Author Archives: Dharma Rajan

VMware vCloud NFV Hands-on-Lab is Now Available Online!

First introduced at VMworld 2016, the VMware vCloud NFV hands on lab (HOL) is now available online! The lab is designed for Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) practitioners, architects and decision makers looking to better understand the value of NFV. The lab shows how fast new Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services can be introduced using automation and orchestration in an NFV architecture.

Built with the support of VMware NFV partners, the lab comprises Orchestration from Gigaspaces‘ Cloudify and  Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) from Athonet . The VNFs include a virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS) and virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC). VMware vCloud NFV delivers the NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and the Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM) components to form a common, horizontal, NFV platform of compute, storage and networking. Continue reading

New Whitepaper – Common Platform Architecture for Network Function Virtualization Deployments

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) provides the technology pathway to meet next-generation  application  needs for mobile cloud adoption. Underpinning this is the virtualization of core infrastructure, such as compute, storage, and networking. Virtualizing key mobile networking functions, such as access networks (4G, LTE, CDMA, non-3GPP Wi-Fi), transport networks (radio access network [RAN], eNodeB, content delivery network [CDN]), and core networks (Evolved Packet Core  [EPC]), IP Multimedia Subsystem [IMS], VoLTE), is now reaching a phase where production-level deployments  are  starting to happen.

Download the full whitepaper here.

There are four key pillars of virtualization that form the basis for NFV. The focus of this paper is how NFV deployment can be achieved, using a “Common Platform” approach across access, transport, and core networks with a  high-performance  hypervisor for compute-, storage-, and network-level virtualization with an integrated operation management system. The software-based approach to providing logical networking functions, such as switching, routing, firewalling, and load balancing, is discussed.

From an operations perspective, this  paper covers how the virtual infrastructure network will scale, provide high availability, deliver carrier-grade characteristics, and support in managing virtual network function (VNF) with operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS). Finally, the road ahead, with opportunities that need to be researched, is also presented


VMware vCloud NFV Platform Wins 2016 NFV innovation of the Year Award

This year’s 4th Annual Network Virtualization & SDN Europe event proved to the Awards-Logo-2016Communication Service Provider (CSP) industry that NFV is for real, is in production and is here to stay. NFV will lead the evolution of a next-generation virtualized Telco ecosystem. I had the honour of representing VMware was truly honoured when VMware was recognized with the NFV Innovation of the Year Award for 2016, which I proudly accepted on behalf of the team.

The NFV Innovation of the Year award recognizes the company that the judges felt had demonstrated the most significant impact in facilitating the development of the NFV market over the last year, through devising an innovative NFV Proof of Concept or introducing a new service which will help to revolutionise the market, removing barriers and helping to make technology virtualization a reality. VMware vCloud NFV was selected on the basis of the platform’s capabilities for helping customers and the overall NFV market development.

The vCloud NFV Platform combines production-proven NFVI solutions with VMware and OpenStack-based VIM orchestration and powerful Day 2 operations capabilities that serves as an intelligent service delivery platform for telecommunication, IT and cloud services. As such it is a common platform that enables operators to maximize the efficiencies of a cloud-based operating model across all aspects of their business. This is only achievable due to the advanced resource management (separation) and resource scheduling (dynamic workload management) capabilities within the product suit. These capabilities persist as policy-based automated processes at time of provisioning, moves, adds and changes. It is largely this operating capability that enables customers to advance beyond proof of concept to live service.

There are now in excess of 45 live NFV deployments globally running on VMware virtualized infrastructure and delivering a wide spectrum of mobile and fixed line services. The first vCloud NFV-based deployment was announced with Vodafone Germany whose VoLTE service went live in February 2014. Since then customers who have been publically announced include Ooredoo (vIMS), Internet Initiative Japan (vCPE) and SmartSky (vEPC for in -flight services).

VMware, as the leader of virtualization, sees NFV as a right next step that every CSP should embrace to grow and thrive in the rapidly changing world of cloud and DevOps. This ecosystem is just starting to take off and VMware will play a very critical role in shaping this ecosystem for success.


Live 4G Mobile Applications Deployment Demonstration on the VMware vCloud NFV Platform at Mobile World Congress

This post was co-authored by Dharma Rajan, Philip Kippen, and Mikael Brihed – VMware

Recently at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, VMware demonstrated a reliable, model-driven approach for Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) mobile calling. The demonstration included application modeling, application blueprinting, provisioning, configuration, virtual network functions (VNFs) deployment, end-to-end service activation, and making live mobile calls using 4G LTE devices, with the entire process taking less than ten minutes, start to finish. This was the industry’s first and fastest network function virtualization (NFV) demonstration, proving that NFV is real and achievable for telecom environments in multi-vendor ecosystems, with service provider-expected quality of service. This demonstration is proof of VMware infrastructure platform readiness for volume deployment in production for service providers.

VMware collaborated with its customer Ooredoo as its partner in this demonstration. Ooredoo is the largest service provider in the Middle East region, deploying NFV on a VMware vCloud® NFV™ infrastructure (NFVI) common platform infrastructure base. Ooredoo has been very successful at designing and deploying in a production OneCloud environment, using VMware vSphere® for compute virtualization, VMware NSX® for network virtualization and security, VMware vCloud Director® for secure multi-tenancy, VMware vRealize® Operations™ suite for management, VMware vRealize® Automation™ with Application Director and VMware Site Recovery Manger™ for disaster recovery, driving a fully carrier-grade NFV deployment that only VMware infrastructure can provide.

VMware provides the NFVI platform, which can host multi-vendor VNFs or multi-VNFs from a single vendor in the vCloud NFV environment. Athonet, a VMware partner, provided the VNFs for virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) and for virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS), as well as the Home Subscriber Server (HSS). The following VNFs from Athonet were deployed on the VMware infrastructure:

vApps – vEPC: VNFs include:

  • Serving Gateway (SGW) and Packet Data Network Gateway (PGW) for the user plane.
  • Mobility Management Entity (MME) for the control plane.
  • Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) for application layer functions.

vApps – vIMS: VNFs include:

  • Session Border Controller (SBC) and Proxy Call Session Control Function (P-CSCF) for the signaling plane.
  • Interrogating CSCF (I-CSCF) and Serving CSCF (S-CSCF), which support Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) as per 3GPP standards to handle mobile call service.
  • Media Gateway Call Function (MGCF) for connection to legacy PSTN networks.

vApp HSS: The HSS was pre-deployed and pre-provisioned with subscriber data.

How Fast, “Fast” Really Is – From VNF to VoLTE Service Deployment

Figure 1 shows the demo environment’s NFV architecture.

Figure 1. NFV Demo Architecture

Figure 1. NFV Demo Architecture

The VNF software runs as application software, fully decoupled from the operating system. Thus, each VNF runs as a native application. The entire process of deploying 10+ VNFs was completed in a matter of less than four minutes. A small cell radio access node installed at the MWC arena provided the needed cell tower access for air interface. After the first vEPC and vIMS are deployed, service activation allows the small cell to be powered up, and be ready for call processing. The virtualized NFV system is now ready to handle mobile calls. Figure 2 shows a view of mobile call flows for a VoLTE call, and call flow path leveraging the external PSTN network.  Figure 3 shows the logical VXLAN networks and connectivity defined for the VNFs in the service package.

Figure 2. VoLTE Call Flow Model

Figure 2. VoLTE Call Flow Model


Figure 3. VXLAN Network Connectivity

Figure 3. VXLAN Network Connectivity


 VoLTE internal calls within the MWC event arena and external calls using mobile phone numbers of voluntary audience were successfully demonstrated. The audience experienced the fast deployment, service activation process and were also were able to experience the clear voice call quality with no delay.

The sequence of steps and the demo can be seen in the video below:
NFV Demo Video-MWC