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Author Archives: Sumit Verdi

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

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!

References:

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