VMware Leads the Cloud Central Office Project at Broadband Forum

VMware has joined the Broadband Forum (BBF), a consortium of Telecommunication Service broadbandforumcmykwebProviders, System Integrators and Technology Vendors. The BBF develops best practices for Home and Business Broadband deployment that will enable new revenue-generating services and new types of content delivery while establishing technology migration strategies. The BBF has the vision that the innovative use of Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Software-Defined Networking (SDN), Ultra-Fast access, IoT (Internet of Things), and when formally defined, 5G, will enable the delivery of ultra-fast broadband services with distributed compute and storage to anywhere and any device in home or business locations.

VMware is the first virtualization company to join the BBF, and is ready to help the BBF and the industry with our technology leadership in compute, networking and storage virtualization, and experience shaping the future of cloud transformation for service providers and enterprises alike.

Just after joining, I was appointed as Project Leader for the ‘Cloud Central Office’ (CCO) Project Stream. Telco operators want their networks to be multi-purpose, adaptable, agile, scalable and dynamic, while reducing costs. Besides reducing CAPEX and OPEX, shortened time-to-market is also highly desired. SDN and NFV are two powerful tools that are exploited in the industry to optimize current networks.  A Cloud Central Office is a next-generation Central Office (CO) System that incorporates SDN and NFV on top of a Software Defined Data Center architecture.

The Cloud CO architecture leverages typical data-center style equipment like generalized network switches and generalized compute nodes, and no longer relies on the typical equipment found in CO’s, such as Broadband Network Gateways. The switches switch traffic from access functions towards virtualized network functions and/or towards the Broadband Core Network. The compute nodes will be running virtualization software in order to host these aforementioned virtualized network functions (VNFs) as Virtual Machines or Containers. Infrastructure operators can offer these VNFs, or a service chain of VNFs to 3rd parties, allowing offering all the resulting functionality ‘as-a-service’. 3rd party VNFs can be inserted into the platform, allowing Value Added Services. To that avail, the aim is to leverage a cloud-style API to allow easy consumption and lifecycle management of all the functionality within the Cloud CO, for internal or external consumption purposes.

There is a lot of activity in the industry around various open source projects for NFV Infrastructures (NFVI), and Management and Orchestration (MANO). The Cloud CO project’s aim is not to deliver yet-another open source implementation. Rather, it will focus on defining sets of functionality, and the interface descriptions interconnecting those sets. How those sets of functionality are achieved is beyond the scope of the Project (they could be implemented with any of the open source projects or by vendor-specific implementations. The Cloud CO Project will be delivered in a phased approach through various Projects, with the ultimate goal of creating a Reference Implementation.

The Cloud CO can become the foundation for the programmable, dynamic networks of the future, while helping the industry to navigate a plethora of possible platform solutions and interfaces. In that way it will help protect investment and revenues while enabling seamless migration.

The Cloud CO provides value to various industry stakeholders, as it gives a tried and tested implementation blueprint for service providers, systems integrators, and suppliers of software and network functions. It will also provide a test-bed for application and service development, thereby expanding opportunities and eliminating technology silos. Furthermore it will allow code up-streaming of patches and suggestions to open source software communities as well as providing integration of closed source solutions and open source implementations within the framework. And finally it will give the opportunity to experience new services and applications for enterprises, business users, and consumers.

I strongly believe that VMware can help turn the Cloud CO into a reality, and I am personally very excited to be able to lead this industry effort!


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