CloudNFV and Overture

Aug 14, 2013

We at Overture are pleased and proud to be participating in the CloudNFV project to support and advance the work of the ETSI NFV ISG.  In this blog I discuss the role that we at Overture are playing in this effort.

I have written several times recently about Overture’s innovative new Ensemble Open Service Architecture™ (Ensemble OSA™), and its relation to Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Networking (SDN) and cloud technologies. By leveraging Overture’s Carrier Ethernet expertise and this new open architecture for software-defined services, network operators and service providers worldwide can reduce costs, maximize operational efficiencies and introduce new revenue-generating services on a scale never before possible.  This focus is squarely in line with the vision of CloudNFV.

In the beginning …
As Tom Nolle has written, CloudNFV got its start in at April NFV#2 meeting in Santa Clara. Tom had come to the conclusion that the way to make progress on NFV was to leverage existing cloud technology, rather than starting from scratch.  His desire to provide a working proof-point of this approach led to the famous meeting of the founding members in the parking lot, including:

In addition, Metaswitch Networks has provided support for their Project Clearwater IMS package.

Making Progress
The focus of CloudNFV has been on using existing cloud infrastructure to provide an open framework that includes the ability to tie into the operators’ existing OSS/BSS/IT systems. The CloudNFV team has spent several months hashing out the specifics of how to build a working proof of concept.

Thanks to the hard work and leadership of Tom Nolle, and the cooperation of all the participants, the CloudNFV team has been able to assemble an innovative and practical demonstration of how current cloud technologies can help drive the NFV effort.

For our part, Overture is contributing several of its components to the CloudNFV architecture shown below:

  • NFV Orchestration: This role is being filled by the Overture Ensemble Service Orchestrator (ESO)
  • WAN Network Control: This functionality is provided by the Ensemble Network Controller (ENC)
  • Networking Resources: The Overture 6500 and Overture 65 metro edge switching resources are used in this role.


Ensemble Service Orchestrator (ESO)
In the CloudNFV effort, the Ensemble Service Orchestrator (ESO) translates the Active Contract service order information into actual virtual network function (VNF) deployments and the associated network connectivity between them.  ESO is a high-availability, open and flexible platform for managing the entire cycle of VNF onboarding, chaining and operations to support ETSI NFV use cases such as virtual Enterprise and IP Multimedia System (IMS). ESO leverages the OpenStack™ cloud management system and the Ensemble Network Controller to commission the VNFs, physical elements and the network connectivity between them and the end users. VSO works with the Active Resources construct to optimize resources across the virtual and physical worlds.

Ensemble Network Control
For CloudNFV, the Ensemble Network Controller (ENC) serves as the infrastructure SDN controller, bridging the virtual network overlay and the physical network worlds.  It is a fully MEF-compliant controller extensible to MPLS and IP networks. The ENC supports a direct interface to the ESO and will soon be available as an OpenStack Neutron (formerly Quantum) plug-in, forming the basis of the industry’s first carrier Ethernet controller aligned with the CloudNFV model. It automates the entire lifecycle of the metro edge network from service creation, activation to assurance. It is a high-availability system and supports the scale required to manage tens of thousands of devices at the metro edge. In the initial CloudNFV demonstration, the ENC serves as a peer to the OpenStack datacenter controller, which together provide abstraction and interfaces into the network resources, both physical (switches) and virtual (vSwitches).

Networking Resources
Along with leaf and top-of-rack datacenter switches in the CloudNFV demo, Overture’s innovative 6500 Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery Platform provides the WAN connectivity to the various elements in the CloudNFV ecosystem.  The 6500 is used as the primary traffic steering element, steering traffic to the virtual switches and chained VNFs.  The Overture 65 next generation Ethernet Access Device (EAD) forms the end customer located service demarcation point.

Moving Forward
Overture is pleased to support the CloudNFV initiative as a means to demonstrate the viability of a cloud-based NFV platform.  We look forward to working with the rest of the current CloudNFV team, and with new members as they join the initiative.

About the Author
Prayson Pate is Chief Technologist and co-founder at Overture. Prayson is a technology evangelist with a proven track record leading teams and delivering products. Since 1983 he has been building Carrier Ethernet and telecom products for service providers and network operators around the world – both as an individual developer and as a leader of development teams. Prayson spends much of his time driving adoption of Overture’s new Ensemble Open Service Architecture, which includes aspects of automation, virtualization, SDN and NFV. He has a BSEE from Duke, an MSECE from NC State and is the holder of nine US patents.

Follow Prayson on twitter: @praysonpate

CloudNFV and Overture was last modified: July 1st, 2015 by Prayson Pate

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