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Tag Archives: network functions virtualization

VMware Launches its Digital Telco Badge for vCloud NFV at Mobile World Congress 2019

Gain NFV Knowledge

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is a critical building block for 5G networks. VMware’s vCloud NFV solution is already a cornerstone of telco virtualization and has been deployed by more than 70 CSPs globally supporting a wide variety of use cases, supporting hundreds of VNFs in production and more than 600+ million mobile subscribers. To support our global customers and accelerate their success as they transform to digital providers of 5G, Edge and IOT services, we are proud to announce the immediate availability of the VMware PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR badge.

The VMware PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR badge proves that customers understand the concept of virtualization, what VMware solutions can do, and what that means to the telco industry. It further demonstrates that customers understand how VMware vCloud NFV with vCloud Director specifically can accelerate time to revenue, automate service lifecycle and simplify operations management – all while reducing network infrastructure costs.

The VMware PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR is delivered in part, through modern learning programs that foster professional development and acknowledge accomplishments. VMware’s digital badges recognize knowledge, skills, and competency through secure, verifiable digital credentials. Holders of the VMware badge can use it on their business card, LinkedIn profile, or any other digital media.

Skills demonstrated by the PRACTIONER in NFV WITH VCLOUD DIRECTOR badge holder include:

Earning Criteria

Communication service providers can receive 15% off the VMware vCloud NFV with vCloud Director course by sending an email to nfv@vmware.com by April 15, 2019.

Visit the VMware booth at Mobile World Congress in Hall 3 Stand 3M11.

Open Works Here! Migrating Telco Providers and Partners to a Tried and True Multi-Cloud Ready Open Stack

Greetings from OpenStack Summit! We’re here this week to talk about the opportunities for OpenStack. Telcos and CSPs in particular have looked to OpenStack as the centerpiece of their virtualization and software-defined infrastructure strategy, which is needed as we move towards 5G, multi-access edge computing (MEC)/edge and IoT scenarios. Unfortunately, OpenStack has not quite realized its potential in this regard. Telcos trying to stand up OpenStack for their NFV deployments today face significant operational complexity, cost overruns and scaling challenges—inviting questions about the efficacy of their deployments and causing them to look for new ways to problem solve for OpenStack. Further complicating matters is the drive to a distributed architecture with cloud, core and edge computing, and the move toward modern application architectures in the mobile-cloud era.

VMware has embarked on a two-pronged approach to address the dire need to make OpenStack work:

  1. Deliver a robust OpenStack offering VMware Integrated OpenStack, that provides the best of OpenStack, yet fixes some of its key flaws, and
  2. Enable providers and partners to convert & migrate their VNFs to be able to take advantage of VMware Integrated OpenStack and vCloud NFV, leveraging VMware HCX.

VMware Integrated OpenStack: OpenStack That Works:

VMware is addressing the need for more effective OpenStack deployments head-on with a leading virtualization platform, allowing our system integrator partners to provide a unified framework across IT, network and edge for telcos worldwide. VIO is VMware’s answer to the challenges of operationalizing OpenStack—and customers using the VMware OpenStack migration service will automatically have access to VMware Integrated OpenStack. We released VMware Integrated OpenStack 5.1 today.

Key features include:

  • Queens-based OpenStack Distribution—take advantage of the latest upstream functionality using the most recent OpenStack release
  • Streamlined OpenStack Deployment—quickly deploy a standard OpenStack on top of VMware SDDC. Perform upgrades with minimal disruption. This results in accelerated time to revenue.
  • Best-of-Breed Infrastructure—take advantage of advanced enterprise and cloud features and capabilities delivered by VMware vSphere, VMware NSX and VMware vSAN, including better security, high availability, simplified maintenance and disaster recovery.
  • Integrated Operations and Management—Out-of-the-box vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Automation integrations for streamlined operations such as health checks, troubleshooting and capacity management, as well as governance and control with user management, role-based access control (RBAC), quotas and more.
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack “in a box”—build small-footprint, highly-resilient micro data centers based on VMware Integrated OpenStack and have full control over these micro data centers and apps via automated, API driven orchestration and lifecycle management.

HCX – OpenStack Migration Services:

We talked about how VMware Integrated OpenStack significantly solves some of the critical issues above. But how do we get to the desired state? To help with this change, we’re introducing new migration services to enable customers to move from alternative OpenStack deployments to VMware Integrated OpenStack. We welcome providers and partners to contact us regarding early engagements with VMware to leverage such migration services.

 

The migration service leverages VMware HCX technology, which provides a seamless way to migrate workloads across private, hybrid and public clouds. HCX now additionally can convert OpenStack VMs running on KVM to migrate and run on VMware Integrated OpenStack. For telcos and CSPs, this capability now creates a common foundation across their IT, B2B, and NFV environments (the telco cloud). Additionally, it also connects these telco clouds to private, public, hybrid and edge environments. Thus, for the first time, we can have a unified architecture across IT, cloud tech (CT), network tech (NT) and edge tech (ET), accelerating the journey to 5G, edge/MEC, and IoT use cases.

 

“VMware has made a breakthrough in OpenStack production readiness—no question,” said John Antonio, CSO of IDX, a VMware partner. “Telcos and CSPs have struggled with making OpenStack work effectively in their environments, and instead of abandoning their investment, they can now work with VMware to benefit from their “PRODUCTION READY” legacy and entirely managed migration of their OpenStack deployments. VMware has the virtualization chops and the right mix of traditional and new technology to effectively serve these customers and enable them to make the most of OpenStack.”

By providing a dependable OpenStack solution that includes a robust stack, and a migration service to get there, VMware is taking the complexity out of OpenStack to enable customers to capture value from their existing deployments. Finally, there will be an OpenStack that can work for carriers and CSPs at scale.

For more information on VMware’s OpenStack migration managed service, please visit booth B14 at OpenStack Summit in Berlin.

 

 

Production Ready OpenStack Cloud, obviously.

My team just announced a new OpenStack distribution for our NFV platform – VMware Integrated OpenStack-Carrier Edition.  It is a great solution for our customers looking to benefit from a carrier-grade Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) platform while leveraging OpenStack to run their Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) workloads.  The new distribution is our response to customers asking for a robust and proven NFV environment on which they can monetize NFV services, while also supporting their developers with OpenStack APIs.  We’ve packaged the distribution with our current NFV platform to deliver to market VMware vCloud NFV OpenStack Edition. With vCloud NFV-OpenStack, developers can “benefit” from the same Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that the operations team commits to in order to actually generate revenue.  It is THAT solid.  How is VMware able to offer such a robust solution? By the time you are finished reading this blog post the answer will be clear.

VMware is strongly committed to providing our customers with the flexibility to choose the best Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM) within the vCloud NFV platform to meet their business priorities. One of our VIMs is VMware vCloud Director which is loved by many of our customers already in production. The other VIM is VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO)-Carrier Edition. VMware has had a DefCore-compliant OpenStack distribution since 2015, and our latest release is an OpenStack 2017.01 Octata-based distribution. If a customer decides to use VIO-CE as the VIM, it provides the customer the best of both worlds: they can select their VIM based on the APIs they want to use to deploy NFV services, and be assured that it has been fully integrated, tested, and certified with our NFV infrastructure. We also incorporated new VIO-CE-focused test cases into our VNF interoperability program, VMware Ready for NFV, and are actively testing interoperability between leading VNFs and both VIMs.  To this day, 21 of our 43 Ready for NFV certified VNFs ) already support earlier versions VMware Integrated OpenStack, and will be re-certified on VIO-CE as soon as the code goes GA.  Our VNF partners are always given the option to choose which VIM in vCloud NFV they want to test their VNFs with, so having 21 partners supporting VMware Integrated OpenStack is a testament to their own customers interest in OpenStack.

With the introduction of our vCloud NFV-OpenStack, we are updating the Ready for NFV program scope to provide our VNF partners with a way to make sure that they are benefiting from the new carrier-specific capabilities we have introduced in VIO-CE.  The new tests also help communication service providers in using the new capabilities as soon as they install the new distribution.  In essence, a production-ready OpenStack environment to run revenue-generating network services is a reality.  Obviously.

A few of the new VIO-CE features that we added to the VMware Ready for NFV program scope are highlighted below.

  • Multi-tenancy and VNF resource reservation – customers that are used to the abstraction layers available in vCloud Director love splitting their physical data centre into purpose built-constructs. They tend to carve out virtual data centres to various VNFs using the Organization Virtual Data Center (OvDC) available in vCloud Director. OpenStack does not have an equivalent construct since data centers are broken down into projects and resources are not limited to specific virtual data centers.  Typically, resources are allocated based on first-come, first-served approach. Well, with VIO-CE, we introduce a new concept called Tenant Virtual Data Center. In the updated Ready for NFV program we are looking to test that a Tenant Virtual Data Center (Tenant vDC) can host a VNF and ensure strong resource isolation so that one workload does not infringe on the other. The benefit of this function is that the network provider can deliver Service Level Agreements (SLAs)-based services on shared infrastructure without worrying if the resources assigned to the VNF will be available at all times.
  • Dynamic Resource Scaling – one of the benefits of transitioning workloads from dedicated hardware to software is the ability to quickly provide the virtualized function with more hardware resources if the function needs them. There are two ways to scale resources: scale-out and scale-up.  In our work with VNF partners we see that scaling-out in response to workload demand is well supported. This method is somewhat limited as it creates another instance of the VNF component that requires the same amount of resources that are already being consumed. The ability to provide a finer grain control of resources in a running VNF is realized when resizing a live network function. This live resizing of a VNF component, by adding the appropriate required resources to the running VNF without the need to reboot the component, is supported by VIO-CE and is obviously tested in the Ready for NFV program scope
  • Advanced Networking – There are several advanced networking capabilities that are introduced in VIO-CE that are important for the NFV use case and that are covered by our program.  For example, the ability to attach various types of networking interfaces to a VNF component using neutron is crucial.  We see this type of functionality as especially of interest to data plane intensive workloads.  In some cases, the VNF component is looking for a direct pass-through interface directly to the physical Network Interface Card (NIC) while also using some virtualized interfaces.  Data plane traffic typically uses the direct pass-through path while management and control plane interfaces are happy to use our VMXNET3 para-virtualized network interface.  This is an obvious operational use case that we translated to our Ready for NFV test plan.  We also have seen use cases where the VNF component is using VLAN tags to scale the number of virtual interfaces.  This is especially useful for NFV use cases such as virtual routers or Packet Gateway.  The ability of the VNF component to tag traffic with a VLAN is also tested in our Ready for NFV program.

One of the nice things in a modular architecture, is the ability to change modules.  VMware customers with a vCloud NFV environment can experiment with OpenStack alongside their production setup.  In fact, they do not need to put all their eggs in one basket and can experiment with VIO-CE in the lab while continuing to run their production workloads using vCloud Director. With an ever-increasing number of VNF partners supporting VIO-CE, our customers also have a production ready OpenStack cloud.

Jambi

MNOs come out fighting: the great industry come-back

Doing nothing is not an option

There’s a groundswell of chatter and opinion-sharing about the pressures swirling around the network; perfect storm formations of connected things, smarter devices, and 5th generation mobile networks. For a long time, we’ve been able to feel 5G in the air.

It would be a mistake to do nothing in the light of these trends. MNOs cannot take refuge in established mainstream subscriber services, and simply offer more competitive rates. Analysis Mason’s predictions for the telecoms, media and technology sectors 2017 features digital experience as the third big thing in its top ten predictions: “Network operators will increasingly use digital experience initiatives to appeal to digital natives.”

Fourth on the same list is a suggestion that “an increase in the volume of mobile video traffic will lead network operators to invest in virtualized video delivery and traffic management solutions.”

In a recent blog – Monetizing the network: operators’ new models – my colleague addressed the ‘dumb pipe’ syndrome. He suggested that only by meeting new subscriber demand for more sophisticated services could operators expect to retain and build business. Meeting this demand requires an honest reassessment of how fit the business is, in its current format, to accommodate new demands subscribers are making on their service providers.

It can be done. All is far from doom and gloom. Focus is important; leaving the past behind and turning the business on its axis. Everything is getting smart. Once upon a time it was just the mobile phone. Now connected cars are well on their way and wearables are gaining pace of adoption and consumer popularity. Deloitte’s 2017 Telecommunications Industry Outlook observes:

…”wearables such as smart watches and fitness bands have seen tremendous percentage growth. Smartwatch penetration doubled from 2014 to 2015 and tripled in 2016; smartwatches have now penetrated roughly 12 percent of the mobile consumer market in the US.”

Market dynamics

One is tempted to wonder which type of organization stands most to benefit from network-dependent new technologies, such as the Digital Assistant. Will disruptors continue to cannibalize the market? History suggests that they will, unless market dynamics change.

Past incursions such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook have established an evolutionary pattern – the fittest are surviving and thriving. These OTT service providers are delivering exciting and relevant services that customers are finding to be more useful and engaging than traditional services. What’s more, they are delivering these services through the pipes built by the MNOs.

Look no further than this year’s CES, where Amazon’s Alexa stole the show and is already being incorporated in products from LG, Lenovo, GE and even Ford, the latter putting it into cars.

If these significant recent trends are anything to go by it is easy to imagine that these organizations, and others like them, are already planning their service propositions to meet IoT and its potentially limitless manifestations.

Claim your share

Here’s some advice that has stood the test of time ever since Fleetwood Mac released Rumours, back in 1977:

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow, Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,

It’ll be, better than before, Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Tomorrow will only be better than before for MNOs if they take such advice and start obsessing about tomorrow. Any five-years out view, based on offering network services as they are today, is simply not realistic. ‘Better than before’ is not a right. It has to be claimed.

Here’s what KPMG had to say last year about tomorrow for the ‘traditional telco’:“(it) will struggle to survive beyond the next decade …unless it embraces the opportunity presented by digital.” [1]

A need to adapt is clearly emerging as a theme in just about every blog and pronouncement you read nowadays. Everybody agrees that the fittest will survive and I was delighted to note another observation from KPMG that largely concurred with my own long-held views:

“Their (Telcos’) first challenge must be to shift the prevailing business mind-set from one focused on engineering to one focused on the customer. There remains a legacy culture in some Telcos in which the customer is a secondary consideration to engineering.” [2]

The new battleground

My colleague talked about the need for agility in provisioning new services in a blog ‘MNOs might never be the same again’. Legacy network infrastructures, or – more to the point – the legacy style of thinking that goes with them, are highly suspect as foundations for competitive agility in the future. Customer focus will be the new battleground – requiring new thinking and a new, agile approach to network technologies that permit speed of response and dynamic services provision.

Video, picked out in Analysis Mason’s predictions, is but one area to prepare for. IoT will be soon upon us. MNOs need to be ready to meet the demands of the modern customer. Providing digital services and great customer experiences is necessary to win. The most important thing is to recognize the need for change now. It will all soon be here. A transition to software-driven architecture, providing the agility and flexibility that a changing world craves, can be made in such a way as to retain many of the robust and still valuable capabilities derived from existing investments.

How realistic is it to move swiftly to a customer-centric business mind-set? I’d welcome your views on the great MNO come-back, particularly with regards to the people skills you think are most likely to make it possible and how those skills can be deployed.

Industry’s first Open VNF Onboarding Hackathon a great success!

MWC 2017 was the venue chosen by VMware, Intel and Cloudify to kick off a co-innovation project to address one of the biggest challenges to the rapid deployment of NFV-based services: VNF onboarding. Continue reading

VMware, Intel and Cloudify to sponsor the first VNF On-Boarding Hackathon at Mobile World Congress

VMware, Intel and Cloudify to sponsor the first VNF On-Boarding Hackathon at Mobile World Congress; a critical new initiative to accelerate the adoption of telecom services over virtualized infrastructure.

Continue reading

The three top habits of tomorrow’s successful service provider

This blog was first posted by Gabriele Di Piazza on LinkedIn here

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Fit for purpose

There will be two types of Communication Service Provider (CSP) in the next few years: those who will have embraced transformation and championed change within the organisation, and those who have adopted a follower approach. Success is most likely to lie with those embracing transformation and change. Within these organisations, preparations underway now will see the gap widen between them and those following as they begin to realise the power of a software-defined service capability and deploy different strategies and tactics to the CSP of todayThey’ll have different teams, skills, and services. Continue reading

Inside the Telco camp on the eve of the revolution

This blog was first posted by Honore’ Labourdette on LinkedIn heremba blog 1 header

The past is behind us

Telcos have been through an exhausting time in recent years. Nerves and profits have become a little frayed. As MWC17 approaches, however, there is every sign that things are about to change. To put it another way, there is overwhelming pressure to make sure they do. Continue reading

Meet VMware NFV Experts at Light Reading’s “OSS in the Era of SDN and NFV” Event.

On November 3rd in London VMware colleagues and myself will be joining industry leaders at this Light Reading event. We will be discussing the impact of virtualization on higher-order Operational Support Systems (OSS), and considering whether this is ‘evolution or revolution’.

Across the globe many operators already rely on VMware infrastructure for their OSS (and internal IT) services. Whether through the deployment of OSS applications on a VMware vSphere environment, or through embedded VMware technology in third party OSS products from leading network equipment providers (NEPs).

NFV and SDN are all about creating a software-defined virtualized service delivery platform. OSS systems largely run on virtualised environments today. So on the face of it, bringing together a virtualized OSS environments and a virtualized service delivery platform should be straight forward – shouldn’t it? Continue reading

Brocade and Versa Networks certify for vCloud NFV

Having  announced the VMware Ready certification program for NFV at last month’s VMworld event in Barcelona, two of VMware’s leading technology partners have completed the formal certificatVMWReady-LGO-NTWK-FNCTNS-VIRTZTN-Metalion process to become VMware Ready for NFV.

The VMware Ready program designates VMware’s highest level of endorsement for products and solutions created by our established partners. The accreditation builds customer confidence and accelerates partner opportunity.

Brocade and Versa Networks have already shown leadership in delivering real-world NFV solutions to Communication Service Providers (CSPs) running on the VMware virtualization platform. The VMware Ready certification provides CSPs with the confidence that NFV solutions will deploy, run, and interoperate with vCloud NFV.

Brocade vEPC is a software-based fully virtualized Evolved Packet Core (EPC) designed from the ground-up for a virtualized environment that consists of independent slices of control, data, and session management. This design is free of the redundant functionality and inter-node interfaces that increase costs and reduce performance in hardware-based packet cores. With Brocade vEPC you have any-size network with linear performance scaling on Intel x86 servers for cost-effective business growth.

Versa Networks FlexVNF software provides a broad set of carrier-grade virtualized network and security functions (VNF) that can scale out/in on-demand, and provide full multi-tenancy. Versa VNFs include a full set of networking capabilities such as routing, DHCP, QoS, CGNAT, IPsec VPN, and SD-WAN, as well as a wide range of basic and advanced security functions like stateful/next generation firewall, URL filtering, IPS/AV, and malware protection.

It’s exciting to have Brocade and Versa Networks join the VMware Ready for NFV program and I’m looking forward to more partners certifying in the near future.

You can find out more at:

Brocade vEPC VMware Ready for NFV

Versa Networks FlexVNF VMware Ready for NFV

VMware vCloud NFV

VMware Solution Exchange

 

Nigel Stephenson

VMware Telco NFV Group