Huawei and Red Hat are partnering to leverage the OpenStack cloud orchestration stack to create network-functions virtualization solutions for communications service providers.
The two vendors want to combine Huawei's expertise with telecommunications companies with Red Hat's open-source and OpenStack capabilities to help service providers embrace OpenStack as they adopt network-functions virtualization (NFV) in their infrastructures.
Telecoms are under pressure to spin out services to customers more quickly while also driving down the costs of their infrastructures. NFV and close cousin software-defined networking (SDN) are relatively new trends that are reshaping the networking landscape by enabling users to take the network controller and various networking tasks—such as load balancing and intrusion detection—and put them into software that can run on commodity hardware.
The results are more programmable, flexible and dynamic networking infrastructures that can quickly adapt to changing demands and an infrastructure that can run on lower-cost networking gear to save users money.
"Carriers and telecommunications service providers are under pressure to modernize their network infrastructure to meet demands created by new service offerings and the explosive volume of data crossing the network," Tim Yeaton, senior vice president of Red Hat's infrastructure business, said in a statement. "As a result, many are exploring the benefits OpenStack-based clouds can bring to NFV projects."
Analysts expect NFV and SDN to gain traction over the next few years. Infonetics Research analysts last month said they expect the worldwide service provider market for SDN and NFV to hit $11 billion in 2018 after several years of investigation by the companies.
"For three years, the telecom industry has been abuzz over SDN and NFV, with anticipation and hard work developing the vision, goals, architectures, use cases, proof-of-concept projects, field trials and even some commercial deployments," Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks at Infonetics, said in a statement.
Officials with Red Hat and Huawei pointed to a study this year by Infonetics that found that 93 percent of telecoms interviewed said they had plans to deploy NFV. The top use case for NFV cited by the service providers was for delivering services to businesses, Infonetics analysts said in April. SDN also was getting attention from telecoms: 29 percent said they already are implementing software-defined networks, and 52 planned to evaluate them by the end of 2014. About 97 percent said they have plans to deploy SDN in some way in their networks.
Red Hat and Huawei are looking at the open-source OpenStack solution as the management platform for running these NFV-based infrastructures. The companies announced Dec. 4 that they will integrate Red Hat's Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform with Huawei's FusionSphere Cloud OS at the management layer, which officials said will create a unified open and production-ready cloud solution for carriers' NFV efforts. The partnership will include contributions from other vendors, engineering and product work, and go-to-market strategies that will be aimed at accelerating the adoption of OpenStack for these telecom NFV initiatives.
In addition, the vendors will jointly contribute NFV features to the OpenStack community to enable others to leverage the results of their collaboration. They also will certify the joint solutions, a move officials said will give service providers greater confidence in the performance of the offerings.
"This partnership will focus on NFV and the development of joint solutions to foster an open, interconnected and innovative ecosystem that supports the entire OpenStack community," Ren Zhipeng, president of Huawei's cloud computing product line, said in a statement.