Network transformation is a series of improvements that are changing the very nature of business operations, services and customer relationships for all of us involved in the broader networking domain. Networks must be flexible, agile and scalable to support the rapid development and deployment of an entirely new class of data-centric services and customer experiences in a high-quality environment.
We expect Cloud Native design approaches and lifecycle management principles to enable the required network capabilities and achieve these goals, but we are still working to unravel the complexity of multi-vendor network transformation. I will detail some of the ways we are partnering with the industry to tackle these challenges.
Creating Industry Standards
One of the benefits of a common, cloud architecture is the standardization of platforms, processes and application interfaces regardless of location in the network. Infrastructure standardization reduces operational complexity, management, costs and supports the rapid introduction of new applications and services.
The industry needs to agree to a set of standards to reduce complexity. Within the open source software community, network leaders are working to make APIs easier to write to and standard interfaces easier to use. Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) is a fundamental building block that provides an optimized set of libraries and drivers that enable high performance networking applications to run on industry standard hardware platforms. DPDK supports the full range of Intel processors from Intel Atom® to Intel® Xeon®, Intel® Ethernet Controllers, and accelerators, such as Intel® QuickAssist Technology. The DPDK APIs abstract the application from the underlying hardware, facilitating application portability across a wide range of platforms. Many of the APIs provide software fall-backs, which allows the same API to be used regardless of whether or not the application runs on a platform with hardware acceleration.
OPNFV is another example of an open source, community-led compliance and verification program, while OpenStack and Kubernetes have become foundational assets. Creating frameworks that define the processes required for scale is necessary for the industry to meet future data demands. In addressing the complexity of multi-vendor infrastructure through industry standards and close partnerships we must also leave breathing room for innovation and value realization.
Automation, Orchestration & Artificial Intelligence
Automation will be even more important in order to maintain service level agreements and guarantee optimum quality of experience in a multivendor virtualized environment. CommSPs that intend to scale new services based on virtual machines (VMs) or containers need resource orchestration of which OpenStack and Kubernetes are the de facto resource management vehicles in the market.
We need to accelerate the pace with which we deliver solutions to meet the demands of these complex networks. This innovation must include artificial intelligence and machine learning. With the Intel architecture platform as a shared resource across this infrastructure, automation makes it possible to retrieve and feed a wealth of information, such as metrics and events, into monitoring or analytics systems via open industry standard interfaces as part of a closed loop solution. AI-based supervised models can extract patterns and probabilistic correlations from its past behaviors, performances and manual optimizations to help network managers optimize their networks.
In removing complexity and increasing automation we cannot compromise on security. The industry needs a security-first mindset that prioritizes platform integrity, data protection built into hardware, and best practices for open source and cloud architectures.
Intel has developed security solutions that are rooted in silicon and help create a trusted foundation for compute. Some of these security technologies include secure boot methodologies, like Intel® Boot Guard, designed with industry leaders. To address confidential computing at scale, Intel recently made Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) available for mainstream 2-socket platforms and cloud infrastructures with the Intel® SGX Card.
The new 2nd generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor family delivers enhanced security and higher performance with Intel® Security Libraries for Data Center (Intel® SecL-DC). Intel SecL-DC is a set of open source enabling libraries that simplify the integration and deployment of hardware-rooted security technologies at cloud scale by bringing optimized programming interfaces and management tools for many Intel security technologies together in one easier-to-use set of libraries and tools compatible with cloud environments like OpenStack*, Docker*, and Kubernetes* Extensions.
Ecosystem Collaborations for Commercial Adoption
As my colleague Dan Rodriguez recently wrote, Intel has a number of new technologies available for operators and service providers to make significant progress in their network transformation projects. The industry needs commercial solutions that are easy to consume and the reduction of complexity should be the path to faster time to market.
To achieve that, Intel balances investments across technology innovation with close collaborations with ecosystem partners and clients on real-world applications. Much of this work has culminated in our Intel Select Solutions, which provide verified, benchmarked reference architectures and Network Transformation Experience Kits that ease the adoption of hardware and software innovation into next generation multi-vendor, multi-service networks. These kits provide best practice guidelines, collateral and Reference Architectures to support our customers.
Simplification: Pulling in the Same Direction
Transformation across the data center, network and cloud is fundamental to a new era of data-centric innovation in 5G, edge, IoT, visual cloud and more. For years Intel has applied its experience from similar industry transformations in IT to accelerate this shift in the communications arena. We continue to invest in platform and portfolio innovations that support the network, storage and compute requirements for a new era of data-centric networks and services. We are proud of these technology advancements, yet we’re equally proud of our ecosystem engagements and industry collaborations that are reducing complexity and accelerating delivery of commercial solutions to real-world problems.
If you are attending the 5G World London event, I encourage you to join me at the following sessions:
- “Accelerating the 5G Edge” keynote on Thursday, 13 June at 9:20. Learn more.
- “A Cloud Native Foundation for 5G” presentation on Thursday, 13 June at 15:25. Learn more.
Visit www.intel.com/network for more information about Intel’s solutions for network transformation.