NFV Deployment Growing Thanks to OpenStack

The cloud is a key enabler of Network Functions Virtualization.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jan 22, 2016
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While the open-source OpenStack cloud platform got its start as a platform for compute and storage, networking efforts are now leading the way forward. In particular, the adoption of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) by global carriers is now being accelerated in part by adoption of OpenStack.

A new 24-page report published by the OpenStack Foundation this week outlines how NFV and OpenStack work together. At a high level, NFV is incorporated across the board within OpenStack to help enable carriers to virtualize network services.

"The OpenStack platform provides the foundation for the NFV architecture, which is essentially a fit-for-purpose cloud for deploying, orchestrating and managing virtual network functions," the report states. "The open, modular and interoperable framework of the OpenStack project offers telecoms and enterprises the ability to design the NFV system of their choosing,without unnecessary components."

There are multiple projects within OpenStack that can help to enable NFV, including the Neutron networking project, which is among the most active projects in the entire OpenStack effort. The report also highlights the OpenStack Tacker project, which specifically targets the NFV use-case.

"Tacker is an OpenStack project building an Open NFV Orchestrator with in-built general purpose VNF Manager to deploy and operate Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) on an NFV Platform," the OpenStack project wiki states.

Additionally there are multiple other OpenStack efforts underway that can help carriers to deploy NFV. Among them is Project Astara, which is led by SDN vendor Akanada. There is also Project Congress, which was started by VMware and provides a policy and governance engine. Blazar is an OpenStack Reservation as a Service project that can help with resource reservations and scheduling in an NFV environment.

The OpenStack NFV efforts are being led and adopted by some of the world's largest carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, NTT Group, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom. According to the report, Deutsche Telekom announced its first production NFV OpenStack workload back in March of 2015, a cloud VPN service available in Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary. The other carriers are in various stages of deployment, but overall the OpenStack report expects that OpenStack for NFV will be production ready in 2016.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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