NFV Success: Where the Cutting-Edge Intersects the Real World

The commonly accepted definition of the terms “cutting-edge technology” is a product or feature that are at the “frontiers of knowledge”. Lofty, to be sure, but somewhat ambiguous as a compliment given that the terms seem to fly in the convention of what it means to operate in the “real world”.

So while we were tickled pink with being honored with our partner, Accedian, with this year’s Carrier Network Virtualization award in the “Cutting Edge Proof of Concept” category, we took this achievement with a grain or two of salt. Neither Accedian nor RIFT.io are in business to win industry awards. No, we’re in the serious business to solve complex networking issues in order to help Service Providers and Mobile Operators transform their business-facing infrastructures through SDN and NFV.

As anyone who follows us or the SDN/NFV market in general knows, this challenge toward end-to-end virtualization is fraught with major obstacles. In fact, the top two challenges that SPs and operators have identified, according to this recent SDxCentral article, is how to integrate SDN/NFV technologies within their legacy, largely hardware-based networks as well as how to make SDN/NFV work somewhat seamlessly with legacy OSS/BSS systems.

It’s clear that success for both vendors and SPs will require converging the cutting-edge and the real worlds through innovative yet practically workable solutions – or, to put it in another way, delivering more proof than concept.
That was the design principle that both Accedian and RIFT had in mind in building our PoC that we demonstrated to the esteemed judging panel. Here’s the descriptor:

Demo Topology

In this proof of concept, Accedian’s SkyLIGHT VCX™ virtualized performance assurance controller (vPAC), the industry’s first fully-virtualized performance assurance platform, is combined with RIFT.io’s RIFT.ware, an ETSI-compliant NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) solution. Together they address the performance assurance requirements, simplify deployment of virtual network functions (VNFs) to satisfy customer SLAs, and offer a highly scalable and elastically resilient life cycle managed NFV architecture.

Looking a bit deeper into this PoC, there are a number of key breakthrough features and functionalities that Accedian/RIFT deliver that demonstrate how we’re converging cutting-edge with the real-world:

  • Dynamic instantiation and elasticity to enable SPs to dynamically create new VCX instances, on-demand, as sites are added and performance KPIs are generated
  • Performance-assured infrastructure to provide centralized performance data capture, monitoring the entire NFV access architecture—including physical and virtual network resources at branch offices, central offices, data centers, and public cloud locations such as Amazon Web Services
  • Performance-assured customer premises to capture performance data generated between any two sites, making it possible to monitor the entire NFV access architecture, physical and virtual
  • Ability to deliver hardware-assist services such as flow-based bandwidth utilization and distributed, intelligent packet capture to create fully assured customer premises
  • Ability to dynamically add virtualized customer premises equipment services—such as firewall & intrusion detection as well as packet inspection VNFs — to provide Layer 4-7 visibility for enterprise services on top of assured last mile access.

It’s shaping up that 2017 will be a big year for both NFV (and SDN) in proving their mettle as de factor network technologies for SP and operator environments. Survey research of SPs themselves tells us to expect major breakthrough in terms of moving NFV forward.

The report found 81% of service providers surveyed said they plan to deploy NFV by the end of next year, with 100% of those questioned indicating they will deploy NFV “at some point.” Showing the market’s desire to roll out NFV platforms, the survey also found that 58% of operators have deployed or will deploy NFV this year.

We’ll be monitoring these deployment trends closely, of course, throughout this year. After all, the proof of the cutting-edge NFV “pudding” will not be in the eating, it’ll be in it its real-world deployment.

In addition to the Carrier Network Virtualization event, Accedian and RIFT.io will again be showcasing our partnership and orchestrated performance measurement demo at Mobile World Congress, February 27th through March 3rd in Barcelona, Spain. You can visit RIFT.io in booth 6J8 and Accedian in booth 6D60. Stop by or request a meeting with us during the show.