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Accelerate the move to 5G and Edge on VMware Integrated OpenStack

 

Last week at VMworld, we announced in a press release the launch of VMware Integrated OpenStack v6.0. In this PR, we highlighted the expansion of VMware’s Telco and Edge Cloud portfolio to drive real-time intelligence for telco networks, as well as improved automation and security for Telco, Edge and IoT applications.  A key element of our telco portfolio includes the availability of VMware Integrated OpenStack and how VMware continues to invest in OpenStack-managed virtualized telco clouds enabling Communications Service Providers to deploy networks and services across multiple clouds (Private, Telco, Edge and Public) and have consistent operations and management across clouds.

Today, we are excited to announce that VIO 6.0 is now officially available for our Communications Service Provider and Enterprise customers to download and install.  We have added several new capabilities in the latest release, giving CSPs the fastest path to deploy services on OpenStack.

VIO based on Stein

VMware continues its leadership in being one of the first commercial OpenStack distributions to support Stein and is fully tested and validated with OpenStack 2018.11. With the latest Stein release, VMware continues to deliver core functionality with strengthened support of container and networking capabilities to support key CSP use cases including NFV, Edge and supporting the network evolution to 5G.

Cloud Native brings greater efficiency and higher resiliency for 5G networks

5G networks are being with the premise that it will be cloud native.  A cloud native architecture accelerates CSPs time to deploy and scale services as well as provide greater resiliency and flexibility in the network with the ability to rapidly instantiate new services and applications based on real-time customer demand.

The latest release of VMware Integrated OpenStack 6.0 includes support for VMware Essential PKS, which provides CSPs access to the latest release of upstream Kubernetes, supported by VMware, giving CSPs a flexible secure cloud platform that will allow them to build, run, and manage next generation container based applications and services on any cloud.

As CSPs evolve their network architectures from 4G to 5G, maintaining a hybrid network with both VM and Container-based workloads will be required.  With VIO 6.0, CSPs will be able to deploy and manage both environments using a common platform.

As part of VMware Essential PKS, CSPs have access to the VMware’s Kubernetes architect team who can guide CSPs through every step of their cloud native journey and ensure they build a platform that supports network operations at massive scale.

Virtual Cloud Networking Scale and Performance with VIO support of NSX-T Data Center

As CSPs make the transformation from 4G to 5G networks to support the massive number of mobile and IoT devices, they require an NFVI platform that is flexible and can seamlessly scale to meet the demands of 5G and multi-cloud environments.

VIO 6.0 natively integrated with the latest release of VMware NSX-T 2.4 supporting greater scale, resiliency and performance, with near line-rate speed using a DPDK-based accelerated data plane.

With the depletion of IPv4 addresses and the massive number of IoT and mobile devices, the adoption of IPv6 will continue to grow.  VIO 6.0 with NSX-T 2.4 introduces support for IPv6 to meet the critical requirement of cloud-scale networks for CSPs.  With dual-stack support, CSPs can continue to manage dual IPv4 and IPv6 stacks across their control and data plane.

Service Assurance across OpenStack environments with VMware Smart Assurance 10.0

CSPs deploying OpenStack for their 4G and 5G networks require robust service assurance capabilities with monitoring and management tools that will allow CSPs to deliver highly reliable networks and ensure high QoS and stringent SLAs are met.  The latest release of VMware Smart Assurance with VIO 6.0, provides assurance capabilities that will deliver service impact and root-cause analysis with visibility across physical and virtual OpenStack networks, as well as multi-cloud networks.  With VMware Smart Assurance and VIO 6.0, CSPs will gain an automated approach to operational intelligence to reduce service impact and operational expenses.

Additional Resources

  • Latest VMware Integrated OpenStack information can be found here
  • Read the latest VIO 6.0 release notes and get technical documentation here
  • Learn more at vmware.com

 

 

Innovation at the Telco Edge

 

Imagine watching the biggest football game of the year being streamed to your Virtual Reality headset, and just as your team is about to score, your VR headset freezes due to latency in the network, and you miss the moment!

While this may be a trivial inconvenience, there are other scenarios that can have serious consequential events such as a self-driving car not stopping at a stop sign because of high latency networks.

The rapid growth of applications and services such as Internet of Things, Vehicle to Everything communications and Virtual Reality is driving the massive growth of data in the network that will demand real-time processing at the edge of the network closer to the user that will deliver faster speeds and reduced latency when compared to 4G LTE networks.

Edge computing will be critical in ensuring that low-latency and high reliability applications can be successfully deployed in 4G and 5G networks.

For CSPs, deploying a distributed cloud architecture where compute power is pushed to the network edge, closer to the user or device, offers improved performance in terms of latency, jitter, and bandwidth and ultimately a higher Quality of Experience.

Delivering services at the edge will enable CSPs to realize significant benefits, including:

  • Reduced backhaul traffic by keeping required traffic processing and content at the edge instead of sending it back to the core data center
  • New revenue streams by offering their edge cloud premises to 3rd party application developers allowing them to develop new innovative services
  • Reduced costs with the optimization of infrastructure being deployed at the edge and core data centers
  • Improved network reliability and application availability

Edge Computing Use Cases

According to a recent report by TBR, CSP spend on Edge compute infrastructure will grow at a 76.5% CAGR from 2018 to 2023 and exceed $67B in 2023.  While AR/VR/Autonomous Vehicle applications are the headlining edge use cases, many of the initial use cases CSPs will be deploying at the edge will focus on network cost optimization, including infrastructure virtualization, real estate footprint consolidation and bandwidth optimization. These edge use cases include:

Mobile User Plane at the Edge

A Control Plane and User Plane Separation (CUPS) architecture delivers the ability to scale the user plane and control plane independent of each other.  Within a CUPS architecture, CSPs can place user plane functionality closer to the user thereby providing optimized processing and ultra-low latency at the edge, while continuing to manage control plane functionality in a centralized data center.  An additional benefit for CSPs is the reduction of backhaul traffic between the end device and central data center, as that traffic can be processed right at the edge and offloaded to the internet when necessary.

Virtual CDN

Content Delivery Network was one of the original edge use cases, with content cached at the edge to provide an improved subscriber user experience.  However, with the exponential growth of video content being streamed to devices, the scaling of dedicated CDN hardware can become increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain.  With a Virtualized CDN (vCDN), CSPs can deploy capacity at the edge on-demand to meet the needs of peak events while maximizing infrastructure efficiency while minimizing costs.

Private LTE

Enterprise applications such as industrial manufacturing, transportation, and smart city applications have traditionally relied on Wi-Fi and fixed-line services for connectivity and communications.  These applications require a level of resiliency, low-latency and high-speed networks that cannot be met with existing network infrastructure. To deliver a network that can provide the flexibility, security and reliability, CSPs can deploy dedicated mobile networks (Private LTE) at the enterprise to meet the requirements of the enterprise.  Private LTE deployments includes all the data plane and control plane components needed to manage a scaled-out network where mobile sessions do not leave the enterprise premises unless necessary.

VMware Telco Edge Reference Architecture

Fundamentally, VMware Telco Edge is based on the following design principles:

  • Common Platform

VMware provides a flexible deployment architecture based on a common infrastructure platform that is optimized for deployments across the Edge data centers and Core data centers.  With centralized management and a single pane of glass for monitoring network infrastructure across the multiple clouds, CSPs will have consistent networking, operations and management across their cloud infrastructure.

  • Centralized Management

VMware Telco Edge is designed to have a centralized VMware Integrated OpenStack VIM at the core data center while the edge sites do not need to have any OpenStack instances.  With zero OpenStack components present at the Edge sites, CSPs will gain massive improvements in network manageability, upgrades, scale, and operational overhead. This centralized management at the Core data center gives CSPs access to all the Edge sites without having to connect to individual Edge sites to manage their resources.

  • Multi-tenancy and Advanced Networking

Leveraging the existing vCloud NFV design, the Telco Edge can be deployed in a multi-tenant environment with resource guarantees and resource isolation with each tenant having an independent view of their network and capacity and management of their underlying infrastructure and overlay networking. The Edge sites support overlay networking which makes them easier to configure and offers zero trust through NSX multi-segmentation.

  • Superior Performance

VMware NSX managed Virtual Distributed Switch in Enhanced Data Path mode (N-VDS (E)) leverages hardware-based acceleration (SR-IOV/Direct-PT) and DPDK techniques to provide the fastest virtual switching fabric on vSphere. Telco User Plane Functions (UPFs) that require lower latency and higher throughput at the Edge sites can run on hosts configured with N-VDS (E) for enhanced performance.

  • Real-time Integrated Operational Intelligence

The ability to locate, isolate and provide remediation capabilities is critical given the various applications and services that are being deployed at the edge. In a distributed cloud environment, isolating an issue is further complicated given the nature of the deployments.   The Telco Edge framework uses the same operational model as is deployed in the core network and provides the capability to correlate, analyze and enable day 2 operations.  This includes providing continuous visibility over service provisioning, workload migrations, auto-scaling, elastic networking, and network-sliced multitenancy that spans across VNFs, clusters and sites.

  • Efficient VNF onboarding and placement

Once a VNF is onboarded, the tenant admin deploys the VNF to either the core data center or the edge data center depending on the defined policies and workload requirements. VMware Telco Edge offers dynamic workload placement ensuring the VNF has the right number of resources to function efficiently.

  • Validated Hardware platform

VMware and Dell Technologies have partnered to deliver validated solutions that will help CSPs deploy a distributed cloud architecture and accelerate time to innovation.  Learn more about how VMware and Dell Technologies have engineered and created a scalable and agile platform for CSPs.

Learn More

Edge computing will transform how network infrastructure and operations are deployed and provide greater value to customers.  VMware has published a Telco Edge Reference Architecture that will enable CSPs to deploy an edge-cloud service that can support a variety of edge use cases along with flexible business models.

Learn more about VMware Telco and Edge Cloud solutions at  https://telco.vmware.com

Also, check out our latest press release.

Fragmented Assurance Doesn’t Cut it Anymore

Today’s networks are too complex to manage domain by domain. It’s time for a unified view with unified assurance.

Imagine you’re the head of a crack team running video surveillance at a big department store. You have all the latest tools and security systems at your fingertips. Unfortunately, each department has its own separate system. Want to see what’s happening in Housewares? Just open this tool. How about Men’s Clothing? Swivel over to a different screen and open this other tool. Now Women’s Shoes? Swivel yet again—new screen, new tool. And by the way, each system is totally different, using different UIs, terminology and processes. So, if a problem crops up that spans multiple departments, hope you’re not in a big hurry to fix it.

Of course, this is ridiculous—nobody would design a surveillance system in such a fragmented way. It would take forever to investigate problems (not to mention dealing with the constant whiplash caused by all that swiveling). Unfortunately, it’s not that far from how communications service providers (CSPs) monitor and manage their networks today. One system for managing legacy physical devices. Another for virtualized networks. Another for SD-WAN.  Another for NFV.

It’s not that operators set out to make their lives more complicated. It’s just that, as CSP networks have evolved, service assurance hasn’t really kept pace. The result is an increasingly fractured view of the network and the services running on top of it. How does this lack of visibility impact CSPs and their customers? And what kind of capabilities do they need to stay on top of their networks as they are today, instead of a decade ago? Let’s take a closer look.

 

CSP Networks Keep Getting More Complicated

Not long ago, service provider networks were (from the perspective of assurance, at least), fairly uniform. Every IP service was delivered over physical devices that operators could monitor and manage, usually with just a few tools. Today, CSP networks are a complex mix of virtualized network functions (NFV), legacy physical devices, software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) overlays, often provided on a customer-by-customer basis, and more. What customers view as a “service” may now traverse multiple domains and both physical and virtual devices. But within CSP organizations, each area typically has its own set of monitoring tools, with specialized experts supporting them.

As Anil Rao, principal analyst for Analysys Mason notes in Reimagining service assurance for NFV, SDN and 5G, “Existing physical networks will coexist with new NFV networks for the foreseeable future, creating a complex network environment and introducing a new dimension of assurance and operations complexity. New-age automated assurance systems must provide monitoring and operations automation capability for hybrid physical, virtual and cloud native networks and services.”

 

The Costs of Fractured Monitoring

Why is it imperative to gain a more unified view of the network? Because escalating complexity, paired with diminished visibility, leads to a host of negative business outcomes. As Appledore Research details in Rapid Automated Service Assurance in the NFV and SDN Network, running multiple assurance systems in “silos” leads to:

  • High operating costs as networks require more and more specialized tooling and expertise
  • Inability to quickly translate device- or domain-specific alarms into real-world business impact to customers
  • Slow, inefficient workflows to detect, diagnose and repair issues
  • Need to maintain multiple duplicate data sets and models, further increasing costs and complexity
  • Higher license fees for tools and software dedicated to each separate domain

These issues can carry a significant cost. According to some analysts, service providers lose $11,000 for every minute of downtime while they try to piece together what’s happening, where, and which customers it’s affecting. And that doesn’t include the hit CSPs take to customer satisfaction, which can be even more significant. As Analysys Mason analyst Terry van Staden notes, “We know from our related business services research that customer satisfaction has a substantial impact on churn and cross-selling potential. Our data supports the common-sense assumption that satisfied customers are far less likely to churn and more likely to purchase additional services than those that are unsatisfied.”

Addressing this fractured network view is important for current networks. But in the near future,as you roll out 5G services, it will become absolutely essential. 5G places demands on the network unlike anything CSPs have had to contend with before: Exponentially higher traffic density. Up to 77,000% higher throughput. Latency requirements up to 6,000x lower than previous-generation services. In a 5G world, network issues that introduce just a few milliseconds of delays can render critical applications (autonomous vehicles, remote telemedicine, industrial automation) completely unusable.

Anatomy of a Modern Approach to Service Assurance

These are serious issues, but they’re not intractable. To fix them, you need a more holistic way to monitor and manage services across your entire environment—physical, virtual, SD-WAN and more—in one place. A modern approach to service assurance should enable you to:

  • Bridge physical and virtual worlds:  If you’re going to deliver better service experiences and meet more stringent SLAs, future service assurance tools should allow you to monitor and manage services traversing both physical and virtual domains through a single solution. It should provide a unified view centered on your customers and their services—not on the various infrastructure domains.
  • Visualize everything:  In today’s sprawling, dynamic operator networks, just knowing what’s out there is a huge challenge. A next-generation service assurance solution should automatically discover the topology of the entire multivendor network—including the transport, physical, virtual and services layers. It should automatically recognize when something in the network changes and update its relational map, so you’re never working from out-of-date information.
  • Manage all networks through a single pane of glass:  Next-generation assurance solutions should integrate service monitoring and network management end to end. That means correlating devices such as hosts, switches and routers with VMs, NFV, SDN and SD-WAN environments. It’s this correlation that empowers operations teams to identify faults and performance issues quickly. It’s also a necessary prerequisite for systems to respond to issues automatically and remediate the actual service rather than just a portion of the network.
  • Support multi-tenant, multivendor environments:  Just as you don’t want to have to rely on different tools for different network domains, you don’t want to have to use different tools for different customers. Instead, you should be able to monitor and proactively manage multiple customers, even with diverse environments, in one place. Your operations team should be able to visualize, analyze and optimize your environment to accelerate resolution times, assure high availability and meet stringent SLAs.

Fortunately, capabilities like these are no longer science fiction. You don’t have to rely on network monitoring and management tools built for an earlier time. It’s time to step up to holistic, multi-layer service assurance.

To learn how VMware can help, visit us at VMworld 2019 or: VMware Smart Assurance

To learn how Dell EMC can help, visit: Dell EMC Service Provider Solutions

Blog by Karina Dahlke, Telco and Edge Cloud Business Unit, VMware

VMware To Add Uhana to Telecommunications Portfolio, Harnessing the Power of AI for Mobile Networks

Communications Service Provider (CSP) networks are on the cusp of two major shifts: transition to a programmable and virtualized 4G/5G network; and the rise of low latency applications such as cloud gaming, VR/AR and IoT—which are placing stressful demands on the network. To deliver a consistent and great user experience with competitive economics, network service providers need to automate network operations and directly optimize applications to solve this problem urgently. The answer is an AI-driven, scalable network and application experience management system.

VMware is pleased to announce its intent to acquire Uhana, a company that is pioneering the use of deep learning and real-time AI in carrier networks and applications, to automate network operations and optimize application experience. Uhana helps operators reduce the cost of network operations, improve operational efficiency and offer a differentiated application experience in an industry where mobile connectivity is being commoditized.

Uhana’s core technology is a highly-scalable, low-latency, real-time stream processing and AI platform, deployable in the operator’s private cloud or public cloud infrastructure. It includes a high-performance stream processing engine that ingests subscriber-level network telemetry from a variety of data sources: the radio access network, the core network and optionally even the over-the-top (OTT) application directly, and processes the telemetry to provide real-time, per-subscriber visibility. It also includes an AI engine that discovers and predicts anomalies in the network and/or application, prioritizes them by their estimated impact, infers their likely root causes and automatically recommends optimization strategies for the best subscriber experience.

Our intent to acquire Uhana and to add Uhana’s technology to VMware’s Telco Cloud and Edge Cloud portfolio further demonstrate our commitment to serving the telecom industry and deepening intelligence in the journey to 5G. After closing the transaction, Uhana’s technology will also be poised to empower intelligence and analytics for VMware Smart Assurance and VMware Smart Experience products. We look forward to welcoming the team from Uhana to VMware.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements including, among other things, statements regarding VMware’s intention to acquire Uhana; the expected benefits of the acquisition; and the expected complementary nature and strategic advantages of combined offerings and opportunities after close. These forward-looking statements are subject to the safe harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of certain risk factors, including but not limited to: (i) the ability of the parties to satisfy closing conditions to the acquisition on a timely basis or at all; (ii) market conditions, regulatory requirements and other corporate considerations that could affect the timing and closing conditions to the acquisition; (iii) the ability to successfully integrate acquired companies and assets into VMware; (iv) VMware’s customers’ ability to accept emerging technology and to transition to new products and computing strategies; (v) competitive factors, including but not limited to VMware’s ability to compete in new industries, the entry of new competitors into the industries in which VMware competes, and the success of new product and marketing initiatives by VMware and VMware’s competitors; (vi) VMware’s ability to enter into and maintain strategically effective partnerships; (vii) rapid technological changes in the virtualization software and cloud, end user and mobile computing industries; (viii) changes to product and service development timelines; (ix) VMware’s ability to protect its proprietary technology; (x) VMware’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees; (xi) adverse changes in general economic or market conditions; (xii) changes in VMware’s financial condition; and (xiii) VMware’s relationship with Dell Technologies and Dell’s ability to control matters requiring stockholder approval. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this release, are based on current expectations and are subject to uncertainties and changes in condition, significance, value and effect as well as other risks detailed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including VMware’s most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K that we may file from time to time, which could cause actual results to vary from expectations. VMware assumes no obligation to, and does not currently intend to, update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this release.

 

 

VMware partners with Broadband Forum to instantiate 1st European Open Broadband Lab – a multi-vendor Industry Sandbox for innovation and incubation for Cloud based Broadband.

I am excited to see the next wave of innovation VMware is bringing to the table in the Cloud Central Office Project at Broadband Forum (BBF)!  VMware has partnered with Broadband Forum (see press release) in creating the 1st European Open Broadband Lab , at the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) premises in Berlin.

The business advantages of an Open Broadband Lab are manifold:

  • Service Providers can now leverage a vendor-neutral, and multi-vendor-capable Cloud environment.  They can use this enviroment to verify their Broadband Use Cases and verify interoperability across vendor provided and/or Open Source solutions. Furthermore, they can consume the environment ‘-as-a-service’ and can count on its ability to bootstrap various topologies.  This removes the need for staging of interoperability labs.
  • Vendors can demonstrate their value, and their interoperability capabilities with other vendors and/or Open Source in an open, collaborative and neutral manner.
  • The Broadband Forum can use the Open Broadband Lab to verify and influence its Technical Work with the Cloud Central Office Project.
  • The industry as a whole profits from this Industry Sandbox, enabling innovation and incubation for Cloud Broadband.

Cloud Central Office, a foundation for the Open Broadband Lab

The Cloud Central Office’s aim is to define an architecture for a distributed Cloud based Broadband System that leverages Software defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), consumeable  -as-a-Service.

As a short recap of my previous blog, here is how work is progressed at the Cloud Central Office Project at BBF to that effect:

  • Use Cases for a Cloud Central Office are documented through “Application Notes” (AppNotes). These show the needed interactions across the Interfaces between the Functional Elements in the Cloud Central Office Architectural Framework, as a result of an outside actor engaging with the system.
  • The chain of interactions between the Functional Elements define WHAT functionality is needed inside those Functional Elements without needing to know HOW it is achieved. This allows implementations leveraging Open Source and/or Vendor Provided Software.
  • Candidates for Interfaces are documented (both in terms of the protocol, as well as the information flowing over those interfaces). It is assumed that existing Standards or OpenSource Interfaces will be leveraged as much as possible.
  • AppNotes are instantiated and Test Cases are executed to perform a gap analysis is in order to see whether:
    • The candidate Interface is working as expected.
    • Information Models have to be developed for it (e.g. YANG models, etc).
    • Open Source APIs/Interfaces will have to be adapted or perhaps even upstreamed back into the relevant Open Source community.

The First European Open Broadband Lab, enabled by VMware

In order to allow instantiating these  AppNotes in a Vendor-Neutral and Multi-Vendor environment, various ‘Open Broadband Labs’ will be created across the globe.  Open Broadband Labs will also provide an industry sandbox to accelerate multi-vendor innovation and incubation in areas like Cloud Broadband, 5G, network slicing and wireless-wireline convergence, independent of the AppNotes process.

For the European Open Broadband Lab at EANTC in Berlin, VMware has provided the NFVI portion of the TR-384 Architectural Framework by implementing our VMware vCloud NFV– Openstack Edition, see figure 1 below.

Figure 1 : vCloud NFV as basis for the Open Broadband Lab

VMware vCloud NFV is an ETSI-compliant, fully integrated, modular, multi-tenant platform, and by providing an OpenStack Virtual Infrastructure Manager, we are providing an Open Interface towards 3rdparty Virtual Network Function Managers (VNFM) and Network Function Virtualization Orchestrators (NFVO), including Open Source MANO (OSM) and Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).  vCloud NFV includes NSXvSpherevSAN, and a range of vRealize Suite products to allow Day 2 Operations such as vRealize Log InsightvRealize Operations, and vRealize Network Insight.

Consumption of the Open Broadband Lab

The Lab, as seen in Figure 2 below, will provide internal Active Directory, DNS and NTP services for internal components, as well as firewalled external access to a set of components such as:

  • A Jumpbox, to allow ingesting software and other artifacts, to upgrade the lab, or install new software components.
  • A Terminal Server, to allow access to the management components of the Lab, for remote management
  • API access to the Services built on top of the Lab.
  • remote access is achieved through VPN and the Domain API is accessible for remote on-boarding of new services.

Figure 2 : Remote Access into the Open Broadband Lab

We are very exited to be helping Broadband Forum in their efforts of making the next generation Broadband Architecture a reality! Furthermore, this shows that VMware is serious about Next Generation Telco Infrastructure by providing this ‘Industry Sandbox!

For more information, or to be part of the Open Broadband Lab, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

An Update on the work in Broadband Forum’s Cloud Central Office Project (and why it is important to VMware).

Back in 2016 VMware joined the Broadband Forum (BBF), a consortium of Telecommunication Service Providers, System Integrators and Technology Vendors, as the first Software Vendor. The BBF, amongst other things, develops best practices for the ‘Cloud Central Office’ (CloudCO), a next generating Central Office deployment. CloudCO makes innovative use of the following attributes:

  • A Cloud ‘Anything-as-as-service’ (Xaas) consumption interface,
  • Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and
  • Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Ultra-Fast access (and when formally defined 5G).

The aim is to deliver ultra-fast broadband services with distributed compute and storage to anywhere and any device in home or business locations.  I have been personally very active at the Broadband Forum as the Cloud Central Office Project Stream Leader, setting out the direction and leading the work.  For some history on the Cloud CO project, check my previous blog post here.

The Cloud Central Office Project Stream has accomplished quite a lot already:

  • Defined the Cloud Central Office Reference Architectural Framework in TR-384.
  • Delivered Applicability Scenarios and suggested legacy Use Cases that had to be supported on a Cloud Central Office based architecture, in TR-416.

Work is progressing on Interface Descriptions (WT-411), a catalogue of Test Cases (WT-412) to verify and/or augment these interfaces.  Other work includes co-existence with, and migration from legacy Broadband Architectures (WT-408), amongst other things. Check out my update videos on the BBF website where I elaborate on the progress made to date!

What is the Cloud Central Office?

A TR-384 based architecture aims to disaggregate a lot of the functionality that used to live in monolithic devices such as Broadband Network Gateways (BNG) and other devices.  These devices will be de-composed into various Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), and onboarded onto a Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI).  Access Devices will also leverage  disaggregation in order to move the control and management plane functions to the NFVI, while using SDN to send traffic to the NFVI hosted VNFs.  The NFVI will be implemented on a Software Defined Data Center inside the Central Office i.e. leveraging commodity switches and x86-based servers, such as the one depicted in Figure 1 . IETF NVO3-style Overlays are leveraged for connectivity and security across the NFVI.

(Note, our VMware vCloud NFV is an example of such an NFVI and NSX is our NVO3 compatible solution).

Figure 1: Cloud Central Office Physical Topology

SDN techniques steers Broadband Traffic received from the user at Access I/O devices to the VNFs inside the NFVI.  The Access I/O Control Plane and Management Plane moves off-box by leveraging SDN as well.  After going through the various Network Functions inside the NFVI, traffic travels to the Network I/O devices towards its destination.

The Cloud Central Office Architectural Framework

Although TR-384 is based on the philosophy of certain Open Source projects, it is not ‘yet-another-open-source’ project.  TR-384 defines ‘black boxes’ of functionality inside Functional Modules, with Interfaces describing how these Functional Modules interoperate. In other words, it defines WHAT the functional modules do, but not HOW  to achieve the functionality.  Open and common Interface descriptions achieves interoperability between those functional modules, regardless whether implementing leveraging Open Source software, or Vendor Provider Software.   TR-384’s architectural framework, shown in  Figure 2 below,is compliant with ETSI’s NFV Reference Model.  It adds a couple of extra SDN related components, to allow interworking between Physical Network Functions (such as Access-facing, and Network-facing functions, amongst others), and the VNFs running inside the Cloud Central Office NFVI.

Figure 2 : Cloud Central Office Architectural Framework

Application Notes

The exact nature and definitions of those Interfaces is still a work in progress and will be documented in WT-411.  WT-411 will re-use interfaces available in the industry (Open Standards, or Open Source) as much as possible, and where functionality is missing, it will generate requirements for Standard definitions, or requirements for upstreaming new functionality in Open Source projects, where applicable.  The way that these eventual new requirements will come to light is by using an Agile Methodology through the use of Application Notes, or AppNotes (for a set of publicly available AppNotes, see here).  AppNotes will also become a way for Communication Service Providers to define new and innovative services , using the TR-384 Architectural Framework.

AppNotes are a set of interactions between Cloud Central Office Functional Modules, typically starting with a given actor initiating an interaction at the Cloud Central Office Domain Level Northbound API, or an actor initiating a data plane flow.  The set of Interactions lead to requirements for the Interfaces.  In order to generate those requirements, the AppNote is instantiated running on a real-life Cloud Central Office architecture (see my Open Broadband Lab post here) and will be tested against a set of Test Cases, which will be defined in another set of work i.e. WT-412.   This might result in new requirements for Open Interface and/or Upstreaming into existing Open Source Projects.  Figure 3 shows the relationship between AppNotes, Interface work (WT-411) and Testing efforts (WT-412).

Figure 3 : AppNotes and how they relate to other work.

Why is this work important for VMware?

Our VMware vCloud NFV solution, leveraging VMware NSX, aims to be an NFVI that is truly vendor independent, both from an Underlay, as well as from an VNF perspective. It is our believe that Open standards and open interfaces, combined with a vendor-independent NFV infrastructure, are essential for operators looking for a cost-effective and smooth migration to next-generation architectures.  Broadband Forum’s AppNote approach aims to define Open Interface specifications, while guaranteeing multi-vendor interoperability, and that is why we are very exited about helping out the industry with this work.

I hope this update has been useful and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have remarks or questions!

VMware Launches its Digital Telco Badge for vCloud NFV at Mobile World Congress 2019

Gain NFV Knowledge

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a critical building block for 5G networks. VMware’s vCloud NFV solution is already a cornerstone of telco virtualization and has been deployed by more than 70 CSPs globally supporting a wide variety of use cases, supporting hundreds of VNFs in production and more than 600+ million mobile subscribers. To support our global customers and accelerate their success as they transform to digital providers of 5G, Edge and IOT services, we are proud to announce the immediate availability of the VMware PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR badge.

The VMware PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR badge proves that customers understand the concept of virtualization, what VMware solutions can do, and what that means to the telco industry. It further demonstrates that customers understand how VMware vCloud NFV with vCloud Director specifically can accelerate time to revenue, automate service lifecycle and simplify operations management – all while reducing network infrastructure costs.

The VMware PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR is delivered in part, through modern learning programs that foster professional development and acknowledge accomplishments. VMware’s digital badges recognize knowledge, skills, and competency through secure, verifiable digital credentials. Holders of the VMware badge can use it on their business card, LinkedIn profile, or any other digital media.

Skills demonstrated by the PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR badge holder include:

Earning Criteria

Communication service providers can receive 15% off the VMware vCloud NFV with vCloud Director course by sending an email to nfv@vmware.com by April 15, 2019.

Visit the VMware booth at Mobile World Congress in Hall 3 Stand 3M11.

Delivering applications and services for a multi-cloud and 5G network with VMware vCloud NFV 3.0

Changing CSP Network Requirements

NFV objectives have evolved quite significantly from the initial need for CSPs to virtualize the infrastructure to being able to scale with technology, products, and services into new and adjacent markets.  There is acute focus on operational transformation with CSPs driving continuous innovation and rapid service deployment for 5G and IoT use cases.  Applications, services, and greater network intelligence is being deployed at the network edge to deliver higher QoE and security.

A key enabler of this transformation is the Telco Cloud – an operating model that leverages programmable networks, with NFV and SDN being key enablers.  With the ability to run a multitude of network functions on off-the-shelf servers, CSPs can provision and scale services faster and substantially reduce costs.

With its vision of delivering any application on any device on any cloud, VMware has extended its technology to cross every infrastructure boundary there is, from the data center into public and telco clouds, and the network edge supporting edge clouds and IoT devices.

VMware vCloud NFV – A platform for Multi-Cloud

At Mobile World Congress 2019, VMware has taken another step in the expansion of its vCloud NFV offerings, with the announcement of VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 vCloud Director Edition.

With support for VMware vCloud Director 9.5, the new release features key enhancements in NFV performance, secure multi-tenancy, networking, and multi-site operations, enabling Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to quickly scale and grow revenues while reducing cost and complexity.

VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 vCloud Director Edition

Enhancements in VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 help CSPs realize the true potential of distributed multi-cloud services through accelerated time to revenue leveraging NFV automation and service onboarding, lower infrastructure costs while delivering greater performance, and optimized operations for increased network efficiency and reduced operational costs.

Key capabilities provided with the VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 vCloud Director Edition include:

  • Secure Multi-tenancy and Enhanced RBAC – VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 includes support for vCloud Director 9.5 that implements a redesigned multi-tenant Role Based Access Controls (RBAC) model. The model allows CSP administrators to create Global Tenant Roles assigned to tenant users enabling self-service management without the need of service provider involvement. CSP administrators can also create rights bundles that correspond to tiers of service, separately monetizable functionality, or any other arbitrary rights grouping and make them available to various organizations.
  • Deterministic NFV Performance – VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 includes support for VMware NSX-T Data Center, which adds Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) based techniques to deliver accelerated data plane network performance with the new NSX Managed Virtual Distributed Switch (N-VDS) in Enhanced Data Path mode. Efficient separation of data plane functions from control and management plane functions enables CUPS based architectures while automated NUMA alignment, multi-tiered routing, bare-metal edges, and HugePages support enable increased workload performance while preserving the benefits of key vSphere functionalities like HA, vMotion, and DRS.
  • Efficient Multi-site Deployment – VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 enables CSPs to achieve the scale and manageability required to efficiently deploy and operate distributed multi-cloud deployments. It facilitates efficient cloud services management with the flexibility to deploy centralized VIM for a common management plane across sites or a distributed architecture with federated management. Decoupling NSX-T Data Center functionality from vCenter server enables cloud-scale performance using a distributed control plane architecture, while the separation of data plane workloads from control plane and management plane workloads enables CUPS-based scalable architectures.
  • Advanced Networking – VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 supports a range of new carrier-oriented networking capabilities through dual stack support for NSX-V and NSX-T. The vCloud NFV platform delivers increased network resiliency through fast link failure detection, ERSPAN port mirroring, and support for a broad category of workloads including container-based workloads, multi-cloud workloads, and PaaS platforms.
  • Intent-Based Service Assurance – VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 with support through vRealize Operations 7.0, vRealize Log Insight 4.7, and vRealize Network Insight 3.9, delivers a new paradigm in NFV operations with intent-based assurance that allows CSPs to define operational and business intent for the network and continuously verify performance against the defined intent through Day 0, Day 1 and Day 2 operations.

Evolution of Networking in vCloud NFV

Also announced this year at MWC 2019 is the release of VMware NSX Data Center 2.4.  CSPs need for highly scalable networks that are truly reliable is at an all-time high.

NSX-T Data Center is a core component of vCloud NFV providing the networking overlay support across the complete NFVI and supporting multiple telco-oriented use cases. New networking features now available in NSX Data Center are:

  • IPv6 Support: As business around the world ramp up IPv6 deployments, support for IPv6 in NSX-T meets a critical requirement of telco networks.
  • Scalability: NSX-T 2.4 can scale to hundreds of thousands of routes, over a thousand hosts per NSX domain, and enables high-scale multi-tenancy. 
  • High Availability: NSX-T 2.4 supports clustering with NSX managers, enabling a highly available management plane for GUI and API, reducing the likelihood of NSX operational failures.
  • Service Function Chaining: NSX-T 2.4 introduces the ability to perform Service Insertion and Service Function Chaining, through the IETF SFC framework and NSH, enabling CSPs to rapidly onboard, automate, and launch new services to meet dynamic subscriber demands
  • Container Networking and Cloud Native architectures: VMware is enhancing support for containers with enhanced visibility into all container and PaaS clusters that are supported by a NSX deployment, as well as visibility into all containerized applications supported by a NSX deployment.

VMware Ready for NFV

The VMware Ready for NFV program is a certification program that recognizes VNF partners that have made commitments to the vCloud NFV platform.  VMware Ready for NFV certified partners have completed a range of operability and interworking assessments in a dedicated accreditation facility and have access to VMware product roadmaps and solution development strategies in order to ensure their solutions continue to maximize the potential of the underlying vCloud NFV platform.  CSPs can look to the VMware Ready for NFV certification program as proof of close VNF integration with the vCloud NFV platform.

VMware continues to increase the number of partners that have been certified within the VMware Ready for NFV program. At MWC 2019, we have announced certification of more than 105 Virtual Network Functions from 85 vendors worldwide.  VMware’s broad ecosystem of certified partners creates a true marketplace that helps CSPs remove barriers to successful NFV implementations.

Additional Resources

To learn more about VMware’s vCloud NFV Platform

Introducing VMware Service Assurance: Real-time network intelligence for your network

Planning for 5G

Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are in the midst of a network transformation as they plan their evolution from 4G to 5G networks.  As CSPs plan their network rollout and the delivery of new 5G services, ensuring reliability, availability, and quality of service (QoS) in their networks is paramount to their success. Service Assurance plays a key role in delivering the foundations of a highly available network with the ability to provide greater insights and analytics along with real-time automation and optimization.

At Mobile World Congress 2019, VMware announced the continuing momentum of delivering key strategic network initiatives with the latest release of VMware Smart Assurance v10.0 and VMware Smart Experience.

VMware extends it operations management portfolio with VMware Smart Assurance and VMware Smart Experience solutions. Six key characteristics are seen necessary for an effective design strategy:

  1. Advanced analytics and automation, fueled by machine learning for proactive avoidance
  2. Distribution, graph based topologies with hierarchical analytics
  3. Real-Time intelligence, for dynamic optimizations and avoidance
  4. Intent-Driven, moving away from static rules to dynamic policies and operational intent
  5. Extensible solution, to cater to declarative constructs
  6. Open solution, that is model driven and offers ease of integration

Key Use Cases Addressed by Smart Assurance and Smart Experience

VMware Smart Assurance and VMware Smart Experience deliver real-time intelligence in a hybrid physical cloud environment spanning transport, network, infrastructure, and services. Operational intelligence ranges in granularity from fault and performance monitoring to individual subscriber experience management.

Key capabilities in VMware Smart Assurance to look for include:

  • Dynamic Topology Discovery: automated VNF and network discovery using VMware Integrated Openstack multi-tenancy and standardized blueprints including TOSCA and HEAT correlating and isolating faults and performance issues across physical (transport, IP core, MPLS) and virtualized layers
  • NFV Assurance: VMware Smart Assurance v10 includes integration with VMware vCloud NFV with support for virtual compute (vSphere), virtual networking (NSX-T), both Virtual Infrastructure Managers – VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) and vCloud Director (vCD). Smart Assurance 10 enables VMware vRealize Operations to perform multi-tenant cross-domain performance monitoring and isolate faults and degradation across physical, virtualized, and service layers
  • Assurance for Virtual IMS Deployments: VMware Smart Assurance v10 extends a new common information model for vIMS, correlated across several layers such as VNF components, VIM Tenancy, Cloud Infrastructure, and Physical Network, providing effective Performance Monitoring, Root Cause Analysis and Issue Isolation
  • SD-WAN Assurance: VMware Smart Assurance v10 supports SD-WAN enterprise services and is fully integrated with VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud for fault management. It provides discovery of branches, gateways and networks along with providing issue isolation and impact assessment of sites, gateways, and networking. VMware Smart Assurance’s multi-vendor SD-WAN monitoring strategy already in place for Viptela and Versa Networks.
  • Performance Management & Analytics through integration with vRealize Operations: the integration extends vRealize Operations virtual operations management with a single pane of glass visibility across service, virtual and physical domains and includes powerful features such as capacity planning, performance monitoring, cost analysis, and compliance monitoring. The integration with Smart Assurance auto discovers and collects performance statistics from telco services (SD-WAN, vIMS) and physical networks (router, switch, interface, port), enabling vRealize Operations to provide correlated health visibility across VNFs, virtual machines, hosts, logical networks, and physical networks, including Machine Learning with dynamic thresholding and behavioral alerting.

VMware Smart Experience is a streaming analytics solution that delivers real-time actionable insights, at a subscriber level, for mobile access and core network management and optimization. Valuable capabilities and use cases include:

  • Network Planning and Real Time Operations: understand the demand and capacities of cell/sectors, gateways, regions, and data centers.
  • Customer Experience Management: understand the quality of services and effective customer experience over the 2G/3G/4G mobile networks and proactively optimize VIP customers.
  • Fraud Detection: identify various SIM swap and device swap use case scenarios and avoid revenue leakage for voice and data.
  • Location-aware marketing: enable up-sell and cross-sell opportunities to customers with location based subscriber profiling and service consumption.
  • QoS analytics: measure and analyze data and voice QoS with precise granularity – per subscriber, per application, per cell site – in real-time
  • Application and Device profiling: understand the consumption of various applications such as multimedia, browsing, social, etc. dimensioned by devices for targeted cellular network planning, QoS management, and network tuning.

 

The VMware Smart Assurance platform also delivers a new modular architecture featuring:

  • New Data Collector Framework (DCF): enabling a variety of new data sources integration, additional scalability and distribution using Kafka publish/subscribe
  • New Platform Architecture: based on Kafka messaging bus allowing more scalability, application decoupling and sharing of data
  • KPI Engine: declarative component for KPI definition and calculations using multiple streams and expressions
  • Enhanced persistency of events: active and historical events can now be easily analyzed using ElasticSearch simple and sophisticated querying mechanism
  • Enhanced UI/UX: new notification screens based on VMware Clarity framework

VMware solutions are poised to address the key characteristics of an effective service assurance solution which can be enabled in 5G distributed cloud environment composed of hybrid physical and virtual transformations. A real-time dynamic discovery engine embodies the complex multi-directed correlations providing the foundational constructs to enable effective fault and performance management decision trees. Intelligence engines with signature and machine learnt algorithmic approaches, achieve the real-time proactive optimization cadence necessary for autonomous assurance in transport, physical, virtual, and service domains.

Ericsson and VMware forge Alliance to simplify network virtualization

As communication service providers ramp their investments in 5G, they must respond to increasing customer demands for network performance while containing costs and maximizing value. Market leaders like Ericsson and VMware are helping them achieve these goals.

Heading into Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, Ericsson and VMware are announcing a new, 5-year alliance agreement aimed at strengthening their longstanding partnership and delivering class-leading experience for communication service provider customers deploying and running a combination of Ericsson applications and VMware’s vCloud NFV platform.

Long Standing Partnership

This new agreement builds on the long-standing partnership between VMware and Ericsson that dates back to 2012.  Working in production, Ericsson has deployed over 300+ VNFs across 50+ unique CSPs running on VMware’s vCloud NFV platform – and we expect to see an increase in demand for our joint solutions continue.

It includes interoperability testing across Ericsson’s portfolio of Virtual Network Functions, Billing and Charging solutions, Automation and Orchestration, with VMware’s vCloud NFV platform to ensure speedy on-boarding and deployment, as well as increasing efficiencies in network operations. Our two companies want to simplify the deployment process for CSPs so they can maximize revenue and be ready for the increasing demands that will be placed on the network with the emergence of 5G and IoT driven use cases.

Ericsson does not stop at VNF certification, however.  With this new 5-year Alliance agreement, we will engage in technical collaborations e.g. in the Cloud Core and Cloud Communication domain, to jointly help secure optimized performance and platform utilization for high volume workloads. All to ensure that CSPs will get a thoroughly tested, interoperable and system verified solutions when they choose to deploy Ericsson VNFs on VMware vCloud NFV.

Beyond network functions virtualization, the Ericsson and VMware partnership will enable deeper technical collaborations, including management and orchestration interoperability with OSS and BSS solutions and exploration of future cloud native solutions and overall automation across the network.

Mobile World Congress

If you are planning to be at Mobile World Congress, we would love to connect and discuss how to help you accelerate your business. Please visit Ericsson in Hall 2 Stand 2060 and VMware in Hall 3 Stand 3M11.

Read the press release here.