Oracle Communications Advances Network Function Virtualization by Delivering Carrier-Grade Data Center Performance
With an industry-first for Enhanced Platform Awareness resource optimization, Oracle Communications collaborates with Intel to demonstrate end-to-end service and network function orchestration
In a move to transform their networks, many communications service providers (CSPs) are starting to transition from their traditional appliance-based network functions to a virtualized, software-based model—also known as network function virtualization (NFV). The promise of this approach is more service agility and lower operational costs. But virtualization had yet to prove that it can deliver the same network speed and reliability performance provided by traditional network appliances—until now. Working with Intel and leveraging Enhanced Platform Awareness in OpenStack, Oracle Communications has delivered the industry’s first successful demonstration of carrier-grade network performance in a virtualized environment.
The project, led by Oracle and using the Intel® Open Network Platform (ONP), demonstrates that CSPs can realize more of the promise of NFV. Specifically, the initiative proves that by intelligently directing network activity to the Intel® processor, CSPs will have more capabilities in software that were previously limited to hardware. In turn, this means that CSPs could maintain service quality levels and develop new offers for customers as soon as CSPs begin to migrate their network functions to the data center.
“This initiative does more than just optimize Oracle Communications products for the Intel® Open Network Platform,” said Liam Maxwell, vice president of products for Oracle Communications. “It takes the theory of delivering carrier-grade capabilities in a commercial data center and turns it into reality. We’ve proven that we can orchestrate services and network functions from the top of the management and orchestration (MANO) stack all the way to individual network processors, and we can do it at scale.”
“The Intel® Open Network Platform server combines industry-leading server architecture with open source software to enable quicker delivery of NFV solutions. Our work with Oracle demonstrates how a powerful server can act as the catalyst for end-to-end NFV orchestration,” said John Healy, general manager, Software Defined Networking Division, Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation.
For this initiative, Oracle Communications optimized specific products for the Intel ONP using OpenStack open source infrastructure management software and its Enhanced Platform Awareness capabilities. The optimized products are part of Oracle’s orchestration framework, including Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration Solution. By directing the Intel platform to dynamically establish data center resource pools that mimic the specialized characteristics of a network appliance (such as large memory pages), the orchestration software can then route the work to the correct pool, based on each function’s unique needs. Moreover, this orchestration activity can work for any network equipment vendor’s interface, preserving the CSP community’s requirement to support multi-vendor environments. Oracle and Intel contribute to and support the widely accepted OpenStack initiative.
The project highlights the importance of orchestrating network functions at the processor-attribute level. In this scenario, Oracle Communications solutions optimize performance of the Intel XeonTM E5-2600 v3 processor, which is built specifically for networking requirements. The platform offers NFV software adaptability for network functions, while meeting the performance and reliability found in network appliances.
“NFV resource orchestrators need awareness of infrastructure inventory and capability as well as network function requirements in order to match the two for optimal cost and performance. Oracle and Intel have achieved noteworthy platform awareness with this project. Intel contributed broadly to the OpenStack Enhanced Platform Awareness Initiative, and now Oracle is the first to actually harness this capability as a function of its intelligent orchestration framework,” said Dana Cooperson, research director, head of Telecoms Virtualization Research, Analysys Mason.
The Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration Solution with Enhanced Platform Awareness using the Intel ONP will be on display at Oracle Industry Connect 2015, March 25 through 26, in Washington DC. Executive keynote speakers from Intel will address the value of the open industry collaboration on Wednesday, March 25, at 3:45 p.m., along with a panel discussion on Enhanced Platform Awareness on Thursday, March 26, from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. in the Oracle Communications track at this collaborative, cross-industry event.
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