To reap the benefits of network functions virtualization (NFV), simply creating virtual network functions (VNFs) to run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware is not enough. Administrators need to make sure they’re virtualizing the right functions to get the most from their transition to NFV environments. A new paper from Ixia offers two metrics to help organizations test network performance and security so they can configure their networks in the best possible way.
NFV architectures face two potentially significant bottlenecks that can constrain performance:
- The vSwitch: The software virtual switch (vSwitch) running on the COTS platform or server must provide sustained, aggregated high-bandwidth network traffic to the VNFs. Choosing a vSwitch and validating its performance is one of the most critical aspects when testing VNFs and their performance.
- The VNF itself: The performance of the VNF is related to a number of factors. Service providers need to ensure VNF performance is comparable to that achieved by hardware-specific implementations.
The paper outlines Ixia’s BreakingPoint Resiliency Score and its Data Center Resiliency Score, which establish standards for measuring physical and virtual network performance. Calculated using industry standards as well as real-world traffic mixes from major service providers, each score provides an automated, deterministic way to evaluate and ensure resiliency and performance.
To determine a Resiliency Score, users select the network or device for evaluation and the speed at which it is required to perform. Ixia’s solution then runs a battery of simulations using a blended mix of application traffic and malicious attacks. The Resiliency Score simulation provides a common network configuration for all devices to maintain fairness and consistency for different vendors’ solutions.
Using the Resiliency Scores, organizations can effectively benchmark the performance, security, and scale of VNFs against their physical counterparts, as well as fine-tune virtual environments. The paper explains how the resiliency score would play out in a firewall bake-off, and it walks through a sample scenario for data center resiliency.
Learn more about how resiliency testing and Ixia BreakingPoint can help organizations get maximum performance out of their virtual environments.