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Light Reading Publishes Unique NFV Interoperability Test Report

Ray Le Maistre

In one of the most important developments in its 15-year history, Light Reading has published a groundbreaking multivendor NFV interoperability test report that highlights the progress being made in the New IP sector, unveils the challenges faced by progressive network operators and puts the spotlight on a band of vendors that are determined to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

The report details the results and, perhaps more importantly, the findings of a two-months long test and evaluation process commissioned by Light Reading and undertaken by independent test lab European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) on behalf of the New IP Agency (NIA) , the not-for-profit body that will officially launch in early 2016. The focus of this Phase 1 test was interoperability between multiple NFV infrastructure (NFVi) systems and multiple virtual network functions (VNFs): Four vendors submitted NFVi systems (all based on OpenStack), while 12 companies provided various VNFs.

The independence of the evaluation process and resulting report is of paramount importance and part of what makes this a unique undertaking: Multiple NFV tests have been organized and managed by vendors, some of them involving partners from NFV ecosystems, but this is the first multivendor evaluation that has been organized, planned, managed and executed by an independent third party.

That provides significant value not only to the network operators and service providers that now have access to a set of NFV interoperability but also to the vendors that participated: They stood up and were counted, to their credit.

Those companies are (in alphabetical order):

  • Alcatel-Lucent (also supplied NFVi)
  • Cisco Systems (also supplied NFVi)
  • Cobham Wireless
  • Hitachi Communication Technologies America
  • Huawei Technologies (also supplied NFVi)
  • IneoQuest Technologies
  • Juniper Networks (also supplied NFVi)
  • Metaswitch Networks
  • NetNumber
  • Netrounds
  • Procera Networks
  • Sonus Networks

So what actually happened? And what were the conclusions and findings? You can read the full details in the multi-page report here on Light Reading, but here are some highlights:

  • Working with the 12 vendors, EANTC performed 39 separate interoperability tests.
  • Of those 39 combinations, 25 (or 64%) passed.
  • To gain a pass, four mandatory test cases had to be successfully completed.
  • Nearly 80 people from more than 15 companies and organizations were involved during the seven-week process.
  • Among the many takeaways highlighted by the EANTC team during the evaluation process was the performance of OpenStack: "There were tons of interop issues despite the fact that all NFVis were based on OpenStack," noted Carsten Rossenhövel, managing director at EANTC.

This evaluation is Phase 1 of the planned multivendor test program that will be steered by the board of the NIA in 2016 and beyond. "This first round of testing is a shining example of the telecom industry at its best, working across company lines to accelerate the deployment of virtualized networks by addressing service providers' number one fear about NFV: interoperability," said Steve Saunders, Founder and CEO of Light Reading. "All of the participants should be immensely proud of their achievements in this evaluation. There are only winners here, and the biggest winner of all is the comms industry itself."

The full report can be found here:

EXCLUSIVE! NFV Interop Evaluation Results

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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Gabriel Brown
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/9/2015 | 1:28:05 PM
Re: MIA...
I haven't read the report yet, but saw Carsten present the results earlier today. It's a terrific piece of work. Very consistent with what operators have be telling me about the state of interoperability between NFVI and VNFs. It's great to have a public resource that shows what works.
User Rank: Blogger
12/8/2015 | 4:56:06 PM
Re: MIA...
This is Phase 1. The companies involved are those which have stepped up first to show they have the desire and , in most cases, the ability to interoperate with other vendors. That is a big deal for network operators but of course this is only a small step.

But it is a very important first stpe and, as the full report shows, a lot has been learned from this first evaluation phase.

We hope, of course, that all the DPI vendors and in fact everyone from every sector will eventually take part and prove themselves on an independent stage. 
User Rank: Lightning
12/8/2015 | 4:33:48 PM
At first glance...if Procera is there and Allot and Sandvine are not...you're missing way more than 2/3 of the DPI component.

I would assume you are missing to the same degree across other fields...so...what do the numbers really tell you.

I don't think you can really conclude anything at this point.

For competitive reasons, I'd guess many don't want to take the pepsi challenge...at least not yet.
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