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Virtual March Hares in Paris

This spring at Ethernity Networks, we are working hard on the new solutions. Naturally, we decided not to run after two hares, especially the March hares at MPLS/SDN/NFV World Congress. We have not presented there and just went to visit and listen what the big minds say. Indeed, many deployment issues and ideas raised during the meetings at the show. Just to mention a few:

  • What is better – OpenStack or robust solutions from vendors;
  • How to chain NFs developed by different vendors using different APIs;
  • Containers vs VMs;
  • Security and monitoring in new environment…

Too many different directions to follow all of them easily. One issue prevailed: everybody is talking about deployment. AT&T, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Colt, BT and others started first deployments for enterprise and residential vCPE.

What else on the agenda? Nokia, E///, Huawei are testing solutions and building alliances. RAD, ECI and Juniper are pushing distributed architectures to support gradual migration to cloud. Few companies proposed orchestration and ready NFs: 6Wind, Metaswitch, and Ciena.

Several new technical topics raised about  the network architecture:

  • Containers (this method of running NFs is less secure but much faster base on Micro Services architecture,
  • Source Routing solution, where the edge is decided on full route path, it was proposed by Metaswitch.

Huawei has performed interoperability tests with different companies, and discovered IOT problems between different NF implementations. We also discussed that even with DPDK supporting throughput over 6Gbps is complicated for x 86 cores, and there is a need to accelerate the data path in hardware.

Guess what? NIC is the best candidate to do acceleration. For example, Telefonica in a residential CPE trial noticed a high load on CPU when there are many connected CPEs.

We also found interesting types of tunnels presented by reporters to be used in a virtual infrastructure: MPLS over GRE, IPSec tunnels (Nokia), VxLAN.

Short conclusion for Ethernity: seems NFV/SDN is on the market and goes from trials to implementation. And the main two issues we are going to solve are security and interoperability!