Introduction and executive summary
In late 2015, Light Reading commissioned EANTC to perform an independent evaluation of a range of Nokia's virtualized routing and gateway functions.
EANTC tested the Virtualized Service Router (VSR) for virtual Provider Edge (VSR-PE) and virtual Route Reflector (VSR-RR) applications. In addition, Nokia's Virtualized Mobile Gateway (VMG) was tested for various applications -- virtual System Architecture Evolution (SAE) Gateways (VMG-SAEGW), specifically Serving Gateway and Packet Data Network Gateway, and virtual Evolved Packet Data Gateway (VMG-ePDG).
EANTC validated performance, scalability and high availability capabilities in realistic test scenarios. Our team developed a detailed, reproducible test plan and executed the tests on site at Nokia's labs in Mountain View, Calif., in December 2015 and January 2016.
As we have all seen during the past few years, one of the main trends in the telecom industry is for vendors to create virtual versions of networking solutions that were formerly sold exclusively as hardware products or appliances. All of the major network equipment manufacturers offer virtual network function (VNF) versions of their product portfolio, responding to demand from their communications service provider (CSP) customers.
At EANTC, two questions guide our current evaluations of VNFs. First, how does a vendor such as Nokia re-architect software originally designed for purpose-built platforms to leverage the potential of NFV and cloud infrastructure while still meeting carrier-grade levels of scalability and resiliency? Second, how ready is a VNF solution in its entirety for real-world deployments that require functionality, performance, high availability and manageability in complex environments?
Such evaluations also provide an opportunity for the advance of test scenarios. In this exciting, fast-moving market, each test project is an opportunity to evolve test methodology beyond established rules: This report documents new test methods for virtual Provider Edge (vPE) and virtual Route Reflector (vRR) performance. EANTC will share the new test methods with the appropriate NFV standards bodies.
The key takeaways from the evaluation are as follows: