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NFV Elements

HP's NFV Director Merges Physical, Virtual

HP has updated its NFV portfolio to help network operators control their physical and virtual functions using a single multi-vendor management tool.

NFV Director 2.0 "will now allow you to stitch together orchestration for the physical world along with the new virtual world," said Jeff Edlund, HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) Communications and media solutions CTO.

Support for both physical and virtual resources is important for operators making the transition to NFV as they will be managing legacy physical assets alongside virtualized functions for the foreseeable future, notes Edlund.

To manage virtual assets, HP's NFV Director 2.0 supports OpenStack, including HP's own Helion implementation and other cloud platforms based on the OpenStack Juno release. It also incorporates OSS capabilities for the management of physical assets. HP has long been a major supplier of OSS tools to telcos, offering a broad range of network assurance, activation and provisioning tools along with associated services. (See HP Enhances Its SPIT Portfolio.)

Other vendors, such as Cyan Inc. , offer tools that manage both physical and virtual assets, but according to Edlund, HP beats the competition on breadth of support. "What they don't have is a catalog of 1,400 physical assets that they've connected to before and know how to provision and automate."

HP designed the new capabilities to "help communications service providers reduce capex while enhancing agility, innovation, and application and service delivery," the company said in a statement. (See HP Expands NFV Solutions.)

The Director is a component of the HP's OpenNFV Program, which is designed to help network operators replace proprietary network architectures with components (primarily from HP and its hardware and software partners, of course) that are less expensive and more quickly deployed.

In addition to the new NFV Director 2.0, HP has also released a range of virtual network functions (VNFs) for evolved packet core (EPC) deployments, a virtualized WebRTC Gateway Controller and an API Management solution designed to let operators generate new revenue from cloud services.

Most of the new products are available now, except for the API Management functionality, which will be available next year.

HP launched an NFV business unit in February, and sees NFV as primarily a cloud technology, for which partnering with other companies is essential for success. The company sees existing business practices within its customers, rather than rival vendors, as HP's biggest hurdle to achieving success in the NFV market. (See Winds of Change Blow NFV at HP.)


Find out more about network functions virtualization on Light Reading's NFV channel.


NFV and related SDN technologies are gaining momentum. In recent developments:

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) this month added Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to its list of Domain 2.0 partners, a cloud program that leans heavily on SDN and NFV. The three additions raise the total number of partners to 10. (See HP Expands NFV Solutions.)
  • ConteXtream upgraded its venerable SDN fabric to enhance service providers' abilities to provide customized subscriber services, with support for the OpenDaylight SDN controller to allow providers to use third-party virtual network functions. (See ConteXtream Launches OpenDaylight-Based SDN Fabric for NFV.)
  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV Industry Specification Group (ISG), the industry's most influential NFV body, set its Phase 2 agenda, to include developing an interoperable VNF ecosystem, thoroughly specifying requirements and reference points as defined in Phase 1, and achieving broader industry engagement to ensure NFV requirements are satisfied. (See ETSI NFV Group Sets Phase 2 Agenda.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

TomNolle 12/17/2014 | 9:08:30 AM
Good Points Good points here about the value of having an orchestration strategy that crosses over the gap between legacy and NFV; you can't support evolvution if you can't support both present and future.  I want to point out that one of the reasons HP can do this is that they recognize two-phase orchestration.  Cloud-based orchestration like OpenStack works fine for VNFs but it's not the way to handle legacy VPNs and other services.  You need a different Infrastructure Manager for different infrastructure, and you need to be able to model a service at a high level in order to accommodate the different infrastructure models you're going to face in the real world.
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