VMware partners with Broadband Forum to instantiate 1st European Open Broadband Lab – a multi-vendor Industry Sandbox for innovation and incubation for Cloud based Broadband.

I am excited to see the next wave of innovation VMware is bringing to the table in the Cloud Central Office Project at Broadband Forum (BBF)!  VMware has partnered with Broadband Forum (see press release) in creating the 1st European Open Broadband Lab , at the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) premises in Berlin.

The business advantages of an Open Broadband Lab are manifold:

  • Service Providers can now leverage a vendor-neutral, and multi-vendor-capable Cloud environment.  They can use this enviroment to verify their Broadband Use Cases and verify interoperability across vendor provided and/or Open Source solutions. Furthermore, they can consume the environment ‘-as-a-service’ and can count on its ability to bootstrap various topologies.  This removes the need for staging of interoperability labs.
  • Vendors can demonstrate their value, and their interoperability capabilities with other vendors and/or Open Source in an open, collaborative and neutral manner.
  • The Broadband Forum can use the Open Broadband Lab to verify and influence its Technical Work with the Cloud Central Office Project.
  • The industry as a whole profits from this Industry Sandbox, enabling innovation and incubation for Cloud Broadband.

Cloud Central Office, a foundation for the Open Broadband Lab

The Cloud Central Office’s aim is to define an architecture for a distributed Cloud based Broadband System that leverages Software defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV), consumeable  -as-a-Service.

As a short recap of my previous blog, here is how work is progressed at the Cloud Central Office Project at BBF to that effect:

  • Use Cases for a Cloud Central Office are documented through “Application Notes” (AppNotes). These show the needed interactions across the Interfaces between the Functional Elements in the Cloud Central Office Architectural Framework, as a result of an outside actor engaging with the system.
  • The chain of interactions between the Functional Elements define WHAT functionality is needed inside those Functional Elements without needing to know HOW it is achieved. This allows implementations leveraging Open Source and/or Vendor Provided Software.
  • Candidates for Interfaces are documented (both in terms of the protocol, as well as the information flowing over those interfaces). It is assumed that existing Standards or OpenSource Interfaces will be leveraged as much as possible.
  • AppNotes are instantiated and Test Cases are executed to perform a gap analysis is in order to see whether:
    • The candidate Interface is working as expected.
    • Information Models have to be developed for it (e.g. YANG models, etc).
    • Open Source APIs/Interfaces will have to be adapted or perhaps even upstreamed back into the relevant Open Source community.

The First European Open Broadband Lab, enabled by VMware

In order to allow instantiating these  AppNotes in a Vendor-Neutral and Multi-Vendor environment, various ‘Open Broadband Labs’ will be created across the globe.  Open Broadband Labs will also provide an industry sandbox to accelerate multi-vendor innovation and incubation in areas like Cloud Broadband, 5G, network slicing and wireless-wireline convergence, independent of the AppNotes process.

For the European Open Broadband Lab at EANTC in Berlin, VMware has provided the NFVI portion of the TR-384 Architectural Framework by implementing our VMware vCloud NFV– Openstack Edition, see figure 1 below.

Figure 1 : vCloud NFV as basis for the Open Broadband Lab

VMware vCloud NFV is an ETSI-compliant, fully integrated, modular, multi-tenant platform, and by providing an OpenStack Virtual Infrastructure Manager, we are providing an Open Interface towards 3rdparty Virtual Network Function Managers (VNFM) and Network Function Virtualization Orchestrators (NFVO), including Open Source MANO (OSM) and Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).  vCloud NFV includes NSXvSpherevSAN, and a range of vRealize Suite products to allow Day 2 Operations such as vRealize Log InsightvRealize Operations, and vRealize Network Insight.

Consumption of the Open Broadband Lab

The Lab, as seen in Figure 2 below, will provide internal Active Directory, DNS and NTP services for internal components, as well as firewalled external access to a set of components such as:

  • A Jumpbox, to allow ingesting software and other artifacts, to upgrade the lab, or install new software components.
  • A Terminal Server, to allow access to the management components of the Lab, for remote management
  • API access to the Services built on top of the Lab.
  • remote access is achieved through VPN and the Domain API is accessible for remote on-boarding of new services.
Figure 2 : Remote Access into the Open Broadband Lab

We are very exited to be helping Broadband Forum in their efforts of making the next generation Broadband Architecture a reality! Furthermore, this shows that VMware is serious about Next Generation Telco Infrastructure by providing this ‘Industry Sandbox!

For more information, or to be part of the Open Broadband Lab, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!


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