Verizon's Huge NFV OpenStack Deployment Could Influence Telecoms Everywhere

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 29, 2016

As this year began, we spotted a lot of action from telecom players and the open source community surrounding Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology. Red Hat and NEC Corporation said a few months ago that they formed a partnership to develop NFV features in the OpenStack cloud computing platform, with the goal of delivering carrier-grade solutions based on Red Hat's OpenStack build.

Telecom providers have had longstanding problems with vendor lock-in in their infrastructure stacks, and OpenStack and other open tools could represent the cure. This week, in partnership with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat, Verizon announced that it has deployed "the industry's largest-known" network function virtualization (NFV) OpenStack cloud deployment across five of its data centers in the U.S. The move may prove influential in the telecom space.

NewsFactor Business Report has a good summary of how to think about NFV:

"NFV enables network services typically provided by separate devices like routers, firewalls and load balancers to be delivered through a virtual machine environment. It's a strategy designed to lower costs and speed up deployment of services."

 NFV can also be thought of as an effort to combat telecom tradition, which has emphasized vendor lock-in, and to help the parallel trends of virtualization and cloud computing stay as open as possible.

Verizon worked with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat to validate the resiliency of the NFV pod design at scale, and the collaborators constructed and tested large scale test beds mirroring the production design, leveraging the open source community to ultimately deliver a validated NFV pod architecture.

Verizon's project is based on OpenStack with Red Hat Ceph Storage and a spine-leaf fabric for each pod controlled through a Neutron plugin to Red Hat OpenStack Platform. The multi-vendor deployment leverages Big Switch's Big Cloud Fabric for SDN controller software managing Dell switches, which are orchestrated by Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

Adam Koeppe, vice president of network technology planning at Verizon, said: "Building on our history of innovation, this NFV project is another step in building Verizon's next-generation network -- with implications for the industry. New and emerging applications are highlighting the need for collaborative research and development in technologies like NFV. We consider this achievement to be foundational for building the Verizon cloud that serves our customers' needs anywhere, anytime, any app."  

 Note that The OpenStack Foundation has also released a comprehensive report on the adoption and business cases driving NFV deployment among the world’s leading telecom providers. Titled “OpenStack Foundation Report: Accelerating NFV Delivery with OpenStack,” the report paints a bright future for NFV with close ties to the OpenStack cloud platform.