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VMware’s Telco Cloud Solutions Receive Industry Recognition

Thank You – Thank You Very Much

VMware has been a leading provider to Enterprises for the last 21 years, but in Telco we are a relative newcomer, so getting recognized by our peers, doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

This month our VMware vCloud NFV Open Stack platform was recognized for innovation and excellence by the World Communications Organization #WCA19. For 21 years, the World Communication Awards have recognized innovation and excellence for global telecoms, and today continue to be the most revered mark of achievement in the telecom industry. The market has changed considerably since the first awards in 1999 and the relationship between operators and vendors has been and continues to be redrawn. To reflect this, the categories presented are changed every year and now reflect the latest trends of #5G, #AI, #digitaltransformation, #NFV and #IoT as well as the traditional awards such as global and wholesale operator.

While we appreciate the accolades, our focus for our Telco customers is paramount. We want them to succeed in their digital transformations, and to become formidable participants in the new cloud economy that will be enabled with 5G.

World Communications Award 2019

Category: THE NFV INNOVATION AWARD

Winner: VMware vCloud NFV for OpenStack

  • Huawei Fully Converged Cloud Core Network for 5G
  • Parallel Wireless Virtual 5G Native Architecture
  • Red Hat Technology for NFV
  • Saudi Telecom Company STC Telco Cloud
  • ZTE Corporation ZTE NFVI SDN Solution

“With this solution, VMware delivers breakthrough improvements in network performance, carrier-grade networking capabilities, and intent-based service assurance to improve the total economics of software-defined, open standards-based 5G and multi-cloud networks.”

Winner! Digital Transformation Asia 2019: Best New Catalyst in Show

In addition, we’re proud to share that in participation with ecosystem partners: Ericsson, Infosys, Intel, and HPE and operator champions: Airtel, AIS, Globe Telecom, KDDI Research, Optus, Singtel, Telkomsel our joint catalyst project “Being Edgy” won “Best new Catalyst in show” at TM Forum’s Digital Transformation Asia 2019.

5G will be the gold mine for enterprise business units of telcos. The ability of dynamic network slicing with zero-touch orchestration is touted to be a critical success factor for 5G. However, this is just solving half of the puzzle. Edge cloud management is the other missing piece. Edge use cases have varying characteristics and thus require various edge implementations in order to be efficient and cost-effective. Being able to scale beyond public, private, and hybrid clouds extending automated lifecycle management to the edge is of great importance.

There is currently no standardization in this space and many open source projects have tried to address the requirements in this space. This Catalyst, which leveraged vCloud NFV Open Stack as a common platform, explored the maturity of the solutions in the market for edge cloud management and how they could be wired up consistently with the automation and orchestrating happening close to the core sites.

 

Link

VMware Integrated OpenStack 6.0: What’s New

 

 

 

VMware recently announced VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO) 6.0. We are truly excited about our latest OpenStack distribution as this release enables customers to take advantage of advancements in the upstream Stein release including support for Cinder generic volume groups, improved admin panels, and security improvements throughout the stack.

For our Telco customers, VIO 6.0 delivers scale and availability for hybrid applications across VM and container-based workloads using a single VIM (Virtual Infrastructure Manager). VIO 6.0 is built with a Kubernetes-managed high availability control plane built on top of VMware SDDC, providing resilience in addition to availability. Upgrades from VIO 5.1 to VIO 6.0 is seamless with zero data plane downtime. We are super excited to bring these features in VIO 6.0!

 

VIO 6.0 Feature Details:

Advanced Kubernetes Support:

Kubernetes-powered OpenStack control plane: VIO 6.0 is now intent based running on top of a dedicated Kubernetes cluster. The intent-based design allows the VIO control plane to self-heal from failures. Since OpenStack services are now deployed as pods in Kubernetes, the new intent-based control plane also allows VIO components to be horizontally scaled up or down seamlessly and independently of one another. The new control plane architecture achieves a lower out-of-the-box footprint while allowing cloud admins to easily expand capacity.

Tenant-facing Kubernetes: In addition to providing a Kubernetes managed control plane, VIO provides tenant facing clusters powered by Essential PKS. A reference implementation using Heat is available for download from github. The Heat stack is intended to accelerate Essential PKS on VIO. The Heat stacks are open source software and provide support for either native integration with NSX-T using NCP (NSX Container Plugin) or Calico (v3.7) networking.

Feature Enhancements:

Cinder:

  • New multi-attach feature allows a volume to be attached to multiple instances at once
  • vSphere First Class Disk (FCD) support:
    • FCD does away with the need for shadow VM’s to house unattached Cinder volumes
    • Faster than VMDK driver for most operations
    • Compliments the existing VMDK driver: FCD can be enabled as an optional secondary backend
    • Users can create traditional VMDK or FCD volumes using volume types

IPv4 / IPv6 and Dual Stack Support:

  • Dual stack IPv4/IPv6 for Nova instances, Neutron security groups & routers
  • Support IPv6 with NSX-T 2.5 and NSX-P Neutron plugin
  • IPv6 addressing modes: static, SLAAC
  • Static IPv6 routing on Neutron routers
  • IPv6 support for FWaaS

Keystone:

  • Federation support using JSON Web Tokens (JWT)

OpenStack at Scale:

VIO 6.0 features seamlessly scaling OpenStack services to meet changes in demand and load. VIO 6 supports horizontally scaling the controllers as well as the pods that are run in those controllers. An out of the box compact deployment uses only one controller and an out of the box HA deployment uses three controllers, but users can scale up to a maximum of 10 controllers with a few clicks or CLI commands. This provides increased flexibility for cloud admins to right-size their deployments according to their needs. The ability to scale controller nodes provides for simple expansion of capacity for higher-load environments. VIO 6.0 supports scale out of individual OpenStack services by increasing pod replica counts. OpenStack services can be scaled out with just few clicks from the UI or a command from CLI without affecting other services or causing data plane downtime.

Essential PKS on OpenStack:

  • Provides a hybrid VM and container platform that combines best of breed components.
  • OpenStack and Kubernetes APIs for workloads, cluster and resource lifecycle management
  • Ability to deploy Essential PKS with OpenStack Heat for a native OpenStack experience and repeatable cluster creation
  • OpenStack multi-tenancy for more secure separation of container workloads
  • VMware Certified Kubernetes distribution, support and reference architecture with Essential PKS

Enhanced Management Tools:

  • viocli rewritten in Golang, new enhancements added
  • Bash completion and CLI shortcuts added to Life Cycle Manager
  • HTML5 WebUI:
    • No dependency on vCenter Web Plugin
    • Native Clarity theme provides a congruent user experience for VMware admins

Photon 3:

  • VIO control plane VM’s now use VMware Photon OS 3, a lightweight, secure, container-optimized Linux distribution backed by VMware
  • Containers are also built on Photon OS 3 base images

Industry-standard API’s:

  • Proprietary OMS API’s replaced with standard Kubernetes API’s and extensions
  • Many parts of VIO can optionally be managed with kubectl commands in addition to viocli
  • Cluster API responsible for additional VM bringup/management

 

Automated VIO Backups: Cloud administrators can schedule backups of the VIO control plane to a vSphere Content Library

Lifecycle Management: VIO provides lifecycle management for OpenStack components including deployment, patching, upgrade (with NO data plane downtime) and rich day-2 operations via Kubernetes deployment rollouts.

Versioning:  VIO 6.0 comes with built-in versioning of configuration and config version control for control plane configuration changes.

Clarity Theme:  VIO 6.0 Horizon now ships with a Clarity theme. The VIO 6.0 life cycle manager web interface also uses Clarity to familiar look and feel for vSphere administrators.

OpenStack Helm:  VIO 6.0 uses OpenStack-Helm for deploying OpenStack components. OpenStack-Helm is an OpenStack community project that provides deployment tooling for OpenStack based on the Helm package manager, which is a CNCF project.

OpenStack-Helm provides benefits such as:

  • Better management of loosely coupled OpenStack services
  • Better service dependencies handling
  •  Declarative and easy to operate
  • Enhanced rolling update workflow and rollback

Monitoring:

Assurance & Intelligent Operations:
Service impact and root-cause analysis with Smart Assurance
Operational Monitoring and Intelligence with vROps OpenStack Dashboards and Container monitoring
vRealize Log Insight integration to get insight into the OpenStack day to day operations.
Visibility across physical and virtual OpenStack networks
Automated approach to operational intelligence to reduce service impact and OpEx

VIO 6.0 Demos:
Below are a list of videos that provides a step by step walkthrough of deployment, upgrade, 360 degree visibility and Deployment of VMware Essential PKS on top of VIO 6.0.

1. VMware Integrated OpenStack Deployment: This demo video shows the step by step deployment of Virtual Appliance on your vCenter Server instance and deployment of OpenStack by using the Integrated OpenStack.

2. VMware Integrated OpenStack Upgrade 5.1 to 6.0: Upgrading VIO 5.1 deployment to VIO 6.0 allows you to take advantage of new features and functions, plus it also ensures you zero downtime.

3. VMware Essential PKS on top of VMware Integrated OpenStack 6.0: VIO provides pre-built open-source Heat stacks to help deploy Essential PKS on top of VIO for individual tenants of the cloud. Using the Heat orchestration engine simplifies and speeds up the deployment of Kubernetes as well as managing the lifecycle of Kubernetes (e.g. scaling out, tearing down clusters, etc), and does so using an orchestrator that OpenStack users will already be familiar with. This demo video shows step by step process to deploy Essential PKS on top of VIO.

 

4. 360 Degree Visibility: This demo video shows the integration of VIO 6.0 with vRealize Operations Manager and vRealize Log Insight. vRealize Operations provides a comprehensive dashboard for monitoring the Health, Risk, and Efficiency of your entire SDDC infrastructure. vRealize Operations OpenStack Management Pack offers OpenStack the ability to monitor and troubleshoot VMware Integrated OpenStack or other OpenStack distributions. vRealize Log Insight extends analytics capabilities to unstructured data and log management, giving you operational intelligence and deep enterprise-wide visibility across all tiers of your IT infrastructure and applications.

VMware Customers back formation of a VMware User Group (VMUG) for Telco Cloud

At a special invitation-only user forum held on November 5th alongside VMworld Europe 2019, over 20 representatives from 10 Communication Service Provider (CSP) customers began the process of building the first VMware User Group (VMUG) community specifically focused on supporting telecom infrastructure projects for NFV and Telco Cloud.

VMUG, an independent and customer-led organisation, helps customers connect, collaborate, and network with fellow VMware users through a combination of ‘UserCons’ (delivered around the world), virtual events and webcasts. By launching a community within VMUG specifically focussed on the Telcom Infrastructure use-case, VMware aims to create a self-serve collaborative environment for CSPs to advance their ambitions to become cloud-first service providers.

The Event

The half-day event, held at the Renaissance Fira Hotel, was opened by Honore’ LaBourdette, VP GTM Telco Edge Cloud (TEC), who set the scene and the objectives for the day, which included actionable outcomes to take the community forward. Immediately following, Gabriele Di Piazza, VP Solutions TEC  provided  a deeper dive into the ‘telco’ announcements made during Pat Gelsinger’s general session at VMworld Europe earlier in the day; including the technology preview of Project Maestro. Project Maestro is a telco cloud orchestration solution that will accelerate the time-to-market of modern network functions and services while igniting operational agility through simplified automation, across any network and any cloud. You can read more in Gabriele’s blog.

“One of the highlights for me at VMworld Europe was the Telco and Edge Cloud User Forum.  It was great seeing CSP industry peers discussing the disruptive changes they are facing and how they are embracing the changes. Events like this forum allow CSPs to deliver what the customer is asking for today and what they will be asking for in the future.” Brad Tompkins. VMUG Executive Director.

Discussions then centred on the status of existing NFV deployments, which serve as a the foundation for Telco Clouds and how, as a community, we could generate greater success for our members. Experience in the room ranged from well-established multi-country, multi-vendor Telco Clouds to early phase NFV deployments. Key topics included operational transformation, automation and orchestration. There was also discussion on deployment strategies and the need to better specify requirements to VNF vendors to ensure operational success.

Going forward

It was agreed that the new community should meet through a combination of online and face-to-face activities and on a quarterly basis. Meeting agendas and topics will be driven by the community and supported by VMware. As a next step, a number of customers volunteered to act as advisors to shape the formalised VMUG group and the focus of the next event.

Get Involved!

If you are a VMware telecom infrastructure customer deploying NFV and Telco Cloud, and would like to be kept informed on the progress of this new user group, please contact memberservices@vmug.com.

About VMUG: Officially launched in August of 2010, the VMware User Group (VMUG) is an independent, global, customer-led organization, created to maximize members’ use of VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events.

Introducing Project Maestro

A Telco Cloud Orchestrator That Will Help CSPs Accelerate Multi-Cloud Operational Agility

Introducing Project Maestro: the new VMware telco cloud orchestrator

Today at VMworld Barcelona, VMware announced as a technology preview its new solution for telco cloud orchestration and automation: Project Maestro. This announcement heralds a critical milestone in VMware’s ongoing advancements in supporting the CSPs telco cloud transformation journey. This new purpose-built solution complements our growing Telco Cloud portfolio, providing capabilities that streamline network service orchestration and automation for any 4G and 5G networks.

A new addition to a fast-growing suite of telco cloud products and solutions

 

The transformation of CSP networks from physical infrastructure to cloud networks is driven by the promise of enhanced service experience, network resiliency, operational agility, and optimized capital expenditure. This shift is a radical departure from the traditional siloed single-purpose HW appliances model. CSPs now have to design and operate their services across a web of data centers bridging physical and virtual ecosystems while enabling interoperability across competing vendors. Considering the intensive tasks CSPs are challenged with today, including the coordination of VNFs,  combined with the design and management of services;  we believe that an automated approach that abstracts the complexity of a multi-cloud network will significantly simplify the on-boarding of network functions and services while delivering operational agility that will be critical to achieving network efficiencies.

In recent years, the market has responded poorly to CSPs’ needs of orchestration and automation by providing monolithic or integration-intensive solutions that underutilize the cloud infrastructure. Leveraging our unique cloud expertise, we’ve developed Project Maestro as a cloud-first software solution to accelerate the time-to-market of network functions and services while igniting operational agility through lifecycle management automation across any network and any cloud.

 

Telco Cloud Orchestration with Project Maestro

 

Project Maestro will allow communications service providers to: 

Orchestrate and automate with multi-cloud agility

Project Maestro will embed the concept of multi-cloud operational agility to simplify the design, onboarding, and management of both network functions and services seamlessly across data centers and tenants of the telco cloud. More specifically Project Maestro will offer:

  • Template-based design and simplified onboarding through an easy-to-use GUI
  • Network function and service integrated lifecycle management automation
  • Enhanced service experience with 360-degree telco cloud awareness for closed-loop issue remediation and optimized placement across clouds (core and edge)
  • Supercharge service quality with real-time AI-driven workflows between orchestration and VMware Smart assurance

Streamline the orchestration journey

Project Maestro will streamline the CSP orchestration journey with native integration into VMware vCloud NFV and other VMware cloud technologies to ease deployment, bring operational consistency, limit costs, and maximize infrastructure resources utilization. Project Maestro will also offer multi-cloud placements and ease workload mobility at the core to edge and from private to public clouds:

  • Cloud-first orchestration approach that automatically manages and abstracts the complexity of the underlying multi-cloud infrastructure
  • Native integration with VMware infrastructure (e.g., vCloud NFV) and management technologies (e.g., vCD, VIO, Tanzu, vROPS, VRO, etc.) enabling customers to maximize their VMware investments and to bolster their innovation cycle
  • Seamless management of VM and container-based infrastructures for a future-proof service-delivery foundation (VNF/CNF)
  • Hybrid and multi-cloud placements allowing workload mobility across data centers and tenants

Support a thriving and open multi-vendor Telco Cloud ecosystem

Despite the industry’s request for standardization, many vendors implicitly restrict orchestration within their ecosystem. Project Maestro is designed based on the latest MANO guidelines. It will provide integrated G-VNFM and NFVO capabilities to be used as combined or standalone modules interfacing any SOL-compliant components of the MANO framework (OSS, BSS, EMS/VNFM, VIM, etc.). Project Maestro’s VNF designer tool, coupled with the VMware Ready for NFV program will bolster innovation and interoperability by facilitating access to new infrastructure capabilities and supporting VNF certification for ensured operation and management across vendors.

VMware is a founding member of Open Source MANO (OSM) and actively contributes code to both OSM and ONAP projects. Project Maestro benefits from that experience by leveraging multiple key components from these initiatives. It will natively feature a modular, programmable, and model-driven approach to ensure integration with industry-leading SDN-C and S-VNFM components.

We are eager to bring Project Maestro to the market as it will allow CSPs to maximize their cloud transformation benefits while closing a critical gap in our industry. If you are at VMworld EMEA this week, please look at our on-site resources below or visit our website for more information.

Learn more about Project Maestro, the new telco cloud orchestrator for CSPs brought to you by VMware:

If software is eating the world, can we give software some Power Pellets?

Yes, I used to play Pac-Man.  And yes, the title of this blog refers to Marc Andreessen’s now famous quip that “Software is eating the world”.  Marc’s famous statement came out in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article published in August 2011.  At the time I imagined software as a yellow Pac-Man running around in a dark maze eating whatever it can while escaping Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.  The four main antagonists in the game are relentless, but from time to time, when played right, Pac-Man can eat a Power Pellet and then fight its antagonists.

About a year after Marc’s famous WSJ article, Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) was announced. It too started with an article of a sorts (a white paper actually) and our entire Telecommunications industry began its journey from purpose-built boxes to software. VMware has been there from the get-go, helping the Telecommunication industry’s transformation and paving the way for the migration to software. We have provided our Telco customers with a carrier-grade NFV platform and supported them with openness and choices where they matter: our customers can pick their virtualized infrastructure manager of choice, decide on their servers of choice, and most importantly, pick from a massive ecosystem of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) that have been shown to work on our platform. The ecosystem program we run is called Ready for NFV. It is part of the VMware Ready partner program. Ready for NFV won industry awards and grew into a massive ecosystem encompassing many of the Telecommunication industry traditional and emerging suppliers. Our passion in operating the program has always been helping our partners and our customers with their journey to the world of software.

Today we announced our self-certification extension to the Ready for NFV program. Self-certification is like Power Pellets in Pac-Man – it reverses the roles and lets the player accelerate and, if played right, make it to the next level. We see the self-certification extension to the Ready for NFV program as four Power Pellets to fight the four classical antagonists in our customers’ transformation to software.

  • Choice. Our customers are in different phases of their softwarefication journey. Some customers have been with us since early releases of our platform and many are still joining. This means that our customers operate different versions of our platform and different versions of their virtual network functions. By offering a self-certification extension we help the VNF vendor community verify that any version of their software is ready to quickly be deployed in any version of our customers’ Telco cloud.
  • Agility. We see a beautiful effect in our Communication Service Provider customers journey to NFV and beyond. The first few migration projects take a while and are a learning phase for the organization: processes get tuned, operational aspects are ironed out and sometimes even the procurement process changes. Once this happens, we see a clear hockey-stick effect in VNF deployment which is another way to describe software transformation. With self-certification, we expect to see the hockey-stick appear earlier in the transformation journey since making sure a VNF will work with a vCloud NFV version is so much easier and quicker.
  • Efficiency. The VMware Ready for NFV program has evolved over the last 4 years. These days the program focuses on educating VNF vendors on our platform capabilities.  The process is considered successfully completed once the VNF has passed the rigorous certification tests we operate. We see that our partners want hands-on experience with our platform to follow our test plan and evaluate their readiness. By giving our partners a virtual lab that mirrors our Reference Architecture, we help them better prepare without needing a large hardware installation.
  • Focus. Our Ready for NFV team has probably more experience on-boarding and deploying Virtual Network Functions than any other organization in the world. They already performed more than 120 certifications and have “been there, done that” many times. We wanted to allow our team to really focus on what our partners need the most – guidance when unique problems arise. By providing a self-certification program we can free our resources to help our partners with their unique and hard questions.

The process to use the self-certification program is as easy as one can expect from a software company.  After joining our program our partners will be able to point their browser to a url, download a few artifacts, launch a remote desktop and onboard their VNF into our cloud.  Once the onboarding process is successful, the partner selects the tests to be executed. The tests obviously are automated letting the partner know the progress. Once the tests are complete, the partner can decide on the next steps.

We made our Ready for NFV certification guide very transparent to all our partners. This means that once the tests are complete the partner will see a graphical representation of their success against the certification guide. If all is well, the partner will provide our team with the report bundle. Why don’t we just issue a certification automatically?  We want to ensure that the program quality is maintained which is why an engineer in the Ready for NFV program will be reviewing the results. The same team responsible for creating the Ready for NFV certification guide, to answering partner questions and to collecting requirements from customers will also be the team evaluating the results of the certification.  Quality is not something we are yet ready to completely automate.

 

Figure 1: Ready for NFV Self-Certification Progress Report

The Telecommunications industry is doubling down on software. In the last 7 years we adopted Virtual Machines as a way to deploy network functions. We are now embracing Containers to further increase the efficiency of software-based Telco workloads. 3GPP standards are written with software in mind such that transitioning from 4G to 5G networks is not possible without software. In the move towards software VMware is committed to supporting our customers to ease and accelerate their transformation. We will continue supplying our customers with Power Pellets so they too can win in their quest to reduce their operational cost and significantly reduce their time to market.  Bon Appetit.

Project Maestro Overview

A Telco Cloud Orchestrator That Will Help CSPs Accelerate Multi-Cloud Operational Agility

Project Maestro: telco cloud orchestration and automation, an overview.

With today’s announced technology preview of Project Maestro, VMware’s new solution for telco cloud orchestration and automation, VMware continues its leadership in enabling reliable, scalable, secure and efficient cloud networking for communications service providers (CSPs).

Let’s dive into this new solution and explore how it will deliver a new level of operational agility to telecommunications providers.

Market Drivers for Orchestration and Automation

The multi-network and multi-vendor ecosystem of cloud networking technologies is growing increasingly complicated by the day. To cope with this complexity, CSPs need greater interoperability, increased agile management, and flexible automation to support a leaner operational model.

These are the market conditions that led us to develop Project Maestro.

 Slow adoption of standards: Achieving effective automation requires E2E support of VNF/NS lifecycle management (service creation, onboarding, installation/configuration, start/stop, scaling, monitoring/diagnosis, reconfiguration, healing, update, and termination). In order to perform these activities, the orchestrator must interoperate with several other components of the NFV architecture (i.e., VIM, EMS, VNFM, SO, OSS/BSS). Adapting a vendor-neutral orchestration strategy is the only way to efficiently coordinate the various components of this architecture while protecting CSPs from vendor lock-in complexities.

CSPs have been deploying NFV in production since late 2012. However, mature standardized solutions (e.g., MANO) have not yet been widely applied. Many of the current deployments struggle with a lack of interoperability across multiple vendors, which paves the way to half-baked solutions that often introduce exorbitant service integration fees and cause delays in rollouts of cloud-based network services.

Next-generation network imperatives: 5G introduces a variety of new technologies and requirements, including “network slicing” where networks are virtually sliced-up to deliver a use case bound to a set of SLA requirements (e.g. mobile broadband, robotic manufacturing, AR/VR, autonomous-car, etc.). Network slicing will be a key component of future networks, but it’s only feasible where service and cloud domain orchestrators are available to provide the required level of abstraction across all layers of the service delivery architecture. Many of the new service use cases will also leverage edge computing which in turn requires the deployment of infrastructure closer to the network edge for lower latency and improved network performance. As a result, the design of network services must now span traditional data centers and an exponential number of edge data centers (1000x) with heterogeneous infrastructure (VM & container-based) stressing the need for orchestration and the dynamic management of network functions across formats and “clouds” with reliability at scale.

Introducing Project Maestro: VMware’s purpose-built telco cloud orchestrator

Project Maestro is a purpose-built software solution engineered to accelerate the time-to-market of modern network functions and services while igniting operational agility through lifecycle management automation across any network and any cloud. Maestro will streamline the CSP orchestration journey with native integration into VMware vCloud NFV and cloud products to enhance customer experience, minimize costs, and optimize NFVI resource utilization. Maestro combined with VMware HCX will also enable multi-cloud placement and ease workload portability from the network core to the edge, from private to public clouds.

Project Maestro will offer standards-driven generic VNF manager (G-VNFM) and NFV orchestration (NFVO) modular components to integrate any multi-vendor MANO architecture. VMware will further enhance interoperability by expanding partner VNF certifications to cover infrastructure and orchestration through the VMware Ready for NFV program. With simplified and certified interoperability, CSPs limit their risks while benefiting from the best available solutions.

Project Maestro for telco cloud orchestration

 

A quick look at Key Capabilities and benefits for communications service providers (CSP):

VMware is all about positioning our customers to be more responsive to their customers. To that end, Project Maestro will empower CSPs with a unique and rich profile of benefits and capabilities.

Project Maestro – Solution Overview

Benefits

Capabilities

  • Accelerate services time-to-market from months to minutes with simplified provisioning, design and onboarding capabilities.
  • Gain operational efficiencies and avoid error-prone manual tasks through network functions and services lifecycles management automation.
  • Ensure service experience through workload mobility, dynamic scalability, closed-loop healing, and enhanced resiliency.
  • Improve service quality with VMware Smart Assurance integrated AI-driven workflows
  • Optimize cloud resources utilization through optimized VMware NFVO, G-VNFM, and VIM/NFVI integrations.
  • Avoid costly integration fees, maximize current VMware investments, innovate faster, reduce project complexity, and overall time-to-deploy using pre-built VMware integrations.
  • Get the most of your telco cloud by leveraging best-of-breed network functions and benefits from a healthy multi-vendor ecosystem.
  • Lower version validation and support fees with VMware Ready for NFV certification program.

 

  • Pluggable architecture that integrates seamlessly any Telco Cloud ETSI MANO-compliant environment
  • Build services with a combined G-VNFM and NFVO complete feature-set.
  • Deliver on-demand new network functions and services at scale across multiple clouds.
  • Leverage repeatability across network functions and services.
  • Onboard VM-based and cloud-native network functions through TOSCA templates.
  • Model network services based on multi-vendor network functions.
  • Automate network functions and services lifecycle management (day 0 to most complex day 2 operations).
  • Gather 360° awareness of the Telco Cloud from infrastructure to instantiated functions and services (i.e. inventories, FM/PM data)
  • Apply new/existing workflows and policies for automated closed-loop actions
  • Achieve end-to-end telco cloud service assurance with prebuilt VIM and Smart Assurance integrations

 

Digging Into the Details: Driving Orchestration and Multi-Cloud Operational Agility with Project Maestro

Cloud-first software approach

Project Maestro will natively integrate with vCloud NFV and other VMware cloud technologies to transform an integration-intensive project into an efficient product deployment, eliminating the risks of error-prone configurations, simplifying future upgrades, and reducing overall project cost. The close integrations between VMware orchestration and its infrastructure will also enable faster access to VMware innovations, auto-discovery capabilities, continuous synchronization, and they will abstract multi-VIM management complexity.

Design, onboard, orchestrate and automate with multi-cloud agility

Save time by leveraging existing network functions and services available from implementation catalogs or acquire new ones from VMware certified partners. TOSCA-compliant VNFD/NSD, aligned with ETSI MANO SOL001/004, can be tailored through a low-code visual composer and scripts. Once the design and onboarding are completed, the network functions or services can be instantiated seamlessly in a few steps across any tenants and clouds through multi-VIM integrations.

Integrated lifecycle management automation

Automation capabilities will be driven by decisioning and policy engines that execute closed-loop policies described in VNFD and NSD plus custom rules for tailored decisions. These policies will apply to the entire lifecycle management of network functions and services (day 0; day 1; day 2) for leaner operational processes. They will also remove complicated, tedious, and repetitive tasks while optimizing overall resource utilization through dynamic scaling and workload portability.

Enhanced service experience

Achieve real-time awareness across every layer of the telco cloud for monitoring and closed-loop operations. This holistic awareness will be enabled through a unique fault and performance data collection framework that gathers information across all layers of the MANO framework, including VIMs, VNF/EMS, and OSS. Project Maestro will support any auto-operation model, triggering actions from NFVO, VNFM, or EMS. Furthermore, Project Maestro will automate the distribution of VNF and service workloads across clouds and availability zones for enhanced quality and complete resilience.

Unified network function management

Project Maestro’s G-VNFM offers a unified network function ecosystem, supporting the design and integration of any TOSCA-compliant network functions. Maestro will orchestrate workloads seamlessly from VM and container-based infrastructures for a future-proof service-delivery foundation. Maestro will also allow partners certification of network function new versions and updates for ensured interoperability.

Hybrid and multi-cloud workload placements

The ability to connect and manage workloads across a broad set of VIMs is a complicated and expensive activity. Project Maestro natively integrates with VMware HCX, vCloud Director, vCloud NFV OpenStack Edition, and VMware Kubernetes portfolio, allowing turnkey and consistent workload management for any network function across any cloud, resulting in unique multi-cloud operational agility and optimized resources allocation.

Intent-based and dynamic multi-cloud placements

 

Our pledge: A thriving, open, multi-vendor ecosystem

Let’s talk about one last critical attribute of Project Maestro and VMware’s approach to CSPs: interoperability. Despite the shift towards industry standardization, many vendors still create unnecessary lock-in by restricting orchestration to their specific ecosystem. Not VMware: Project Maestro will take a different tack, giving CSPs flexibility by supporting the latest ETSI-MANO guidelines. Maestro’s integrated G-VNFM and NFVO will be used as combined or standalone modules interfacing any SOL-compliant components of the MANO framework (OSS, BSS, EMS/VNFM, VIM, etc.).

Project Maestro Optimized Integrations & Interoperability

 

Pairing Maestro’s VNF designer tool with the VMware Ready for NFV program further extends interoperability and encourages innovation by facilitating access to new infrastructure capabilities and supporting VNF certification for ensured operation and management across vendors.

Interoperability

Standard Interfaces

  • Vi-Vnfm: VMware Integrated OpenStack, VMware vCloud NFV, VMC and Kubernetes
  •  Ve-Vnfm-vnf: ETSI NFV IFA008/SOL002; VNF and NS descriptors compliant with IFA011/SOL001; VNF and NSD package format of IFA014/SOL004
  • Ve-Vnfm-em: 3rd party EMS per ETSI NFV IFA008/SOL002
  • Or-Vnfm: ETSI NFV IFA007/SOL003
  • Os-Ma-nfvo: ETSI NFV IFA013/SOL005 and TM Forum

Open Architecture

  • Modular NFVO / G-VNFM architecture
  • Pre-built integrations with VMware NFV and cloud technologies
  • Integration with 3rd party OSS, VIM, VNF, SDN-C and S-VNFM

 

VMware is a founding member of Open Source MANO (OSM) and actively contributes code to both OSM and ONAP projects. Project Maestro will leverage multiple key components from these initiatives. It will natively feature a modular, programmable, and model-driven approach to ensure integration with industry-leading SDN-C and S-VNFM components.

Join the telco cloud operational revolution!

Project Maestro inherits VMware’s pedigree of cloud management and automation expertise. It streamlines the CSP’s telco cloud transformation journey and accelerates time-to-market of any service while ensuring interoperability for a dynamic multi-vendor NFV ecosystem.

Learn more about Project Maestro, the new telco cloud orchestrator for CSPs brought to you by VMware:

* There is no commitment or obligation that technology preview features will become generally available.

Putting Customers First: Our Commitment to Helping Telco Customers Innovate

It has been eight months since the announcement of the alliance agreement between Ericsson and VMware, in February of this year.

Many colleagues in this industry thought a relationship between a network provider like Ericsson and an enterprise software company like VMware would be next to impossible – this isn’t the first time VMware has proven someone wrong. So how did we create a win – win scenario between companies who historically have had competing goals?  By putting our customers first.

Our goal when we set out on this trajectory was to enable CSPs to efficiently deploy and operate virtualized networks. In order to do this, we invested in a certification lab where Ericsson’s VNFs running on VMware vCloud NFV were put through a rigorous testing methodology by having applications tested, certified, system verified, optimized and documented. Essentially lowering the risks of the investment for our customers when selecting our combined solutions for their network transformation efforts.

I’m happy to report that production deployments of Ericsson VNFs on VMware have almost DOUBLED in 2019.  Over 50+ CSPs worldwide are running 567 VNF deployments on our platform.

Furthermore, over 70+ Communication Service Providers using Ericsson’s Business Support Systems (BSS) are also running on VMware to improve their end to end stability and improve their time to market for new digital revenue streams.

When I think of our mutual success this year, I think of a quote from James Clear, “Businesses succeed when the self-interest of the business is aligned with the self-interest of the customer.” – James Clear. This mindset is a key motivator in championing the seed of collaboration.

VMware’s goal is fairly simple: to offer our customers software that provides the ability to move from a strictly vertical stack, to a horizontal platform that offers operators maximum flexibility to match their network demands. We are committed to offering simplicity in design, effectiveness, and better enhanced security in the solutions we offer. Ericsson offers the network “know how” to get the best performance out of our products. Together, we can offer great solutions for our mutual customers.

5G is coming, bringing with it a new world of revenue opportunities for CSPs. Offering more connections and greater bandwidth than traditional wireless technologies, and a host of new services that operators could offer. That’s great for innovation and revenue, but it also means that partners will need to find a new “working norm.” All of this is unfolding in a landscape that is moving faster than ever.

Come by the VMware booth (Hall South, Stand 1714) at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles and say hello, or visit telco.vmware.com to learn more.

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