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Posts tagged ‘virtualization’

NFV Phase 2 begins: new leadership, organization, and renewed focus on implementation

By Marc Cohn, Ciena Corporation

While much of the country was coping with sub-freezing temperatures, the ETSI Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG) convened its 8th and final meeting under its original charter in the desert sunshine in Scottsdale. Intel graciously hosted the meeting, arranging excellent accommodations and hospitality throughout the week.

NFV #8 attendees were treated to a private rodeo by NFV #8 host Intel

NFV #8 attendees were treated to a private rodeo by NFV #8 host Intel

NFV #8 was the first U.S. NFV ISG meeting held outside of Silicon Valley, with no drop off in interest:

  • Number of operators: 37
  • Total number of organizations: 245
  • Number of individuals on the mailing list: > 1,200

After taking the industry by storm (literally)- attendees will never forget the unexpected and rare snowfall in the Cote d’Azur at the very first meeting of the ISG (February, 2013)- NFV Phase 1 successfully concluded, with the ISG achieving its stated objectives and defined work program. In recognition, parties sprung up by most working groups to celebrate their success.

“Operator participants are extremely pleased with the outcomes of NFV Phase 1”, stated Don Clarke (CableLabs), Chair of the Network Operator’s Council. “Few of us could have anticipated how fast this initiative would grow and how influential it would become. As we enter Phase 2, operators’ expectations continue to rise. We are very conscious of the fact that vendors are investing significant resources to develop NFV capability. It is therefore very important to stay focused and maintain our momentum to create opportunities for NFV deployment.”

NFV operators have every right to be proud, as NFV has literally redefined the ground rules for telecommunications technology adoption by:

  • Avoiding the temptation to create new standards- the ISG instead worked to influence existing and emerging SDOs and open source projects
  • Highly collaborative engagement model:
    o Among operators, some of whom are fierce competitors
    o Between operators and vendors
  • Reinventing itself as needed to adapt to the challenges at hand
  • Adopting a pragmatic approach that emphasizes progress over completeness and implementations over technical elegance
  • Capitalizing on a familiar and well-established administrative model that permitted the ISG to concentrate on progress vs. process

ETSI Director General Luis Jorge Romero commented “We are pleased that ETSI could enable the groundbreaking NFV ISG, which successfully forged an innovative standardization cooperation model, built upon assertive goals, pragmatism, lightweight process, and unprecedented collaboration. We applaud the ISG’s phenomenal accomplishments to date and believe that the NFV ISG is already influencing the entire industry.”

After months of planning, guided by the incoming ISG leadership elected at the prior meeting in July, the NFV Phase 2 work program commenced with a general agreement on the objectives and work scope:

  • Grow an interoperable VNF Ecosystem
  • Thoroughly specify reference points and requirements defined in Phase 1
  • Achieve broader industry engagement to ensure that NFV requirements are satisfied
  • Clarify how NFV intersects with SDN and related standards, industry, and open source initiatives

Steven Wright (AT&T), presiding over his first meeting since being elected Chair of the ETSI NFV ISG observed “I remain encouraged by the elevated enthusiasm by operators and partners alike. The NFV community that we have fostered has never been more robust. While we have challenges to overcome, broad industry participation has resulted in a healthy debate on our Phase 2 plans, which are converging as expected.”

In Phase 2, the ISG agreed to disband the existing NFV ISG Working Groups, and approved a new leaner working group structure better suited to the goals for Phase 2. While a healthy debate unfolded regarding the detailed Phase 2 scope and working group inter-relationships, a general consensus emerged, and the work began immediately.

The new working groups will focus less on requirements and more on adoption. Among the key areas that will be addressed include:

  • The ‘ilities’: Stability, Interoperability, Reliability, Availability, Maintainability
  • Intensified collaboration with other bodies
  • Testing and validation to encourage interoperability and solidify implementations
  • Establishment of a vibrant NFV ecosystem
  • Performance and assurance considerations
  • Continued attention to network management and operations, which is of particular interest to
    the Network Operators Council
  • Security

The ISG also elected new technical leaders to guide the NFV technical agenda. Diego Lopez (Telefonica) was re-elected as the Technical Manager, and Joan Triay (DOCOMO) was elected Assistant Technical Manager, succeeding Tetsuya Nakamura (DOCOMO), who was recently elected Vice-Chair of the NFV ISG. Working group leadership will be elected at the next plenary meeting (NFV #9), scheduled for Prague in late February.

“I am pleased that the ISG reiterated their confidence in me as we approach NFV Phase 2”, commented Diego Lopez, Technical Manager for the ISG. “As our goals shift towards implementation and adoption, we will need more detailed specifications, and address functional gaps of the standards we adopt. In order to achieve our goals, it is critical that our working groups remain focused, operate with lightweight processes, and strive for interoperability in everything that we do.”

As the ISG made a seamless transition, with a renewed charter, new leadership, and updated working group structure, the ISG has been energized to pave the way to adoption. Two years of use case assessment and prioritization, requirements analysis, architecture definition, document alignment, and countless conference calls, meetings, and drafts have resulted in a solid baseline for Phase 2.

Tetsuya Nakamura, ETSI NFV ISG Vice-Chair, stated “I am thrilled about the progress we made on the technical baseline in Phase 1, which required a great deal of collaboration and effort. Congratulations to all contributors for their commitment, dedication, and hard work without which, the leap to Phase 2 would not be possible.” Fittingly, Tetsuya, along with Michael Brenner (Alcatel Lucent), Joan Triay (DOCOMO), and Frank Zdarsky (NEC) were recognized by the ISG leadership with a special award for their outstanding contributions to Phase 1.

ETSI NFV ISG Chair Steven Wright recognized Tetsuya Nakamura, NFV ISG Vice Chair for outstanding contributions in NFV Phase 1

ETSI NFV ISG Chair Steven Wright recognized Tetsuya Nakamura, NFV ISG Vice Chair for outstanding contributions in NFV Phase 1

Given the accomplishments in Phase 1, there is increasing optimism that the ETSI NFV ISG will achieve its lofty goal to radically transform the entire telecommunications industry. 2015 is shaping up to be the year of the trial, leveraging over 25 Proof of Concepts, visible strides in product development, and leading edge operators planning for initial deployments.

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Interview: Ravinder Shergill, Telus

Ravinder Shergill, Senior Technology Architect, Telus, Canada

Ravinder-ShergillRavinder Shergill is the Chief IP Architect responsible for Technology Strategy, overall IP Network Architecture and Governance for IP networks at TELUS Communications Inc. In this role, he is prime for the roadmap and evolution of the Converged IP/MPLS Core and the Converged IP/Ethernet Metro and Edge networks that deliver business, consumer and partner services across both; wire-line and wireless access networks.

 

Ravinder will be speaking at Carrier Network Virtualization 2014 on Tuesday, December 9 at the SDx Summit, Crowne Plaza Palo Alto. Click here to download the full agenda.

What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in carrier networks to date?

Industry Collaboration between Operators, Standards bodies and Vendors. Open Platform NFV has the greatest potential, provided everyone plays nice between incumbents & whitebox suppliers.

Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN & NFV this year as you would like?

Early case studies in the industry are promising, but these tend to be simpler given the risk with any new technologies. There could always be more progress, but being a realist the pace of progress is about what I expected.

How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN & NFV at present?

POCs from past year are moving to trial. New POCs are being assessed. Industry events participation is also an important contribution.

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN & NFV at present and how can they be overcome?

Operational Model for the new World order the embraces NFV & SDN. Furthermore, clarity of use cases and the realization of their direct benefits to the Operator.

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised and why?

Data Centres are a fertile ground for initial use cases because projected growth warrants a more scalable approach than business-as-usual.

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and Virtualization in carrier networks in the coming years?

More successful early deployments will help increase confidence of fast followers. Standard solutions that are modular & easy to replicate will be winners.

Which companies do you most admire in the SDN space?

Ones that are Innovative and Open in the spirit of putting their Customers First.

Interview with Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra, Australia

Hugh BradlowIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Hugh Bradlow, CTO of Telstra, Australia, to ask him about his thoughts on SDN and NFV in 2014.

Welcome Hugh. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

HSB: “Cloud data centres have had the biggest impact on progressing SDN as they offer immediate value.”

Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?

HSB: “Any change to core infrastructure cannot be rushed, so the pace of introduction is valid.”

How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN and NFV at present?

HSB: “We have been running trials of some of some the key new use cases (e.g. virtualised Residential Gateway) to determine value and performance.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?

HSB: “The hurdles are similar to the introduction of any new technology. You are competing with an incumbent infrastructure which is delivering value and the technology is usually only a small proportion of the overall solution – the aspects that inhibit change from existing to new are all the things that go with the technology – OSS, OAM, human capital, etc. On top of that, you need to prove a business case based on total operating cost which is always difficult.”

5) Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?

HSB: “As mentioned above, data centres are an obvious use case and are already well progressed. Customer access is another priority opportunity because of the flexibility it allows in terms of service delivery (e.g. enabling a customer to configure multiple independent networks over one physical access path).”

6) What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?

HSB: “Unless some compelling use case emerges, I think we shall see the introduction of SDN/NFV as part of lifecycle replacement of assets over time.”

Hugh Bradlow will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

Interview with Hrvoje Jerkovic, Service Quality Assurance Manager, Vipnet, Croatia

Hrvoje JerkovicIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Hrvoje Jerkovic, Service Quality Assurance Manager, Vipnet, Croatia to find out his thoughts on the industry in 2014.

Welcome Hrvoje. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?
HJ: “In last few months we have seen real flood of announcements regarding NFV implementations. Some of them refer to Proof of Concepts, and some to implementations in real live networks. It is obvious that this is more than just upgrades to technology, and operators are very careful with this topic.
“Generally, the main reason lies in the opportunity to cut hardware costs by reusing the same COTS hardware platforms for different telco appliances. Through better utilization of hardware and through using distributed software block-architecture of NFV based telco elements, operators have the opportunity to make significant cost savings as well as optimization of resource usage.”
Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?
HJ: “NFV presents a major shift in telco architecture. Such changes need time to develop to reach functionality and telco-grade stability of legacy architecture; therefore, I would answer yes. We have to accept the fact that no operator wants to gamble with their core business, even if the potential savings might be big. This is the reason for taking small steps and virtualizing only certain network functionalities on certain technologies.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?
HJ: “In terms of hurdles, the main technical reason is non-maturity of current NFV based products. As mentioned earlier, many operators are making small steps, just because they don’t have full confidence to make bigger steps. Beside that, there is also a constant need for each operator to adapt the set-up of its processes driven by NFV architecture.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?
HJ: “In the first phase, we should focus on network elements covering signaling and control functions. Some of them might be IMS related , VoLTE related, policy functionalities, messaging services, Gi services etc. After that, data plane nodes which have clearly specific and/or different requirements could follow in the second stage.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?
HJ: “Based on initial experience, SDN and virtualization’s footprint is likely to spread in certain steps, depending on operators’ plans to extend in this direction. The logical way forward for operators is to exchange legacy equipment when NFV-based solutions can fulfil functionality/stability requirements and old legacy equipment reaches an end-of-life state.”

 Which company do you most admire in the SDN / NFV space, and why?
HJ: “It would be impolite to pick any vendor right now. The interesting thing is that, beside traditional ICT vendors (also known as the big players), we see many small agile vendors on the market trying to position themselves in the mix as well. Both of these have weakness and strengths, and I think it’s good for industry and good for the market as well to see some new players.”

Hrvoje Jerkovic will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas on SDN and NFV at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

Interview with Ampai Pornprasertsakul, Deputy Director, True Corporation, Thailand

Ampai PornprasertsakulIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Ampai Pornprasertsakul, Deputy Director at True Corporation in Thailand, to find out more about her perspective on SDN and NFV in 2014.

Ampai, welcome. What are your impressions of SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?
AP: “Telecom operations are still in the process of exploring the SDN and NFV capability and impact. The realization is it is coming, and that we shall all need to prepare for it.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?
AP: “The biggest hurdles that remain are how best to implement SDN and NFV, how to determine the biggest benefits we can get from them, working out how this new technology will impact our existing network, and what exactly the implementation costs will be.  We also need to know how best to integrate SDN with network equipment, VAS and IT systems.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?
AP: “Personally, I think that VAS (Value Added Services) should be prioritised first for virtualization. The reasons for this are the high feasibility of implementation in this area, and that VAS has less impact on key services. I believe that less mission-critical services should be tested first.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?
AP: “In coming years, I foresee that SDN and Virtualization will continue towards full network implementation. Eventually, I anticipate the integration of network, VAS and IT systems as one.”

Interview with Shahar Steiff, AVP Business Operations, PCCW Global

Shahar SteiffIn advance of Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014, we caught up with Shahar Steiff, AVP of Business Operations, PCCW Global, to find out his thoughts on the industry in 2014…

Shahar, welcome. What would you say has had the largest impact in terms of progressing SDN and NFV in telecom networks to date?

SS: “If we have to take one event this year that made the largest impact on the future of SDN and NFV, I would say it is AT&T’s publishing its “Domain 2.0 Vision”. When one of the world’s largest carriers announces its support of SDN and NFV technologies, it provides the whole industry assurance that their efforts are spent in the right direction. And using AT&T’s own words: “Domain 2.0 is not a completed architecture or technology plan; rather it sets direction. There remains much to do…”

2) Do you feel that the industry is making as much progress towards implementing SDN and NFV this year as you would like?

SS: “The industry is still in “hype” mode when it comes to SDN and NFV. Several limited test cases have been proven to work, but the business case is still unclear. In addition to that, the majority of the work and progress is limited to the “comfort zone” of the data-centre, where SDN and NFV were conceived, while developments related to carrier networks and mobile networks are still at infancy.”

How is your company contributing to the realisation of SDN and NFV at present?

SS: “PCCW Global is a contributing member at several of the Industry Standard-Defining-Organizations, such as MEF, ONF, 3GPP.

“At PCCW Global we believe that the industry as a whole will benefit from convergence towards standardized APIs that will allow vendor agnostic abstraction and virtualization.”

What do you think are the biggest hurdles towards implementing SDN and NFV at present, and how can they be overcome?

SS: “Implementation of SDN and NFV is effected by three factors:

a. The technology is still maturing and has limited commercially available solutions.

b. The technology is optimized for data-centre environments and needs to be further enhanced to suit the specific needs of carrier’s transport networks.

c. Integration of SDN and legacy equipment is still under development. A migration plan that retains the value of previous investments needs to be developed.

“In addition to that, today’s “selling point” for SDN and NFV is “Cost-Savings”, while the business case for that approach still needs to be proven. Instead, I trust that once carriers start realizing the operational benefits of this technology and the NEW REVENUE opportunities it may bring, they will be more keen to give it a try.”

Which areas of the network do you think should be prioritised for virtualization, and why?

SS: “To date – SDN and NFV have been realized in the Data-Centre. That’s one part of the network. There are other parts of the network that need to undergo the same: Wireline/Wireless/Mobile access networks, the packet core network, aggregation layers.

“The key is agnostic abstraction, which should be implemented on any of the above mentioned network areas. Agnostic abstraction which defines the service regardless of the vendor, the carrier and the underlying technology. Once that is achieved, virtualization becomes simple to implement. This emphasizes the key role of SDOs (Standard-Defining-Organizations) in the future of SDN and NFV. It is only through collaboration of vendors, service providers and OSS/BSS platform developers that the industry will be able to define consensus-based abstracted services and APIs that the vendors and OSS/BSS developers will then be able to implement in their hardware and software, allowing the carriers to virtualize their services in a ubiquitous manner across the different areas.”

What are your expectations for the development of SDN and virtualization in telco networks in coming years?

“To date – SDN and NFV development has focussed primarily on the Southbound-Interface. That’s a good starting point. There’s much debate going around the Northbound interface at this time. However – taking into account that in today’s environment services will almost always transit beyond the boundaries of one operator/system/carrier/platform into one (or more) other platform(s), it is key that an Eastbound-API is developed. Such Eastbound-API will allow a service to span across multiple domains delivering end-to-end management.

“As an example: A mobile user establishing HD Video conference with two other users: another mobile user that is subscribed to another mobile operator, and a colleague in the main office sitting at their desk. In the future SDN/NFV managed network, a VPN with CoS characteristics and bandwidth that is capable to convey an HD video signal will be established, in real time, from each user’s device, through their access network (mobile or wireline), through the core backbone of their network provider, to the MCU (Media Concentration Unit) in “the cloud” (a data-centre somewhere).

“For this example scenario to properly function – all elements of the network must use the same service abstractions and same APIs, regardless of their make, model or software release. A “guaranteed 768Kbps from device A to device B” is the same no matter if one device is a mobile phone on an LTE network and the other device is a macbookpro connected to the office WiFi. If all platforms along the path support the same standards, SDN and NFV will allow real-time delivery of billable CoS-managed-network services.”

Shahar will be speaking in more detail about his thoughts and ideas at Network Virtualization & SDN World in London on 27-30 May 2014. For further information and to register for the event, please visit www.sdnworldevent.com.

Where Will These Top Carrier SDN Vendors Be One Year From Now?

Last August, Craig Matsumoto of Light Reading posted his listing of the Top 10 Carrier SDN Vendors, admitting “Picking a ‘Top 10’ in software-defined networking (SDN) is a dangerous business, because the whole sector is in flux.” Six months later, how are those ten (actually 11, with OpenDaylight) picks faring?

1. OpenDaylight. Although not an independent vendor, OpenDaylight opens the list because it is a “community-led, open, industry-supported framework, for accelerating adoption, fostering new innovation, reducing risk and creating a more transparent approach to Software-Defined Networking…OpenDaylight is structured using open source development best practices, and is comprised of the leading organizations in the technology industry.”

When OpenDaylight started, it only had two open-source projects. Now, it has sixteen. Thanks to OpenDaylight software-defined networking, rivals and users are being brought together by open source and creating software-defined networking for everyone.

2. VMware/Nicira. A little over a year after the Nicira acquisition, VMware announced its network virtualization platform called NSX whose goal is to enable users to deploy a virtual network for an application at the same speed and operational efficiency as a virtual machine. In addition, VMware announced multiple program enhancements at the VMware Partner Exchange 2014. So it’s safe to say that VMware is still in the game.

3. Juniper/Contrail. Despite one story reporting trouble with the introduction of Contrail to Juniper’s engineering team earlier this year, Juniper continues to position itself to introduce the new approach needed for management, provisioning and maintenance of connections as companies push infrastructure to “hyperscale levels” in anticipation of Big Data, mobile traffic and advanced sync/sharing services. Juniper marketing director Steve Shaw said, “With physical networks simply incapable of handling such a dynamic load, enterprises will find that SDN is necessary, regardless of the long-term ROI.” And Juniper intends to be a part of that.

4. ConteXtream.  In addition to joining the OpenDaylight project, the company collaborated with Cisco Systems to contribute a LISP-based mapping service to the open source SDN project OpenDaylight that enables the federation of SDN controllers across a WAN. Obviously, ConteXtream is still a player.

5. Big Switch Networks. Early on, Big Switch Networks dropped out of its leadership position in the OpenDaylight Project due to, among other things, concerns with Cisco over whose technology would form the foundation of an OpenDaylight SDN controller. Now Big Switch Network reports that it is ready to embark on a new chapter after rebooting its business late last summer.

6. Cyan. Cyan recently announced that its Blue Planet SDN Platform and Z-Series packet-optical hardware have been selected by the Jeollanam-Do province in South Korea. This will be deployed together with partner Telefield with the new network delivering e-government applications in support of the two million citizens living in the province.

7. Alcatel-Lucent/Nuage. In January,  Nuage Networks announced that UPMC selected its software-defined networking platform for deployment in their backup network. Once the staging and verification are deemed successful, UPMC will begin a multi-year transition to Nuage Networks solutions for the rest of its datacenter network infrastructure to support the increased demand from employees, patients, hospitals, and healthcare insurers.

8. Cisco/Insieme. Cisco Systems has been consistently labeled as a late adopter of SDN, but between its “spin-in” with Insieme Networks, unveiling its Application-Centric Infrastructure last November and now the investment of $6 million in Embrane, Cisco is positioning itself for the leadership position once more.

9. Plexxi. Plexxi is still in the news, and has contributed to articles and information for OpenDaylight, but there doesn’t seem to be anything new in the way of product changes or launches.

10. Ciena. Ciena is a Silver-level member of the OpenDaylight Project and active contributor to the OpenDaylight code base. In addition, Ciena reports that it is working closely with their customers to understand the widespread implications of SDN on their existing and future networks. According to a recent interview, one of Ciena’s SDN experts Marc Cohn said, “Parts of our SDN portfolio, such as our V-WAN, are already shipping, and many of our customers have expressed interest in the OpenDaylight framework. As a result Ciena has been closely investigating the potential application of the OpenDaylight framework for future products. Ciena has not yet announced our SDN product plans in this area, but we expect to soon.”

11. Brocade/Vyatta. The Stargate Group, an Australian application service provider (ASP) to the mortgage finance sector, announced on February 12 that it “has taken its first step toward applying software-defined networking (SDN) to its operations with the deployment of Brocade® NetIron® CER 2000 Ethernet/MPLS routers.” And earlier in February, Brocade today introduced the rollout of an enhanced channel program, including a new component specifically designed for software networking partners.

For more information, see Mind Commerce at www.MindCommerce.com