Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are seeing impressive deployment momentum in 4G, due in large part to the openness and flexibility these architectural concepts enable. Network designers now have the option to transition over time from closed, proprietary equipment to more flexible software-based solutions running on standard high volume servers such as virtual switches, EPC, IMS, LTE RAN, etc. Ready in time for 5G, architects can now consider new open source solutions in the areas of management, orchestration, and virtual network functions (VNFs). During Mobile World Congress we will be demonstrating how these open solutions run best on Intel®.
Open Source MANO – Creating NFV Optimized Orchestration Solutions
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) announced the formation of a new open source project – Open Source MANO (OSM). OSM’s charter is to develop ‘Open Source for NFV’ with a mandate to deliver an Open Source NFV Management and Orchestration stack. The formation of ETSI’s OSM project represents a true leap forward in enabling the NFV ecosystem to deploy faster, with richer functionality and leveraging the expertise of a broad ecosystem of engaged community participants.
Intel is a founding member of this new initiative and I find it very encouraging to see ETSI’s Director General Luis Jorge Romero endorse OSM as ‘an opportunity to capitalize on the synergy between standardization and open source approaches by accessing a greater and more diverse set of contributors and developers than would normally be possible’.
It is rare to see a community of communication service providers, software solution vendors and system integrators come together on Day 1 to address issues caused by the current technical and architectural status quo. Founding members of OSM include many partner companies from our Intel Network Builders ecosystem, including BT, Canonical, Intel, Mirantis, RIFT.io, Telefónica, Red Hat and 6WIND to name just a few. I am confident that this operator-led effort will deliver a production-quality open source MANO stack under a commercial-friendly Apache Public License 2.0 in 2016. To accelerate this effort, at this week’s Mobile World Congress, we are already showcasing initial OSM demonstration software that orchestrates complex NFV use cases using vendor-neutral Information Models.
FD.iO Advancing I/O Services3
Another exciting open source project was formed by The Linux Foundation called FD.io (“Fido”) to establish a high-performance IO services framework for dynamic computing environments. Industry leaders such as 6WIND, Brocade, Cisco, Comcast, Ericsson, Red Hat united to deliver I/O services framework to amplify the transformation of current networks that began with Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) more than five years ago. Intel is pleased to be a founding member of this open source initiative as well.
A key component is the Vector Packet Processing (VPP) library donated by Cisco. The code is already running in products on the market today. VPP built on top of DPDK and optimized to run on Intel® Xeon processors has shown to perform two orders of magnitude faster than currently available open source options when implementing vSwitch or vRouting workloads, reaffirming one of the core principles of FD.io, a focus on performance.
The initial release of FD.io is fully functional and available for download, providing an out-of-the-box vSwitch/vRouter utilizing the DPDK for high-performance, hardware-independent I/O.
5G and Beyond
Major industry players already have high aspirations for 5G, including major performance improvements such as an order of magnitude reduction in latency (both air and end-to-end) and more than a ten times increase in peak data rate. Answering the bell for faster networks, Open Source MANO and FD.io are designed to deliver higher performance VNFs and boost the throughput of I/O services.
If you’re planning to attend Mobile World Congress, stop by the Intel booth and take some time with these demonstrations. I look forward to seeing you there.
1. Tom Nolle, “Are OpenStack and NFV MANO interchangeable?,” http://searchsdn.techtarget.com/tip/Are-OpenStack-and-NFV-MANO-interchangeable.
2. Deigo R. Lopez, “OpenMANO – The Dataplane Ready Open Source NFV MANO Stack,” March 2015, www.ietf.org/proceedings/92/slides/slides-92-nfvrg-7.pdf
3. The Linux Foundation, “The Linux Foundation Forms Open Source Effort to Advance IO Services,” Feb 11, 2016.