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VMware Ready for NFV Adds Self-Certification Option to Accelerate VNF Deployment

In August 2011, Marc Andreessen famously quipped in a Wall Street Journal article that “software is eating the world.” About a year later, network functions virtualization (NFV) took root, and our entire telecommunications industry began its journey from purpose-built boxes to software.

And as we march toward 5G, we’ve just made that journey easier and faster by giving our partners a new choice in our VMware Ready for NFV program: self-certification.

Vast Ecosystem of VNFs

But first, here’s a little background about how we’ve built a vast ecosystem of virtual network functions (VNFs) with choice at its heart.

VMware has been involved in NFV 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 most: 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 network functions that have we have certified in our lab to work with VMware vCloud NFV.

The ecosystem certification program we run is called VMware 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’s traditional and emerging suppliers.

Self-Certification

We recently announced our self-certification extension to the Ready for NFV program. Self-certification gives partners yet another choice: The option to use the VMware testing cloud to verify that their network functions work with VMware vCloud NFV. Self-certification also helps prepare relevant workloads for easy deployment with VMware Telco Cloud Automation.

The original on-premises path that tests partner network functions in the VMware lab remains available. It is well suited to certifying large network functions and hardware-dependent functions.

The cloud-based self-certification path gives partners more flexibility to define their own time lines, helps them certify more workloads, and reduces dependencies on building an on-premises lab for preparations.

Regardless of the path that a partner takes to certification, the program’s scope and test methodology is identical. The program maintains its high quality standards by using the same automation for both the on-premises and the cloud-based certifications.

Benefits of Self-Certification

Our passion in operating the program has always been helping our partners and our customers with their journey to the world of software. The self-certification option advances our customers’ transformation to software in four ways:

  • Choice. Our customers are in different phases of their journey. They operate different versions of our platform and different versions of their virtual network functions. By offering a self-certification extension, we help vendors verify that any version of their software is ready to quickly be deployed in any version of our customers’ telco cloud.
  • Agility. The first few migration projects take a while and are a learning phase for an organization: processes get tuned, operational aspects are ironed out, and sometimes even the procurement process changes. We then see a clear hockey-stick effect in VNF deployment. Because self-certification is easier and quicker than using our on-premises lab, we expect to see the hockey-stick effect appear earlier in the deployment process.
  • Efficiency. The VMware Ready for NFV program has evolved over the past four years. These days the program focuses on educating vendors on our platform capabilities. 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 prepare without needing a large hardware installation.
  • Focus. Our Ready for NFV team has probably more experience onboarding and deploying virtual network functions than any other organization in the world. The team has performed more than 120 certifications. And we wanted to allow our team to really focus on what our partners need the most–guidance when unique problems arise. The self-certification program frees our resources to help partners with their unique and hard questions.

Self-Certification Process

The process to use the self-certification program is easy. Our partners can point their browser to a url, download a few artifacts, launch a remote desktop, and onboard their network function into our testing cloud. The partner then selects the tests to be executed.

Once the tests are complete, the partner sees a graphical representation of their network function’s success against the certification guide. The partner can then decide on the next steps. If all is well, the partner provides our team with the report bundle. To maintain the program’s high quality standards, an engineer in the Ready for NFV program reviews the results.

Figure 1: The VMware Ready for NFV self-certification process.

 

Speeding Up the Software-Defined Transition to 5G

The telecommunications industry is doubling down on software. In the last seven years, we adopted virtual machines as a way to deploy network functions. And 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 impossible without software.

We are committed to supporting our customers on the path to 5G by accelerating their transformation, reducing their operational costs, and improving their time to market.

Thanks for reading Jambi Ganbar, Director, Telco Partners Solution Validation, VMware

Connect with us: To certify a network function through the VMware Ready for NFV program, reach out to us at TelcoCloudCertification@vmware.com.

 

 

 

Telco Bits & Bytes – 14 May 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

VMware Bits

Technology Bytes

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 30 April 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

VMware Bits

Technology Bytes

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 16 April 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

VMware Bits

Technology Bytes

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 2 April 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the next edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat. Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

VMware Bits

Technology Bytes

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Telco Bits & Bytes – 19 March 2020

Our regular roundup of the technology news that matters

Welcome to the first edition of our ‘Telco Bits & Bytes’ news blog. Here we share news and insights from across VMware and the technology industry that caught our attention, so you don’t miss a beat.  Let us know in the comments below how we can improve this service and enjoy!

VMware Bits

Industry Bytes

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4 VMware Telco Events to Get You Ready for MWC Barcelona 2020


The biggest telco event of the year, Mobile World Congress, is fast approaching, and of course, VMware will be participating, exhibiting, and presenting our innovative telco cloud solutions in Barcelona. But what if you can’t wait till the end of February to hear what we’ve got in store?

Well, you’re in luck. We have a number of events coming up for you to learn more about our latest solutions and how we’re helping our customers today. Here’s how you can connect with us in the next few weeks:

Event: TM Forum’s Middle East Event

Join us at TM Forum’s Digital Transformation Middle East event in Dubai on the 20th and 21st where 400+ communication service providers and suppliers from across the globe will come together at the Conrad Dubai hotel to share best-practices around accelerating their internal digital transformation. We’ll be there and if you’re interested in meeting our regional team, send an email to telcocloudteam@vmware.com and we’ll put you in touch.

Webinar: Taking Innovation and Disruption to the Edge

Register for the Mobile World Live ‘Taking Innovation and Disruption to the Edge’ webinar on Tuesday, January 28th where ASOCS, VMware and GSMA Intelligence will discuss how you can successfully deliver edge cloud services. Amongst other things we’ll be presenting what it takes to successfully deliver telco edge cloud services including how to overcome barriers and sharing successful use cases.

Webinar: The Total Economic Impact™ Of A Common Platform Approach to NFV (coming soon)

Stay tuned for details about our upcoming webinar with the GSMA on Tuesday, February 11th. In the webinar, we’ll discuss the Forrester Consulting ‘The Total Economic Impact™ Of A Common Platform Approach to NFV’ study which compares the incremental total economic impact of a common platform deployment for NFV with a vertical stack approach. Once details are final, we’ll post them to our LinkedIn page.

Webinar: Orchestration & Automation for the Telco Cloud Era

Enroll for the Light Reading ‘Orchestration & Automation for the Telco Cloud Era’ webinar on Thursday, February 13th. VMware subject matter experts will be discussing the growing need for cloud-first orchestration including the state of Management and Network Orchestration (MANO) in the market and what’s required for the transition from NFV to telco cloud. Finally, bookmark and keep up to date on our plans for MWC2020 on our dedicated event microsite which showcases some of the ways you can meet with us in Barcelona including how to request a meeting with us at our stand in Hall 3 and details of our key note speaking session.

We’re really excited about what’s coming up in 2020 and we look forward to seeing you in Barcelona if not before at these events!

Check out telco.vmware.com for more information on VMware Telco Cloud offerings and follow us on Twitter (@vmwaretelco) for all the latest news and announcements around VMware telco. 

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.

 

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

Changing CSP Network Requirements

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

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

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

VMware vCloud NFV – A platform for Multi-Cloud

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

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

VMware vCloud NFV 3.0 vCloud Director Edition

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

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

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

Evolution of Networking in vCloud NFV

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

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

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

VMware Ready for NFV

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

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

Additional Resources

To learn more about VMware’s vCloud NFV Platform

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.