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Dredgie
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Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/30/2013 | 2:42:42 PM
Re: distributed and virtualized
It's a good topic in general. As you say, there's a ways to go, for sure. Supporting the ISG (as they are not a standards body) there will be a second BOF on the topic (NSC as was – now Service Function Chaining / SFC) at IETF 88 in Vancouver. But according to the area Directors, if the meeting had been a few weeks later, they would have gone straight to working group status, as is the large number of contributions that have been developed, on the topic, under the auspices of this WG. They do have to agree on a charter as well, of course! :-)
Gabriel Brown
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Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/30/2013 | 1:46:36 PM
Re: distributed and virtualized
Thanks Dredgie. The idea that EPC (and related) functions are decomposed and then reassembled into a service chain is a powerful one. There are far-reaching implications for how application software is written -- and it may be harder to square this with a "quick and dirty" port of an application to COTS. In short, vendors are going to have make quite a substantial investment in re-designing software for a virtualized deployment.

I should probably have made this one of the 5 Challenges for NFV in the 4G Core Network.
Gabriel Brown
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Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/30/2013 | 1:35:37 PM
Re: Innovation acceleration - the sleeper?
Thanks Charlie. Rapid innovation certainly appears to be at the heart of AT&T's Domain 2.0 strategy announced recently, which seeks to decouple network hardware and software. Obviously there are many aspects to rapid innovation, as you mention in your post.
charlieashton
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charlieashton,
User Rank: Light Beer
9/30/2013 | 11:26:49 AM
Innovation acceleration - the sleeper?
It is worth emphasizing the "innovation speed-up" benefit to the service agility concept that you mention. As well as accelerating the deployment of services, SDN/NFV also reduces the risk and costs associated with the development, testing and field trials of totally new services in the market.  Service providers can simply instantiate them as virtualized applications rather than having to procure and deploy new, fixed-function hardware which may not be easily reusable for other applications. Also, using the service chaining concept you mentioned (still in its infancy), makes it possible to create "service mashups" that are combinations of previously separate applications (including more applications developed by third parties and partners) – another form of rapid innovation.  To many, rapid innovation is the key to carriers increasing ARPU, competing effectively with the OTT players and being more than just 'data pipes.'
Dredgie
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Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/12/2013 | 11:04:50 AM
Re: distributed and virtualized
I guess it's decomposed, distributed and virtualized if you consider the EPC elements: policy, state management, L3 forwarding (decomposed RIB / FIB with TBD protocol to inject routes – ForCES, maybe?) and L7 steering – specifically through the 7+ different service chains mobile operators would expect to have (comprising LBs, DPI, IDS, IPS, FWs,  Caches and the like.
lrmobile_janly0
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lrmobile_janly0,
User Rank: Lightning
9/11/2013 | 2:16:00 PM
Re: distributed and virtualized
Yes it may be more distributed (logical/physical would be a matter of 
implementation) to adapt to the underlying transport infrastructure capacity and topology. This would bring a performance advantage compared to a purely centralized model (few sites) on top of the advantages you describe above (e.g. reduced costs). I think this could help solve the signalling overload and data crunch problems.
 
Gabriel Brown
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Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/11/2013 | 4:13:14 AM
Re: Making waves (or is it wiggles?) in the EPC with CloudNFV
Hi Dredgie. Thanks for the comment. I'm not familiar with the "wiggle", but...

There is the notion of a "virtualized service matrix" emerging, but that's more on the Gi side of the P-GW (although in time will incorporate the EPC profile as well)

In essence this is the ability to program "workflows" in software according to the use-case or customer type. The operator can program virtualized instances of the EPC (and related services) according to different service definitions, which incorporate traffic models, mobility profiles, policy and charging, security requirements and so on.

This configuration stays with the user (or user group) as she/he moves around ("wiggles"?)

In theory, it gives operators scope to diversify their service offers and address a greater part of the market more quickly. In practice, operators are not ready to offer such 'granular' services. They want to keep things simple to start with.
Gabriel Brown
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Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/11/2013 | 4:01:18 AM
Re: distributed and virtualized
Thanks gianlu. Do you mean an EPC that is logically and physically distributed?

With virtualization there is also now a notion of physically centralized, but logically distributed EPC (i.e. running in the data center but subtended to a fewer number of sites).
lrmobile_janly0
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lrmobile_janly0,
User Rank: Lightning
9/10/2013 | 5:17:51 AM
distributed and virtualized
Good points. I would also point out that a 4G Core may be both
virtualized and "distributed" to route traffic more efficiently compared
to the existing centralized model.
Dredgie
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Dredgie,
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/9/2013 | 6:23:57 PM
Making waves (or is it wiggles?) in the EPC with CloudNFV
On the topic of agility (flexibility) and efficiently, Tom Nolle talks-up a nice, hypothetical, EPC infrastructure service that could be enabled under CloudNFV. I'm sure I'm doing this a complete disservice, but with the ability to define anything as an abstraction – including service connections (i.e. tunnels and lines) - you could create something he refers to as a 'whip': fixed at one end while moving at the other. In the EPC case, you can create a tunnel that is fixed to the PGW but waves (or wiggles!) through cell sites at the other end. This capability is provided at the service level without being tied to a specific implementation, as you would typically tie mobility management to a PGW/SGW pair today.
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