The telecom industry is clearly excited about Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), but this excitement has been accompanied by major concerns. One big worry is the risk involved. To realize the benefits of NFV, the industry must move to a mixed supplier environment – one where systems from different providers work together smoothly. Service providers are understandably skeptical about this possibility. Given the history of the industry, how can they be sure that multi-vendor solutions can achieve interoperability?
Wind River is answering this question with its Titanium Cloud ecosystem. The ecosystem is designed to ensure interoperability with the Wind River* Titanium Server, a highly integrated NFV platform (Figure 1). The ecosystem includes both hardware partners like Kontron and HP, as well as software providers like Brocade, GENBAND, Metaswitch Networks, Nakina Systems, and Overture. Because these hardware and software products have been pre-integrated and validated with Wind River’s NFV solutions, service providers and telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) can confidently select them for deployment in live networks.
Figure 1. Wind River* Titanium Server is highly integrated.
I recently had a conversation about the program with Charlie Ashton, senior director of business development for networking solutions at Wind River. Charlie pointed out that a full NFV solution requires many components, like Operations Support Systems (OSS) and service orchestrations (Figure 2). He explained that the goal of the program is to provide a complete, end-to-end stack that provides all of these components – and gives service providers and TEMs the ability to choose from multiple vendors.
Figure 2. NFV requires many components.
To achieve this goal, Wind River is working closely with its partners to ensure interoperability.
On the software side, engineers from Wind River and its partner companies are working together closely to validate correct operation on the NFV platform, and to optimize the software where possible. Similarly, Wind River is working closely with its hardware partners to validate and optimize the NFV platform on the target hardware.
The ecosystem has already lined an impressive array of hardware. For example, Wind River has pre-validated the Kontron Symkloud MS2910, which is designed with 10G OpenFlow redundant switching. This high density 2RU modular platform compacts multiple Intel® processors with dedicated memory and storage, and is optimized for stacking multiple platforms for massively scalable virtual applications. Notably, the Symkloud platform can share virtual resources across physical nodes without additional management software. Kontron recently collaborated with fellow Titanium Cloud members GENBAND and Wind River to demonstrate a NFV-enabled Session Border Controller.
Wind River also validated and optimized its software for the HP ProLiant DL380p and DL360p servers, with the BL460c to follow. HP recently collaborated with Brocade and Wind River to create a series of proof of concepts (PoCs) targeted at ETSI-NFV’s Reliability and Availability Work Group. These demos featured seven instances of Brocade’s Vyatta vRouter 5400 running in different configurations on HP DL360p rack mount servers.
The collaboration between HP and Wind River also extends to the newly announced HP OpenNFV Program. This program is designed to help the telecommunications industry accelerate innovation and launch services faster, more easily and more cost-effectively. There is considerable overlap between the membership of HP and Wind River’s programs – HP’s partners include not only Wind River but also 6WIND, Brocade, GENBAND, Intel, the Israel Mobile & Media Association, Mellanox Technologies, Spirent, and SK Telecom.
As part of their partnership, HP and Wind River announced plans to develop NFV solutions that combine Wind River Titanium Server with HP Helion OpenStack*. This combination of technologies is expected to provide communications service providers (CSPs) with an open-source-based cloud platform that meets reliability requirements and accelerates NFV deployments.
In the midst of all of these announcements, it is worth noting that Wind River Titanium Server is now commercially available, so you can put the platform to work immediately. It is also worth noting that the Wind River NFV platform was previously known as Wind River* Carrier Grade Communications Server (Wind River* CGCS). If you’ve been scratching your head wondering where why you hadn’t heard of the platform before, now you know – it has a new name!
I also think these announcements are noteworthy because they strongly suggest that NFV is transitioning from an exciting idea to a solid technology. It will be interesting to see how the industry continues to develop and mature in the coming months.
Contact featured members:
Solutions in this blog:
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance
Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine
Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston