Network-function virtualization and software-defined networking continue to get a lot of attention at the Mobile World Congress 2014 event, with vendors such as Wind River, Alcatel-Lucent and Radware offering new solutions and announcing partnerships.
Much of the interest in NFV and SDN at the show comes from service providers, who are looking to move beyond or upgrade their cumbersome legacy networks to create more dynamic and automated environments that can run on off-the-shelf servers and quickly respond to changing customer demands. They also need to be able to more rapidly spin out services around such applications as video to better compete with over-the-top (OTT) rivals like Google and Skype, which aren't tied down by legacy infrastructures and can quickly create new offerings to users.
At the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Wind River officials introduced a platform designed to enable network operators and telecommunications companies to deploy NFV architectures while maintaining the carrier-grade attributes within their networks. The vendor's Carrier Grade Communications Server lets users get NFV applications up and running right out of the box.
The offering is based on Wind River's Open Virtualization offering with Wind River Linux, real-time KVM virtualization, enhanced OpenStack solution and Intel's Data Plane Development Kit. Wind River is a subsidiary of Intel. The company's Carrier Grade Communications Server is optimized to run on Hewlett-Packard's ProLiant system and Intel's Xeon server chips for communications infrastructure systems.
Wind River and HP also are working on the software on ruggedized ProLiant systems. The Wind River offering will be available as an early access release to certain customers starting this quarter.
Radware, which makes application delivery and security solutions for virtualized and cloud data centers, unveiled an SDN and NFV strategy for mobile carriers and service providers. Using SDN and NFV capabilities, the company has created a framework where cyber-security and application delivery are offered as network services, according to officials.
The services include DefenseFlow, an SDN-based dedicated denial-of-services (DDoS) offering. DefenseFlow offers multi-layer and real-time defense application and network DDoS attacks and mobile advanced persistent threats (APTs). In addition, Alteon NFV includes a range of services, including load balancing, steering and service chaining. Radware's SteerFlow is a scalable, service-delivery control plane solution.
Alcatel-Lucent in the days leading up to MWC announced a portfolio of virtualized network functions that includes Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) for the automated authentication and management of subscribers and services on the network, and IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS), a cloud-based communications platform for delivering rich multimedia over IP networks.
At the show, the company announced partnerships with Intel and Telefonica to drive innovation and adoption of NFV. With Intel, the two vendors are expanding their partnership to drive the development of three Alcatel-Lucent solutions that are optimized to run on Intel processors: virtualized Radio Access Networks (vRANs) that will enable network operators to use general-purpose systems in their environments; the CloudBand NFV platform; and high-performance packet processing for advanced IP and MLS platforms.
"In the last year we have seen an acceleration of innovation and industry changes," Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes said in a statement. "This is nothing compared to what we will see in the next decades, bringing new possibilities to our digital lifestyles. … It is critical that we lead that change by working with the best and brightest partners who can break down the barriers between IT and networking."
With Telefonica, the partnership will leverage Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand NFV platform to develop ways of helping service providers determine which network elements should be virtualized. The two companies will define NFV architectures and test various NFV scenarios. They also created a joint research center around NFV.