Hewlett Packard Enterprise has helped create a lab with China Telecom that that the service provider will use to develop and test technologies as it adopts network virtualization in its infrastructure.
The joint network-functions virtualization (NFV) lab in Beijing will leverage HPE's OpenNFV platform, a collection of hardware, software and services launched by the tech vendor in 2014 and designed to enable communications service providers (CSPs) to virtualize much of their core networking environment.
China Telecom, the country's second largest telecommunications operator, is under the same pressure as other carriers to make its infrastructure more agile, scalable, programmable and affordable by adopting NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies. Such infrastructures enable service providers to more quickly and affordably develop and launch services for their customers, and the NFV lab—developed in conjunction with China Telecom's Beijing Research Institute—will help China Telecom verify the benefits of a virtualized network infrastructure.
"We believe that the integration of NFV within SDN-enabled infrastructure will be the next stage of evolution for the strategic development of the China Telecom network," Li Zhigang, president of China Telecom Beijing Research Institute, said in a statement. "We hope that our collaborative efforts with HPE will result in the creation of NFV solutions which meet our needs, and advance the transformation of our networks."
SDN and NFV enable more agile and programmable infrastructures by decoupling the control plane and networking tasks—including routing, firewalls and load balancing—from the underlying hardware and running them in software. Mobile traffic is growing rapidly, putting demand on carriers to increase capacity while also more quickly spinning out services.
According to a report earlier this month from analysts at Research and Markets, Internet service providers and mobile operators also are investing in SDN and NFV in such areas as policy control, customer premises equipment (CPE) and content delivery. Such investments will grow 54 percent over the next five years, accounting for more than $20 billion in revenue by the end of 2020. Analysts at IHS Infonetics in August said the global market for carrier SDN software, hardware and services will grow from $103 million last year to $5.7 billion in 2019.
In the Beijing NFV lab, HPE will enable China Telecom to test the performance of virtualized network functions on the vendor's Helion OpenStack Carrier Grade cloud platform. There also will be support from NFV technical experts, officials said.