Cable Operators Adopt OpenStack to Create a Progressive NFV Solution
May 16, 2016
As I head into this year’s INTX Conference, I’m excited to see how our customers are tackling the continued demand for bandwidth that drives year-over-year, double-digit capacity growth on their present networks. Cable operators face a significant business challenge with new competition providing ultra-high speed Internet offerings at competitive prices.
Plateauing video service revenue due to “over-the-top” (OTT) competition presents one such challenge. Today, consumers can view many popular cable channels via OTT technology on gaming systems, various IP-to-HDMI adaptors, tablets and even smart phones, and it’s not economically feasible for cable providers to address this stagnant revenue through additional capacity and hardware upgrades.
Cable operators need a new strategy.
Enter Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), technology that offers a new way to design and manage networking services through virtualization, streamlining costs and fostering the adoption of modern technology quickly and efficiently.
NFV reduces costs and increases agility through software to virtualize network functions traditionally provided by physical devices, allowing cable operators to reap the benefits of a modern, software-based services infrastructure. Examples of network functions virtualized through NFV include stateful firewall, intrusion detection, content filter, BGP route reflection and even the CCAP platform itself.
As cable operators start to virtualize network functions, Openstack has emerged as the predominant virtualized infrastructure manager (VIM) in an overall NFV strategy. As a VIM, Openstack is responsible for managing compute, storage and network resources and constitutes a programmatic method to manage Virtual Network Functions (VNF) devices.
The transition of traditional workloads from physical hardware to an automated, virtualized environment allows for efficient use of today’s powerful server hardware. With large numbers of workloads on each server, hardware, power and cooling in the datacenter reduces. Gone are the days of developers waiting for network and compute resources to be deployed, those resources can be requested through the Horizon UI or Openstack API for instant availability.
There are a few implementation challenges.
Openstack provides the ability to dynamically create VNFs, but in order to deliver services to customers, the VNF’s lifecycle and configuration must be managed. Juniper’s Contrail Service Orchestration works with Openstack to enable providers to create and manage virtual network services and to enable their customers to request services with a self-service portal.
The networks for virtual machines is another challenge due to scale and multi-tenancy demands. Juniper’s Contrail is an Openstack plugin, based on open standards, which simplifies virtual network management. Contrail permits creation of dynamic service chains encompassing multiple VNFs with robust network analytics, and permits connectivity of virtual, physical or container based environments.
A recent development in the security VNF space is the Juniper cSRX Containerized Firewall. The cSRX provides IPS, UTM and NG stateful firewall services all in a Docker deployed container. Container technology enables higher density on a single server compared to virtual machine based VNFs. A cSRX container boots in microseconds. cSRX is integrated with Openstack and Juniper Contrail today.