also several coordinated efforts. One such is Enhanced Platform Awareness (EPA) led by Telefónica , and aimed at building frameworks for end-to-end services comprising multiple virtual appliances with carrier-level SLAs. The early results are "quite encouraging," according to Issa.

    Issa allows that not all network functions can be virtualized. As a rule of thumb, he says, 80% of the services can be performed in an NFV environment while 20% of the services cannot.

    Myth 2 has a natural corollary in Myth 3.

    MYTH 3: Mission-critical network services should still be run only on dedicated physical appliances

    Even if you know that the performance of virtual appliances can match that of dedicated machines, you might still suspect that the performance of virtual appliances cannot be guaranteed.

    Not necessarily so. Even if you have a service that is highly sensitive to packet delay or packet loss, there are toolkits and methodologies available that can be used to bypass the VM to produce a version of the physical machine.

    One of those widely adopted methodologies or techniques is called non-uniform memory access (NUMA), which can achieve sub-millisecond delay performance for real-time use cases.

    "We can identify pools of resources based on some characteristics and group them together, group processors together based of threads, locate and eliminate delay contributors. That requires a good background in software engineering skills, but it is doable," Issa says.

    Another technique is single-route IO virtualization for PCI-X, which allows developers to bypass the host virtual switch and to connect directly to the NIC. In practice, it demonstrates almost 100% of bare metal performance.

    Next page: Making money from NFV and network visibility

    (2)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
    Elena Yakymchuk
    50%
    50%
    Elena Yakymchuk,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/25/2017 | 7:33:17 AM
    SerfCompany

    SerfСompany works in the field of Automation, Mobile Development, Web Development, Custom Software Development. Our knowledge is based on many years of experience. We offer qualified services and solutions for users within a number of different processes. We bring together technology, talent, creativity, functionality and best practices to strengthen key competencies and ensure excellence in the IT-sphere.

    We specialize in automating web applications. Robot applications will help us increase productivity and improve our quality of life through human-robot collaboration. Our expertise covers an impressive list of application knowledge. Using sophisticated technology, our company improves overall quality and productivity and reduces your costs. Use of robotic guidance vision allows tooling development to be simpler, thus cutting costs. It also improves the throughput of your system by allowing the robot to accept and adapt to location deviations.

    We provide a complete spectrum of services in the area of web programming and web-based enterprise solutions with an ability to implement the most complex projects, ensuring best-in-class performance, robustness, scalability and system integration. We deliver high quality enterprise level web projects using the latest open source technologies.

    http://serfcompany.com/

     

    Seniorcl44135
    50%
    50%
    Seniorcl44135,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    11/18/2016 | 3:06:06 PM
    These are myths
    For example: your 40G throughput needs a 40G nic to support. If you vm only has 1G, you have 1G.
    From The Founder
    Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
    Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Charting the CSP's Future
    Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

    3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
    LRTV Documentaries
    No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

    3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


    At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
    LRTV Documentaries
    Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

    3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


    Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

    3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


    Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

    3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


    The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

    3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


    2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

    3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (1) comment


    Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    Mastercard: Payment From Every Device

    3|21|17   |   5:55   |   (0) comments


    A world where everything and everyone is connected creates new points of interaction for commerce. These digital experiences cannot be developed in isolation and instead require an ecosystem to drive mass consumer and enterprise adoption and create better consumer engagement. Predicting when that growth will happen is difficult, but always keeping the end user in ...
    LRTV Interviews
    InterDigital's Role in the 5G, IoT Era

    3|21|17   |   05:47   |   (0) comments


    Alan Carlton, managing director and VP for Europe at InterDigital, talks about the company's role in 5G projects in Europe and the prospects for the company in the IoT market.
    LRTV Interviews
    Lessons Learned From Digital Transformation

    3|21|17   |   05:51   |   (0) comments


    Ravi Palepu, global head of Telco Solutions at Virtusa, talks about some key takeaways from telco digital transformation experiences during the past couple of years.
    Women in Comms Introduction Videos
    NetNumber's CMO Shares Her Diversity Do's

    3|21|17   |   3:19   |   (2) comments


    The telecom industry is transforming the world, and diversity plays a critical role in driving the innovation behind it. NetNumber CMO Kim Gibbons shares why diversity and being authentic is a do amidst all the don'ts women in comms often hear.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Software-Driven Architecture for 5G & IOT

    3|20|17   |   1:56   |   (0) comments


    We present Heavy Reading's Jim Hodges's report from Mobile World Congress -- where operators and vendors are working to bring a variety of technologies together to make virtualization a reality in the era of 5G and IoT.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
    June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
    Hot Topics
    High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
    Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
    Eurobites: Italy First Pasta the Post for 5G
    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/17/2017
    Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
    5G Faces a Marathon, Not a Sprint
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 3/17/2017
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
    At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
    Animals with Phones
    Neither Do We Click Here
    Is that a prerequisite?
    Live Digital Audio

    Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.