Light Reading

Where to Put Your VNFs

Roz Roseboro
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst
8/4/2014
50%
50%

As has been documented widely, NFV was one of the main topics of discussion during the recent Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago. (See Let's Federate Our NFV Labs – Telefónica and this show site for full coverage of the BTE event.)

I found it particularly encouraging that BTE attendees were thinking hard about how network functions virtualization will be implemented in telco data centers.

One of the key debates centers around where virtual network functions (VNFs) should reside: Some are pushing a vision whereby some functions are distributed all the way to the customer premises; others believe they should reside in the telco cloud.

In August 2013, Tom Nolle of CIMI Corp. launched the CloudNFV initiative, and earlier this year Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) assumed the leadership role in that initiative, which focus on the capabilities required to manage and orchestrate VNFs in a network architecture. I recently spoke with Bala Pitchaikani, Head of Dell NFV Strategy and Product Management, about the company's participation in the CloudNFV initiative and what Dell is hearing from telcos as they begin the process of transforming their data centers to support NFV. (See Dell Has Big NFV Plans.)

Dell is keen to stress that CloudNFV is not about doing old things in a new way. Rather, it is defining its architectural vision as "open," "innovative," and "extensible." The CloudNFV team is focusing on building a foundation that will ultimately provide differentiation for telcos, and is putting a lot of focus on building the open orchestration interfaces to telcos' existing OSS/BSS systems, recognizing that telcos must be able to leverage their existing systems.

CloudNFV was the first proof of concept (PoC) accepted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV industry specifications group (ISG), and is the only PoC that focuses on a framework, whereas others are trying to implement one of the ISG's specified use cases. It's because of the focus on the framework that Dell is able to showcase the need for the type of strong foundation that telcos should implement.

Dell regards the NFV platform as the base that delivers standard northbound interfaces to support OSS/BSS integration as well as open orchestration of the various components and sub-systems of the platform. Dell regards the platform as a plug-and-play framework for NFVs that can help enable service agility as well as deliver opex and capex savings.

Dell strongly believes that the NFV ISG's use cases 1-4 -- which deal with the provision of NFV Infrastructure, VNF and Virtual Network Platform as a Service, and VNF Forwarding Graphs -- must be deployed, as they are the foundational pieces for the NFV architecture that is necessary to reap the benefits of new and differentiated services.


Need to know more about network functions virtualization and the cloud? Then check out the agenda for NFV and the Data Center, September 16 at the Santa Clara Marriott, Calif.


The Dell team is currently debating what uses cases telcos are really looking for, though it's understood that ensuring that telcos are able to provide a differentiated offering is of critical importance. Something being considered is the way in which VNFs can be used once deployed -- in effect asking, now that those functions are running on a different, virtual platform, how can things be done differently than in the past?

According to Dell, telcos have been requesting details related to the cloud-based delivery of VNFs in their request for information (RFI) documents. However, Dell believes that, ultimately, it is likely that different parts of a solution will reside in different places. For example, firewall enforcement might be performed at the customer premises, but all of the related policies (the complexity) would reside in a virtual point of presence (vPoP) or central office. One reason Dell says telcos will want to deliver VNFs via the cloud is that functionality would be dynamic, and able to respond to changing needs. In fact, if this doesn't happen, the NFV movement will have been a failure, in Dell's opinion.

The notion of distributed versus centralized VNFs is just one of the topics that will be discussed and debated at Light Reading's upcoming NFV and the Data Center event, where my colleague, Heavy Reading senior analyst Jim Hodges, and I will lead sessions that will delve into the practical considerations for telcos as they prepare to deploy NFV in their data centers.

— Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/8/2014 | 6:39:39 PM
Re: Location matters
What is the biggest challenge with chaining appliances?
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Lightning
8/6/2014 | 5:20:43 PM
Skip Building NFV - Cloud Source It
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should re-build the network with virtual functions. For commoditized services like voice, it's better to use a cloud source approach for the superior economics and flexibility, faster time to market and easier management/support model. You can get NFV hosted.

Read more: Hosted NFV Means Voice Network as a Service
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/5/2014 | 2:37:10 PM
Re: Location matters
Though the issue of centralized v. distribued is certainly important, am I wrong in thinking that chaining itself becomes a whole lot easier with NFV than doing it the old-fashioned (appliance) way.
ajay_s
50%
50%
ajay_s,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/5/2014 | 1:38:46 PM
Location matters
I believe that Dell is absolutely correct that VNF location is important for NFV and not all functions will be in the "cloud". It will make sense to push some functions to the edge and others will be in the data center. Which data center will depend on the networking use case under consideration as latency and performace considerations will have to be balanced against the possible savings from rental location/equipment consolidation. In such an environment distributed chaining is very important.
t.bogataj
50%
50%
t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/5/2014 | 2:26:14 AM
Re: It depends
As long as positioning of VNFs directly maps to CAPEX and ARPU, their proper positioning depends mostly on reliability of VNFs' operation. Which comes down to (a) responsiveness (e.g. delay sensitivity), (b) efficiency of operation (e.g. bandwidth-hungry functions), and (c) independence of network connectivity (i.e. network health).

T.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
8/4/2014 | 2:59:16 PM
It depends
Whether the VNF should be in the cloud, datacenter, or customer premises dependson what you want to do with it. Some applications will be  suitable for one location, some for another. 
More Blogs from Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Overlays have been proposed as a way to bring the benefits of virtualization to the telco data center networking domain.
Join our fireside chat at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as we discuss the operational implications of NFV with Justin Paul, head of OSS marketing at Amdocs.
The race to deliver gigabit broadband services is accelerating, and G.fast is a key technology that telecom service providers can deploy to compete successfully.
If NFV is to progress, proofs of concept and trials need to come out of the lab and into live networks in 2015.
This year is expected to be a year of great market evolution across most telecom sectors, specifically in virtualization and Long Term Evolution (LTE).
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Networks of the future will rely on "white box" switches and servers rather than proprietary hardware and that's going to alter the shape of the communications industry. Who says so? John Chambers.
LRTV Custom TV
The Benefits of HyperScale Clouds for NFV

3|27|15   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Hyperscale cloud has been developed by the Internet giants to support the creation and delivery of software-based services at blistering speeds, and at the lowest possible cost. The original ETSI NFV vision was to adopt hyperscale cloud architecture and practices. This vision has become somewhat obscured along the way, due to misunderstandings about the hyperscale ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
eLTE Rapid Meets the Need for Speed

3|26|15   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


Designed especially for emergency and dedicated ad hoc local mobile communications coverage, Huawei's eLTE Rapid solution can deliver trunked voice, video and data coverage for multiple users over a 6km range and be set up in just 15 minutes, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
On Videos: Challenges & Opportunities

3|26|15   |   5:56   |   (0) comments


Most everything is now connected. And along with 4K and 4G technologies, everyone could be creating and broadcasting video contents. Users are expecting better video experience with any screen, anywhere and anytime. Operators will meet new challenges, but also see some big opportunities.
LRTV Custom TV
JDSU: Delivering Dynamic Networks for a Personalized Experience

3|26|15   |   5:59   |   (0) comments


Light Reading speaks to JDSU at Mobile World Congress 2015 about new solutions in the areas of HetNets, VoLTE, backhaul, virtualization, big data analytics, and real-time intelligence.
LRTV Custom TV
Smarter Service Chaining & New Ways to Benefit From Qosmos Technology

3|25|15   |   03:11   |   (0) comments


David Le Goff, director of strategic and product marketing at Qosmos, explains how the company has added application awareness to subscriber information to make service chaining more efficient and reduce costs for networking and infrastructure. In addition, Qosmos technology, which has been delivered as C libraries, is now also available as a virtual machine, ...
Between the CEOs
Qosmos CEO: The Changing Face of DPI

3|24|15   |   13:53   |   (0) comments


LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures. Also, how the comms market is becoming more like the automotive industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FC Schalke Scores With Its Agile Stadium

3|24|15   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


Top German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has deployed a new, agile WiFi network from Huawei in its Veltins-Arena stadium and is reaping the benefits in terms of customer satisfaction and business opportunities, explains marketing chief Alexander Jobst.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Insights on Mobile Video

3|24|15   |   7:51   |   (0) comments


More people than ever are now watching videos on smartphones. Seventy percent of mobile traffic will be video traffic until 2018. In this video, Huawei's exports give their insights on mobile video in terms of business model, network planning and 4G network construction.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Industry 4.0

3|24|15   |   02:26   |   (9) comments


Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution? It's a big deal for influential operators such as Deutsche Telekom.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Getting Connected With eLTE

3|23|15   |   06:04   |   (0) comments


Trunked radio communications have entered the 4G LTE world, and with Huawei's eLTE solution, can now deliver a full range of data and video services as well as push-to-talk voice, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Funkwerk’s on Track With Huawei

3|19|15   |   3:23   |   (0) comments


GSM-R technology specialist Funkwerk and Huawei have forged a partnership that is benefiting both parties, notes Funkwerk's Gottfried Winter.
LRTV Documentaries
How EANTC Tested Cisco's Virtualization Solutions

3|18|15   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Carsten Rossenhövel, managing director of independent test lab EANTC, tells Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the innovative approach his team had to take when validating Cisco's service provider virtualization and cloud solutions.
Upcoming Live Events
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
AT&T Woos SMBs With Small-Scale WiFi
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 3/26/2015
The Rise of Industry 4.0
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 3/24/2015
Google Hires Wall Street's Most Influential Woman as CFO
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/24/2015
Just Don't Say IBM Is 'Relaunching' Networking Business
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 3/26/2015
Average US Broadband Speeds No Great Shakes
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 3/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.
Cats with Phones
Interspecies Phone Love Click Here
"No, you hang up."
"No, YOU hang up."
Latest Comment