Oracle is launching a tool designed to make it easier for communications service providers to manage and deploy services in a network-functions virtualization environment.
Oracle officials this week unveiled its Oracle Communications Application Orchestrator, which enables service providers to manage the entire lifecycle of a virtual network function and to respond to changes in demand for network capacity. The goal of the new software tool is to make it easier for communications service providers to embrace network-functions virtualization (NFV), according to Bhaskar Gorti, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Communications.
"As smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices explode in popularity, communications service providers are experiencing increasing pressure to deliver compelling data services while competing with over-the-top providers to remain relevant," Gorti said in a statement. The new Application Orchestrator lets service providers "move away from rigid network architectures to a flexible platform that can be easily reconfigured to address any number of current or future services."
NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) aim to make enterprise and service provider networks more flexible, programmable, dynamic and automated. SDN essentially decouples the network control plane from the underlying hardware and puts it into software. In NFV environments, network tasks such as load balancing, firewalls and intrusion detection also are removed from the physical switches and routers and put into software, making them available as software applications.
The Oracle Communications Application Orchestrator is designed to fill the role of a virtual network function manager in the NFV architecture that has been laid out by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)—which published the first paper on NFV and has since helped guide its development—Oracle officials said. That includes integrating with virtualization infrastructure manager solutions from third parties to support multi-cloud environments.
By using Application Orchestrator, service providers can reduce the time it takes to deploy new network functions, which offers the promise of more revenues for the carrier, company officials said. It also makes them more efficient and able to rapidly adapt to changing capacity demands.
The new offering also works with the Oracles Communications Core Session Manager, which is designed to help communications service providers virtualize their networking infrastructures.