To speed the adoption of NFV, Telefónica wants the telecom industry to work together on a homogeneous supporting infrastructure for virtualized network functions that is built on open components. The Spanish telecom giant is using its own NFV Reference Lab and the 15 vendors engaged there to "steer the industry in that direction."
In an interview with Light Reading, conducted via email, Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)'s Diego Lopez, head of technology exploration at Telefonica I+D, stresses the need for a different mindset within the industry and for everyone "to get out of their comfort zones and learn to play according to the rules of much opener [sic] communities."
The details of Telefónica's approach were also shared in this white paper, "Accelerating NFV Through Common Extensions to NFV Infrastructure & NFVI Management," written for internal distribution at the carrier by Caroline Chappell, principal analyst, Cloud and NFV for Heavy Reading and now available to be downloaded at Light Reading.
The entire email interview transcript can be found at our sister site, The New IP.
"The great improvements that NFV can bring to networks are flexibility and efficiency, and, in order to grant the success of this new network model, it is essential to avoid the consolidation of vertically integrated and/or proprietary monolithic solutions, where hardware, hypervisor, Virtual Infrastructure Manager, and orchestrator would be required to come from the same vendor," Lopez notes.
Otherwise, the result will be closed NFV environments that aren't interoperable and that will compromise NFV's ability to meet its stated goals, he says. The homogenous infrastructure doesn't have to be common or unique to NFV, but it should be able to support building blocks based on best-of-breed technology from across the telecom sector.
Within its lab, Telefónica is working with the companies it considers key players to "enhance the baseline virtualization technologies from the open source community" and then contribute those enhancements back upstream as part of the open source process. There are 15 vendors involved and more than 20 virtual network functions being evaluated. (See Telefónica Building NFV Reference Platform With Red Hat & Intel and Telefónica Unveils Aggressive NFV Plans.)
"This is our view of what a 'fast track' for the development of a homogenous support infrastructure must be," Lopez notes. "Currently, we are working with many actors of the industry, running an integrated reference implementation environment, identifying best practices and evaluating virtual network functions via lab testing and RFI questionnaires."
Telefónica has also expressed interest in a common, open infrastructure management layer for NFV, once the baseline technologies have been established, and Lopez points to OpenStack as the focus point for that layer. Telefónica and some of its key partners have been actively contributing to OpenStack and seeing positive results.
Other initiatives, such as the OPNFV group now under development within the Linux Foundation with the support of many of the original players from the ETSI NFV ISG, "will probably have an influential role in the coming future, but we must not forget that this group is committed to provide results to upstream projects, where OpenStack is the core reference," he notes.
Telefónica has been engaged from the outset in the ETSI NFV ISG, and also recently completed a test of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)'s software-based Vyatta router, proving it can achieve 80Gbit/s throughput, enough to meet carrier-grade performance levels and support NFV deployment. (See Telefónica Proves Brocade Router Performs for NFV).
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading