Network operators are facing some of the biggest technology decisions in their history and the choices they make will have a major impact on their future prosperity.
They need to decide which parts of their network architecture should be virtualized (and when) in order to become more efficient, develop new business opportunities and gain competitive advantages, yet without losing functionality or degrading performance.
These New IP-related decisions are made harder by the nature of the virtual network functions (VNFs) under consideration -- they are first-generation products that have no documented deployment track record.
That's why the independent verification of VNFs is so important to network planners and purse string holders: They need to know that any virtualization technology in which they're going to invest resources (time, people and money) is carrier grade -- fit for purpose.
As a result, independent evaluations by trusted and experienced third-party test organizations are absolutely critical to the operators' decision-making processes, as they can expedite the early, important phases of a transformation program.
That's why this test report is so important.
It provides detailed insight into the performance and scalability tests, conducted by independent test lab European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) , of a range of virtual routing functions from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) (developed by the IP and Optical division of Alcatel-Lucent, now part of the Finnish giant).
The tests, conducted by a fiercely objective and experienced team, focused on Nokia's Virtualized Service Router (VSR) and Virtualized Mobile Gateway (VMG), two of the vendor's prime VNFs.
The full details of the test plan, processes and conclusions are laid out in detail in the following pages. The key takeaway, though, is that Nokia has a set of VNFs that not only passed EANTC's exacting tests, but passed with flying colors across a variety of scenarios.
That's noteworthy, as a concern often mentioned by service providers in relation to VNFs is the possibility of a performance trade-off -- that a virtualized deployment will not be able to withstand the challenges associated with real-world traffic loads, node failures or cybersecurity threats, for example. The tests conducted by EANTC at Nokia's facilities will go some way to alleviating such concerns.
In addition -- and this is also important for the whole industry -- EANTC devised new test methods to evaluate vRouter and virtual route reflector (vRR) performance that are documented and repeatable and that will be shared with the relevant standards and specifications bodies.
You can find out more about the evaluation and get the chance to put questions to EANTC and Nokia executives during a live webinar, Evaluating the performance of Nokia Virtualized Service Router (VSR) and Virtualized Mobile Gateway (VMG), on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 11:00 a.m. New York/4:00 p.m. London.
So let's get to the report, which is presented over a number of pages but which can be regarded as comprising four sections:
- An introduction and evaluation overview;
- Detailed analysis of the tests performed on the Virtualized Service Router - Provider Edge (VSR-PE) element and the key takeaways;
- Detailed analysis of the tests performed on the Virtualized Service Router - Route Reflector (VSR-RR) element and the key takeaways;
- Detailed analysis of the tests performed on the Virtualized Mobile Gateway (VMG) element and the key takeaways.
The report can be viewed in this multi-page online report or downloaded in a single PDF file: To access that PDF, click here.
Here's what you can find in the following pages:
Page 2: Introduction and executive summary (including key takeaways)
Page 3: Nokia VSR and VMG Technology components
Page 4: Virtualized Service Router — Provider Edge (VSR-PE): Test setup
Page 5: VSR-PE: Test results -- Lifecycle management
Page 6: VSR-PE: Test results -- Data plane performance
Page 7: VSR-PE: Redundancy
Page 8: VSR-PE: Denial of service test
Page 9: Virtualized Service Router — Route Reflector (VSR-RR): Test setup
Page 10: VSR-RR: Synthetic Route Reflector scalability
Page 11: VSR-RR: EVPN Route Reflection
Page 12: Virtualized Mobile Gateway (VMG): Test setup
Page 13: VMG: Lifecycle management
Page 14: VMG: Scalability and performance tests
Page 15: VMG: High availability
Page 16: VMG: Bearer/subscriber scale
— The Light Reading team and Carsten Rossenhövel, managing director, European Advanced Networking Test Center AG (EANTC) (http://www.eantc.de/), an independent test lab in Berlin. EANTC offers vendor-neutral network test facilities for manufacturers, service providers, and enterprises.