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A Transformation Towards a 5G-Ready NFV Infrastructure

Mobile wireless technologies have gone through systematic generational refreshes over the last three decades. The next such refresh, called 5G, isn’t just an incremental upgrade from 4G, but represents a significant leap forward.  5G promises to improve efficiency, enhance security, reduce latency times, increase network capacity, and accelerate current data connections by 10, or even 100 times.  And for the first time, 5G brings wireline technologies into greater prominence and convergence with wireless infrastructure, enabling telecom carriers to extract efficiency from their full network.

However, before the benefits of 5G can be widely exploited, Communications Service Providers need to invest in virtualized and cloud-based infrastructure. 5G requires both a software-driven architecture and Network Functions Virtualization, or NFV, to be successful.

At VMware, we see 5G as a big opportunity and challenge for Communications Service Providers to leverage the benefits of 5G with new business models and to reassert their influence in the cloud economy.  While NFV is the foundation to deliver 5G, CSPs are going to require a telecom transformation that represents a new approach to delivering agile services and enables the ability to have these services move between clouds, include private, edge, and public clouds.

A key aspect of 5G networks is network slicing.  For CSPs, network slicing provides the ability to divide and scale the network on an as-a-service and ‘on-demand’ basis.  This requires an advanced, software-defined infrastructure that allows multiple virtual networks to be created atop a shared physical infrastructure. Virtual networks can then be customized to meet the needs of applications, services, devices, customers or other global CSPs.

For CSPs, network slicing enables new business opportunities. Services such as remote health and surgery, smart metering, smart drones, and connected cars all require connectivity, but with vastly different network characteristics.  New technologies, such as virtualization, network programmability, and network slicing will enable networks to be customized and meet the needs for each application.  As a result, new products and services can be introduced to market quickly and can be easily customized, deployed, and adapted to fast-changing demands.

VMware and Telia have jointly collaborated on a 5G Technical Whitepaper: 5G-Ready NFV Infrastructure- A Transformation Journey Towards Full Automation.  In this paper, we have outlined the characterization of the network driven by 5G and the requirements that CSPs should take into consideration to support new services and SLAs.  In addition, the paper highlights the requirement to provide an efficient network infrastructure that can deliver services at the best price point, along with creating an on-demand network to support new business consumption models and a frequent service rollout cadence.

We believe 5G to deliver massive changes as it will create a larger, more efficient network that offers new possibilities for developers and CSPs.  The collaborative nature of 5G may also prompt more partnering across the ecosystem and alter the competitive landscape of the industry.  Hybrid environments that leverage the best of both worlds, coupling hyper scale public cloud infrastructures like those from Amazon Web Services, or IBM, and the NFV enhanced clouds from CSPs, could become the basis for new marketplaces for consumer and enterprise applications and tools.





How do you plan to deliver 5G services?


You can do what with your phone?

As we continue to predict how the world will look according to 5G, Telcos are also considering how to deliver on the promise that the new standard holds. Fundamentally it will improve user experiences by delivering new, faster (one millisecond end-to-end round trip delay) and more seamless (1000x bandwidth per unit area) services. This entails providers improving their ability to deliver and support a heavy line-up of data-intense services.

It’s a big shift; both in customer expectations and in technology. It requires new approaches to network operations; new skills and effective ways of providing a bridge from what is, to what will be. Consumers will be looking for exquisite personalized services delivered instantaneously to their smartphones. The world will be real-time. Meanwhile, the enterprise and society will expect far more.

The GSMA suggests that 5G will cover a third of the world’s population by 2025, approximately 1.4 billion connections. Providing a thought-provoking context for the impact of 5G on network operations, the GSMA says:

“5G will see a major shift in how cellular networks are designed and what they are used for. Mobile operators will use new network architectures…Advanced software will enable the mobile network to adapt to the needs of the service, rather than the other way around.”

The 1.4 billion connections won’t, of course, all be enthusiastic gamers on their morning commutes thrilled with faster speeds. They’ll be connections changing the way society functions, becoming the base enabler of autonomous driving, remote robotic surgery, smarter manufacturing, and, yes, great fun gaming. A bigger focus than ever before will bring data analytics to the top of the agenda; the ability to assimilate huge volumes of data and extract the meaning from it in real-time to drive ever-more responsive services and deliver the fundamental requirement of IoT; the ability of machines and systems to talk to each other and react accordingly.

Enormous commercial opportunity

Autonomous cars will be communicating in real-time with traffic systems and other vehicles. Smart homes and office buildings will be sensing environmental influences to activate internal building systems. Transportation systems in smart cities will be more in evidence. Virtual Reality will become a widespread, well, reality. Healthcare will embrace remote intervention and prevention capabilities. IoT, in short, will lean heavily on 5G.

It’s time to make sure not just that your network can take the weight, but also that your entire approach to network architecture – the creation of 5G-capable infrastructures – and servicing customer needs is geared around an enormous commercial opportunity and potential new revenue streams.

Planning for transition and beyond

I’d like to explore how to put this ‘bridge’ in place; allowing the crossing-over from a 3G/4G world into 5G while taking a view that also goes beyond that. Any CSP needs to be concerned with the long-term value of investments and/or the sustainability of changes to network management, technology and company culture; it’s not just about the opportunity to come but the many opportunities that may then come after that.

Network changes undertaken in response to the requirements of 5G will stand the network in very good stead for many years to come. These changes may well dictate bringing new skills into the business, restructuring teams, and basically becoming the sort of organisation that can thrive in a substantially redefined competitive environment. Solutions should be robustly future-proofed; capable of evolving as demands on the network evolve, which they certainly will.

The NFV path to innovation

NFV is a prime enabler in the essential network transformation. My colleague, Gabriele Di Piazza, discusses the essential agility that NFV brings to network infrastructure automation and orchestration in his blog: The network is at the epicentre of all that happens next; Multi-access Edge Computing is right there alongside it. Network operators can react faster when they decouple core network functions from hardware appliances.

An Ericsson spokesperson puts it in perspective:

“NFV is now a prerequisite for having the kind of network that you need to be able to address the IoT workload for 5G. Furthermore, the time is now for operators to formulate their strategies to transition their core network in preparation for 5G in 2020.”

Changes made to the network now need not be regarded as fixed in stone or, in other words, embedded in the machine. At VMware we’re delivering solutions that enable CSPs to build the bridge now, work with containerised applications, but also lay the foundations for the road ahead after the transition, wherever that may lead. Without NFV there is no easily operable solution to grasp the enhancements that 5G will bring.

Telcos should consider that NFV is a mandatory first step towards 5G, but effective deployment depends on a partner, architecture and technology strategy to pin down the journey path and streamline network operations.

What do you think? Have you made the shift to NFV ahead of the arrival of 5G? If not, do you think you need to be exploring why not? Is it something you’d like to explore further? Contact me if you want to continue the discussion.

Dell EMC and VMware – Better Together for Service Providers

Co-authored by:

Kevin Shatzkamer, Vice President, Service Provider Strategy and Solutions, Dell EMC

Honore’ LaBourdette, VP Global Market Development, Telco Business Group, VMware

Some of their main challenges CSPs face include:

  • Slowing growth & innovation due to increasing technological complexity
  • Rising CAPEX and OPEX for legacy network infrastructure
  • Price/Margin erosion due to disruption in existing businesses models
  • Uncertainty in new business models – new value chains, new competitors
  • Operational transformation requires workforce and process retooling

Dell EMC and VMware are teaming together to help solve these challenges and are excited to demonstrate of the value of Dell Technologies end-to-end for service providers.

As a starting point, at Mobile World Congress Americas last fall, we announced the Dell EMC NFV Ready Bundle for VMware to simplify and accelerate NFV deployments for service providers.  This bundle includes open standards-based Dell EMC Cloud Infrastructure (compute, networking, Service Assurance Suite and management tools) and a choice of a Virtual Infrastructure Manager (vCloud Director or VMware Integrated OpenStack) with vSAN or Dell EMC ScaleIO.

The Dell EMC NFV Ready Bundle for VMware was just the beginning of joint, pre-validated solutions between both companies.  Dell EMC and VMware are on a journey to integrate and demonstrate the value of our joint solution in other areas as well.

SD-WAN is another area where both companies are working together to expand SD-WAN opportunities for service providers.  According to IDC’s Worldwide SD-WAN Forecast, 2017-2021, SD-WAN sales will grow at a 69% compound annual rate and will hit $8.05 billion by 2021.

Enterprises are increasingly searching for cost-effective and simpler alternatives to WAN connectivity for their sprawling branch networks. SD-WAN addresses many enterprises needs around WAN costs, simplified operations and improved application performance.  For service providers, offering SD-WAN as a Service is a new revenue opportunity because they can manage WAN services for enterprises.  This is appealing to enterprises that don’t want to manage the WAN network, or applications, and would prefer to outsource these services to a service provider.

To help with SD-WAN adoption, Dell EMC and VeloCloud, which is now part of VMware, offer the Dell EMC SD-WAN Ready Nodes for VeloCloud to accelerate SD-WAN revenue for service providers. VeloCloud can also go one step further by hosting and operating SD-WAN service on behalf of the service provider to accelerate adoption.  We will also be demonstrating leading edge joint SD-WAN solutions for service providers at Mobile World Congress.

We understand that the industry is constantly moving and evolving, and Dell EMC and VMware will continue to integrate capabilities that service providers want.  Our goals as both companies is to significantly reduce deployment complexities by offering more joint pre-architected and pre-validated solutions that integrates industry leading Dell EMC hardware and VMware software, reduce installation complexity, and provide confidence that the joint solutions are ready to work in production for service providers.


Network Functions Virtualization (NFV): Early adoption or a timely and essential strategy?

A hot topic in a cold climate

MWC, once again, captured multiple developments, ideas, initiatives, inventions and new ways of looking at things and delivered universal focus to help us all calibrate our efforts, or at least sensitise our plans. It was great to catch up with colleagues and share ideas and insights about the hugely significant year that 2018 is shaping up to be for Telcos. We can count on an increasing wave of pressure building up around 5G and its natural and ever-present partner, network transformation.

Just about this time last year I posted a blog pre-MWC17 where I said “As MWC17 approaches…there is every sign that things are about to change. To put it another way, there is overwhelming pressure to make sure they do.” My thoughts were around the advent of the IoT and the requirement for carriers to invest carefully in new technology and networking infrastructure as they set about the task of creating the network of the future.

There is more than just a technology issue involved. The business case for modernising the network is strong; new customer demands will require new business models from Telcos, representing a clear step forward on traditional services and demonstrating true organisational agility in giving customers what they want.

For an organisation to be able to respond rapidly to market pressures, revitalising and innovating its services to deliver outstanding customer experiences, it has to have the technological agility to do so. Technology for its own sake is just a way of diluting your ROI. Technology associated with a clear revitalised business strategy and models is a winning combination.

Unprecedented resilience and reliability

I’m not a lone voice in such views. An article in TechTarget suggested:

“ Network functions virtualisation andsoftware-defined networking will play increasingly large roles in the future of networking, converting what used to be specialised hardware or local virtual machines into software running in the cloud. All management functions, including analytics, will reside in the cloud, providing full-function, extensible, manage-anywhere flexibility and unprecedented resilience and reliability.”

Finding the way forward isn’t always easy in a market where so many pressures continue to pile up, so many technologies present themselves as the optimum solution, and so much remains invested in legacy infrastructures, not to say legacy approaches. VMware’s focus at MWC18 was on engaging with individuals to clarify strategies around NFV adoption. To hold back simply because the methodologies may be new is not the soundest of strategies, while all around the signs (5g/IoT/4th Industrial Revolution primarily) are consistently pointing to the need for change.

Virtualisation is a tried and tested technology that has for so long been delivering new efficiencies in the datacentre and across the enterprise in general. The natural assimilation of abstraction into network infrastructures therefore has many use cases to prove its effectiveness. Network operators need only look beyond their own sphere to appreciate what NFV can bring to their networks.

Be different now or be just the same later

Innovation is just that – doing new things, taking on board new approaches and ultimately, daring to be different. Those who do it first are different and they gain the first mover advantage. Those who delay, by definition, become followers. When they do there will be a risk of finding that the best claims have already been staked. At MWC18, VMware showcased how our multi-cloud-to-edge infrastructure and support for OpenStack and cloud-native apps empower CSPs to digitally transform from being no more than ‘connectivity providers’ into agile enablers of rich 5G & IOT services, dynamic content and personalised experiences. We also presented a path for CSP’s to participate in the new “cloud economy” across private, public and Telco clouds to further enable new revenue opportunities.

The hunt for mass market NFV

One of the overall discussion themes at MWC was ‘The Hunt for Mass-Market NFV’, a session described thus: “NFV has been much discussed, and much trialled. There have been few substantial live deployments, though. This session investigates what lessons have been learnt from live NFV so far and what barriers to wider adoption remain in the technology, the market and the mobile industry itself.”

I was a little surprised to see this topic outlined in the way it was, given that VMware now has more than 100 live NFV deployments in production, some running multiple VNFs and multiple services across our NFV infrastructure platform. There are numerous Telcos well ahead of the curve, or where MWC18 believes the curve to be.

NFV is a large constituent element in any strategy to meet the future head-on with agile operations and a responsive network that can scale on demand; and demand for bandwidth there will be, in abundance. From cities and transportation systems to cars and houses, and every industry you care to name, IoT is upon us. The need to transport data rapidly is upon us.

What’s the hold-up?

Telecommunications will respond with both new technologies and increasingly more aggressive competitive spirt. It will be, quite simply, a gold rush. The question must be asked, therefore, what’s holding anybody back from at least exploring their options around NFV?  Why hesitate when evidence shows that competitive companies are advanced on their virtualization journeys? Do they know something you don’t?

If there’s hesitancy in the industry, where is it coming from? There certainly will be golden opportunities for Telcos with the right network capabilities. There can be little sound rationale for not assessing what those capabilities are, and how they can be assimilated into current network architectures.

At MWC18 VMware provided not only demonstrations of how to pin down the benefits of NFV, but also showed the ease with which NFV can be adopted. Our vCloud NFV platforms, for example, enable CSPs to:

  • Accelerate services deployments and foster innovation for IoT and 5G services
  • Simplify operations, delivering operational intelligence and visibility across the network
  • Access enormous choice through a best-in-class NFV partner ecosystem

We looked also at on-boarding, with our partners, Intel. This technical session looked at accelerated NFV adoption through open sourced tools and a community that helps remove the roadblocks of on-boarding network functions. As the year unfolds and the challenges mount, VMware can help you gain agility in the network to respond, revitalize, and reap the rewards of the opportunities ahead. Get in touch if you’d like to discuss further.

Accelerating the reality of NFV can be achieved when you integrate best of breed technologies. VMware and Intel are collaborating to deliver High-Performance, Open and Tested Network Functions for Operators.

VMware and Intel are expanding their collaboration to enable cloud-optimized, 5G-ready networks with high performance and efficiency. These requirements meet the most stringent standards and service level agreements (SLAs) required by communication service providers.

Service providers are being pressed to deliver new and differentiated services faster, in an on-demand model, and maintaining a high quality of experience for the user. This requires a new architecture that blends software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), while creating a new delivery method that will support an all IP infrastructure.

Operators will get there first glance at the new types of use cases that VMware and Intel are working on at Mobile World Congress this week.

At the show, the two companies will be demonstrating several use cases that will showcase the ability to deploy telco services in a hybrid cloud environment, a multi-cloud infrastructure supporting connected drones, and the use of a distributed compute fabric at the edge that will help bring to market next generation 5G applications.

Through this collaboration, VMware and Intel will provide customers with:

Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) network acceleration that delivers market-defining performance on Intel® Xeon® processors;

  • Native Intel poll mode drivers for VMware vSphere for improved throughput;
  • Improved memory throughput on Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors for more efficient VNF performance;
  • Enhanced Platform Awareness support to help ensure VNFs run on the optimal HW platforms;
  • A new VNF Onboarding Program with a rich ecosystem of VNF vendors that have been certified through the VMware Ready for NFV program;

You can learn more about these initiatives at the Intel demo pod in the VMware booth at Mobile World Congress, Hall 3 Stand 3K10

Operators face a large learning curve and with the number of components needed to run network functions in the cloud, no single vendor can tackle this landscape alone. VMware and Intel are committed to making NFV a reality and helping Communications Service Providers accelerate the transformation of their networks.

The Smartest Eye in the Sky at Mobile World Congress 2018

There used to be a time not too long ago where the ‘cool’ gadgets to own were drones.  Typically, these drones were about 12 inches long and were fairly lightweight. They were fun to operate around the neighborhood with the ability to fly up to about 200 feet in the sky and had a total flight time of around 10-15 minutes before they had to be recharged. Most of these drones also had a small camera attached that allowed me to take decent pictures of the neighborhood landscape.

Today, drones have become much more than a weekend hobby.  The use of smart drones has enabled enterprises across multiple vertical segments to transform their operational models and offer new services.  Within transportation and logistics, drones can carry cargo or payloads between sites, and just recently, Amazon has been exploring delivery of goods via drones.

Another use case for drones is monitoring and surveillance.  Drones can be used to provide autonomous patrolling of a property, provide security for a specific geo-fenced area, or used to respond to alarms or emergencies in areas where a disaster or accident may have occurred.  A great company that VMware is partnering with at MWC, Nightingale Security, provides drone security, or as the experts call it, Robotic Aerial Security (RAS). Nightingale Security is at the forefront of RAS, with capabilities to fly programmed, autonomous missions around a defined perimeter and help security teams lower response times, and gain invaluable insight into potential threats.

CSPs finding new revenues in the sky

 So, what do drones have to do with Mobile World Congress, and specifically, how does VMware play a role in supporting drone services?

CSPs have the potential to provide a service, that will open up new opportunities are key to the deployment of drones.  However, to be successful, CSPs need to rethink how they can transform their network architecture to support these new services.

Let’s take an example of mission critical drone flights.  Drones are capturing hundreds of pictures, streaming ultra-HD videos, and collecting flight data and analytics that will need to be transmitted in real-time back to the base station.  Each flight mission could potentially be sending hundreds of gigabits of data back to the base station over the mobile network.  For CSPs, this requires a network that can process this data in real-time, can store this data, and in many instances also provide real-time analytics, so that the drone pilots can make decisions or react immediately to threats and emergencies.

For CSPs to successfully support these use cases, they need to ensure that these drones are operating on a network that provides ultra-low latency, ultra-high performance and be highly reliable.

5G, NFV, IoT, Network Slicing and Multi-Access Edge Computing

Yes, I just listed all the buzz words that we will be talking about non-stop at MWC.  However, for CSPs to deliver a network that can provide the scale, reliability, performance and flexibility to support drones then they will have to check all of the above.

The promise of 5G networks is not just high data rates, spectral efficiency, ultra-low latency, or even supporting the massive number of devices connected to the network.  The real value of 5G networks is to provide a platform that will deliver innovative applications and services and provide a flexible virtualized network environment, where they will have the ability to deploy an on-demand network offering tailored services to meet the unique use cases.  5G and NFV provides a flexible architecture that gives CSPs the ability to customize services tailored to the specific requirements of each service they deploy.

The concept of network slicing provides the ability to partition multiple virtual networks from a single network, providing optimal support for different types of services to serve multiple customer segments.  The key benefit of network slicing is that CSPs can deploy a network slice that will provide the connectivity, high availability and reliability, along with tuning specific network parameters to support ultra-low latency requirements for a specific service.  The other advantage with network slicing is ensuring complete security and isolation so that no other resource or outside threat can impact that network slice.  Think again of the mission critical drone services that require flying missions securely and without any service interruption.

As discussed, drones will be generating a significant amount of data and HD video.  In many cases, each flight mission can potentially send hundreds of gigabits over the mobile network.

However, delivering and processing hundreds of gigabits of data is not always feasible within the core data center, and could disrupt or degrade the quality of service for the drone mission.  This is why CSPs require a Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) architecture that will allow them to rapidly process content at the very edge of the network (closer to the drone), delivering an experience that not only provides the ultra-responsiveness as demanded by drone services, but also will optimize operational efficiencies and reduce costs as it reduces the amount of data that would otherwise have to be backhauled to the core data center.

Flying drone missions

At VMware, we have partnered with Affirmed Networks and Globetouch, to highlight how CSPs can transform their networks and provide end-to-end global coverage providing global connectivity services for IoT devices and platforms.

We will be showing live drone missions, with actual drones flying in San Francisco, CA providing live HD video streams to our booth in Barcelona over the mobile network. Within a single demo, we are able to bring together all the capabilities of network slicing, Multi-Access Edge Computing, NFV and IoT, and show how CSPs can deliver new services, while delivering the highest Quality of Service levels in the network.

It will definitely be a great experience and we can’t wait to show the smartest eye in the sky!

VMware will be in Hall 3, Stand 3K10.

Considering a 5G-Ready Telco Cloud? Don’t let Intelligent Operations be an Afterthought


We’ve been here before with LTE.  A major surge of demand for network capacity swept the telecom industry with exploding appetite for immediate access to applications and services.  Carriers, finding themselves in a race to capture revenue from new services, responded by introducing new technology as fast as they could as capital investment in access and core networks rose exponentially. As speed of network deployment became a key differentiator, operational efficiency and scalable network management struggled to keep pace. The time has come again with 5G to deliver to a much higher promise of differentiated services and quality.

With vendors rapidly transforming their software packaging to micro-services and disaggregated user/control planes, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are investing further in edge-distribution across distributed clouds. Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) shared resources, multi-vendor architecture, multi-tenant slicing, elastic workloads, cross-cloud migrations, traditional and container execution units, are just a few operational considerations ahead. As the race beings again, the challenge, lies in planning and executing faster than ever before, and the operations management approach needs to be a well curated design from the onset.

VMware vCloud NFV takes a full lifecycle approach to operations management by incorporating core attributes such as simplification, multitenancy, proactivity, and efficiency across various aspects of a large-scale telco operation including Service onboarding, Service Launch, Performance monitoring, Issue isolation with machine learning, Dynamic and predictive optimization, and Capacity planning and business management.

Here, we take a closer look at this approach and discuss how integrated operations intelligence in VMware vCloud NFV facilitates simplicity, 360-degree visibility, and automation, in an agile telco network deployment.

As a global operations management function, the operational intelligence platform provides a single line-of-sight across the virtual infrastructure, overlay, and underlay networking and is fully expandable with service-awareness and physical underlays.

VMware vRealize Suite – Operations, Network Insight, and Log Insight, together make it easy to operate and manage the next generation 5G distributed NFV clouds.

Take a 5-stepped journey through the operations lifecycle management:

Onboarding Service Operations – While the 5G ready cloud infrastructure will isolate compute and networking for each customer context, the CSP operations manager will graphically define and discover the service and resource boundaries for their customers, add custom SLA triggers on top of the many existing alerts, create custom dashboards, discover and plan security micro-segmentation profiles to protect east-west and north-south traffic, and add closed-loop integrations using the workflow construction interfaces to notify a service orchestrator.

Service Launch – Once the services are up and running, monitor their health and ensure SLA’s are within check. Watch for critical alerts, capacity constraints, performance degradations, anomalies and more in the cross-tier landscape of services, virtual machines, data centers, clusters, and hosts.

Dynamic Optimization – Want to ensure services can be offered in an agile cadence, with the same stringent reliability and quality requirements? Leverage consumption patterns and available resources across hybrid clouds to optimize workloads continuously. The just-in-time operational intelligence is fed back into the NFVI Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) as well as north bound triggers to a service orchestrator to achieve predictive-class avoidance.

Issue Isolation – So you received an alert, what next? Follow the issue isolation orchestrated drill-downs into the services’ compute, storage and overlay and underlay networking. Use the automatic machine learnt intelligence to find those needles in the haystack in a single log analysis interface. See something you want to put under future observation, create an alert and dashboard with the click of a button.

Demand Planning and Expansion – Over-provisioning was the way to solve for capacity. Dynamic demand monitoring is feed into an intelligent capacity planning engine which can not only keep capacities in check but also allow you to reclaim unused resources and create what-if scenarios for future demand forecast and capacity exhaust. Evaluate the cost of private cloud operations and consider economies of a public cloud.

vCloud NFV Operational Intelligence @ MWC 2018

Switzerland of NFV

Our CEO made a controversial statement on the keynote stage at Mobile World Congress last year.  He said: “there will be two kinds of 5G deployments – those who virtualize and those who will fail.”  As I look at the last year in the life of VMware’s Ready for NFV program, I see evidence that a lot of virtual network function vendors agree with our CEO.

VMware Ready for NFV is a functional interoperability program between VNFs and core components of the VMware vCloud NFV platform.  The program exists so that Communication Service Providers (CSPs) can easily deploy innovative services using best-in class VNFs on VMware’s vCloud NFV platform.  We collaborate with our VNF partners to ensure that they understand the expectations that our mutual customers have from a network function deployed on vCloud NFV.

What makes VMware qualified to help VNF vendors prepare for deployment?  We are the Switzerland of NFV.  We have leading global CSPs using our vCloud NFV platform since 2014 and the number of CSPs is continuously growing.  These customers expect from us, as the leader in virtualization, guidance on how to best virtualize their network functions and in return we work closely with them to understand their business and services needs.  This relationship allows us to collect requirements and translate them to product improvements as well provide guidance to our partners.  That guidance is the basis for our Ready for NFV program.  Because of our role as the layer between the VNF and the hardware, be it in virtualizing the compute, network or storage resources, we also understand the underlying hardware very well.  It is like being that country between Italy, France, Austria and Germany – Switzerland.

A good example of a benefit of the Ready for NFV program is the ability for a VNF to be onboarded quickly into one of the two Virtualized Infrastructure Managers (VIMs) we have in our solution and then deployed into the NFVI without manual intervention.  The process of onboarding is sometimes done using a VNF Manager and sometimes, depending on the VNF and the customer, directly into the VIM.  That onboarding process is tremendously efficient when the VNF is, for example, packaged correctly and is cloud-ready.  When the packaging is created well, resources and configuration specific to the VNF are included and are transportable between one installation and the next.

One can summarize the CSP interest when they receive the VNF with the following points:

  • Autonomous VNF Life Cycle Operations – Customers have to be able to install, upgrade and manage the VNF themselves (they may decide not to do so, but that is their decision).
  • Compact – All components required to operate the VNF are packaged together. VNFCs are clearly defined, use unique and specific names and are included in the package.
  • Unambiguous – The VNF package provided must be verifiable in one manner or another.
  • Holistic – The packaged VNF must include all configuration required to deploy a healthy VNF.

We see clear evidence that being the Switzerland of NFV resonates well with customers and VNF partners.  How?  An increasing number of VNF vendors that certified their VNF with VMware vCloud NFV 1.5 are coming back to the lab to certify a newer version of their VNFs against our latest platform version.  We have 61 VNFs in our catalog at the time of publication and a pipeline that is forever growing.  We also see that the established Network Equipment Providers (NEPs) such as Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Cisco and ZTE, are steadily increasing the number of VNFs they are bringing to the certification lab. A year ago we had 2 VNFs from Ericsson in the program.  Today we have 9.  That is growth.

As we start field trials of 5G networks, and the race to announce the first commercial deployment is heating up; the whole industry needs to collaborate to deliver a truly pervasive communication technology.  The VMware Ready for NFV program is an example of collaboration and cooperation between vendors to help materialize the successful transformation to 5G.  Being the Switzerland of NFV, we may need to figure out how to virtualize Swiss chocolate.  Until that happens, we are happy to welcome all VNFs from all partners and use cases to our Ready for NFV program.

VMware and Kapsch to accelerate NFV journey for Service Providers in EMEA

NFV appeals to Service Providers (SPs) because it allows them to innovate quickly and speed up time to market for new services, allowing them to capitalize on an all-IP network infrastructure such as 5G.

To help SPs across EMEA with this mission, VMware and Kapsch CarrierCom are joining forces to deliver carrier-grade, cloud-native NFV solutions designed by Kapsch and based on the VMware’s vCloud NFV.

Combining the best of IT and telco world, the collaboration between VMware and Kapsch CarrierCom is powered by the unique NFV solution delivery capabilities and set to transform the networks of SPs, helping them tap into the full potential of the digital business. It is allowing any SP to set-up NFV solutions and integrate and onboard multiple third-party applications onto an open NFV infrastructure (NFVi), building a common base architecture for almost any use case.

As a member of the VMware Partner Program, Kapsch CarrierCom will offer professional services and deliver the VMware vCloud NFV solution to SPs in EMEA countries. With multi-disciplinary skillset and unparalleled systems integration experience, Kapsch is designing, cross-validating and delivering telco-ready, multi-vendor, cloud-native solutions, based on complex customer requirements.

Bringing together VMware’s vCloud NFV solution with Kapsch’ networking acumen, this collaboration will help guide customers through the complete journey of virtualization, allowing them to compete with OTT players and speed time to market for new services.

vCloud NFV Delivers

 Carrier-Grade Network Availability

vCloud NFV is a highly available, multi-tenancy platform that has been tuned for service provider requirements. With optimized resource management and prioritization of resources based on workloads, vCloud NFV ensures top performance, scalability and high resiliency for critical network services.

Streamlines Operations Management and Analytics

vCloud NFV delivers a single pane of glass with 360-degree visibility and monitoring along with predictive analytics and logging insights to provide greater control of the network. With policy-based automation, allocation and provisioning of virtual machine resources and providing ease of deployment of VNFs.

 Automate and Orchestrate Networks

vCloud NFV provides a Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM) that controls and manages the NFVI compute, storage and network resources. Automate and orchestrate the network infrastructure without worrying about the underlying physical configuration of resources.

The network industry faces a large learning curve over the next five years. And with the number of components needed to run network functions in the cloud, no single vendor or communications service provider can tackle this challenge alone.

Learn more about the SDN/NFV solutions that Kapsch provides.

Proactivity is the Winning Ingredient for Successful Network Operations – Active Assurance from VMware and Netrounds

Co-authored by Sumit Verdi and Kaela Loffler, VP Marketing Netrounds

Service assurance is paramount to the success of CSPs deploying services that meet the demanding expectations of customers today. To operate an on-demand network, CSPs must proactively ensure that they are continually meeting their SLA commitments.1

“NFV is shifting from a technology focus to operations, from ‘How do we do this?’ to ‘How do we operate this?’” wrote Sandra O’Boyle, the Senior Analyst at Heavy Reading focusing on CEM and Customer Analytics, in her recent article titled NFV Service Assurance – In Need of Big Data, Small Data, or Both?

O’Boyle also added that “CSPs are very clear they do not want to be over-run with meaningless events and data being pushed up from the resource later to the service management layer, and want to be able to prioritize customer-impacting events and automate fixes.”2

And active testing and monitoring is the key piece of the service assurance toolbox that CSPs need in order to ensure success with dynamic services. Active test data provides real time views on network service quality from the customer perspective and allows CSPs to automatically test services after each deployment or change.

To help our CSP customers take control over infrastructure health as well as service quality VMware and Netrounds developed our joint Active Assurance solution. The combined solution provides end-to-end service and infrastructure visibility, service monitoring and analytics, and service remediation to drive optimal network performance and deliver higher Quality of Experience for subscribers.

This solution helps our agile CSP customers to:

  • Test services from the end-customer perspective
  • Conduct ongoing real-time monitoring of services
  • Adapt automatically to dynamic service and infrastructure changes
  • Isolate issues and resolve problems faster through correlation across infrastructure and service metrics
  • Reduce manual activities for testing and troubleshooting
  • Maintain a comprehensive view of end-to-end service, virtualization, infrastructure, and inter-site transport quality with Netrounds and VMware vRealize Operations

The combination of VMware vRealize Operations and Netrounds offers service onboarding, active testing, continuous and scheduled monitoring and assurance for all deployed services, and closed-loop triggering for scaling and healing to minimize service degradations in real time. Where vRealize Operations continually monitors all infrastructure components responsible for the delivery of the service, from the underlying hardware to the hypervisor, networking, and virtual machines that make up the VNF and the service itself, Netrounds provides real-time insight into how the end customer is experiencing the service.

The VMware operations workflows leverage Netrounds’ programmable flexibility to drive on-demand tests for enhanced service performance analysis. Netrounds active monitoring will proactively detect service degradation for a VOIP service, for example, before it hits the end customer. This SLA violation will trigger a workflow that manages resource uplift for the media-plane telephone VMs. The workflow will also trigger an automatic test that validates that the service works according to the SLA after the resource change.

Next step? Proactively find and fix the issue before your customer notices a degradation in their service and calls in with complaints.

To read more about Active Assurance from VMware and Netrounds, read our solution overview here. Attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? Make sure to stop by VMware’s booth in Hall 3 Stand 3K10, from February 26 to March 1, to see Active Assurance live in action.

Keen to go a little deeper with a one-on-one demo and discussion? Contact us at demo@netrounds.com to schedule a meeting. We look forward to meeting you there!


1VMware and Netrounds Active Assurance Solution for Communications Service Providers Solution Overview

2Heavy Reading (2017). NFV Assurance and Analytics Survey. September 2017. n=105 service providers