Performance and Low Cost Enable NFV and SDN

May 04, 2015

NFV TestingCropWe at Overture have been helping lead the transition of telecom networks to cloud technology in the form of network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). One of the main questions about this transition is feasibility.

Can services built using NFV and SDN meet and exceed the requirements of today’s services? Can they prove in from the standpoint of cost and performance? The answer is emphatically “yes,” as demonstrated by the recent announcement from Overture and our partners. Here’s a link to our NFV Performance Benchmark Test Results, which show line rate performance achieved with a multi-vendor pure-play NFV service chaining environment:

How did we do it? We had to solve two main issues with Open vSwitch: packet-forwarding performance and lack of networking functionality. For more on the drivers for NFV and the shortcomings of OVS, please see “Why Telecos Care About SDN and NFV, and Some Issues.”

Experience Drives Innovation
As a result of the limitations of OVS, a simple cloud-based deployment of VMs using OVS for networking will fail for two reasons:

  • The packet-forwarding performance will be far too low for typical network applications.
  • The network interfaces are not compatible with service provider networks.

Fortunately, Overture is uniquely equipped to solve both of these problems. Our extensive experience in creating CE 2.0 equipment with programmable forwarding paths has equipped us to provide CE 2.0 functionality as software running on a COTS platform. A standard feature of CE 2.0 equipment is the ability to provide a VLAN, which enabled us to emulate OVS. As a result, we created our Ensemble Carrier Ethernet (ECE), which combines our CE 2.0 expertise with a standard OpenStack interface and OVS networking model.

With ECE we have been able to replace OVS while maintaining compatibility with existing virtual network functions (VNFs) as well as with OpenStack. However, ECE has much higher performance than OVS, and provides standard CE 2.0 interfaces. ECE enables real-world deployments of NFV by assuring high performance and network compatibility while running on low-cost COTS platforms.

Real-World Testing of Pure-Play Virtualization
Our test results show that ECE enables a service chain of standard VNFs to be orchestrated on a low-cost COTS platform and still achieve gigabit performance. We refer to this as “pure-play virtualization” because all of the networking functionality is implemented in software, without the need for specialized hardware or external devices. This combination of performance and networking implemented in software realizes the dream of NFV: utilizing a chain of software VNFs instantiated on a standard platform to implement innovative services at a low cost. Pure-play virtualization enables service providers to ride the silicon technology curve for cost and performance, scale functionality up and down by using different server platforms, and locate virtual functions wherever they are needed in the network.

NFV Gets Real
This year our theme at Overture has been “NFV Gets Real.” By that, we mean that NFV now has the performance and supporting technology (such as hardened servers and NFV orchestration) that are needed to meet a total cost of ownership analysis and move from proofs of concept and lab evaluations to real deployments. Our new white paper highlights of the details that reality: achieving the required performance with software VNFs running on a low cost platform.

At Overture, we are dedicated to helping service providers put the speed into, and take the cost out of innovative services, leading to increased revenue and profitability.

We have made a great start but we are not done. Expect to hear a lot more about how NFV Gets Real very soon.

Blog originally posted on: Linkedin

Performance and Low Cost Enable NFV and SDN was last modified: June 26th, 2015 by Prayson Pate

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