As network traffic grows exponentially, it’s more challenging than ever for network operators to enforce policy, manage traffic, and differentiate services. They face the challenge of building out the infrastructure while also developing revenue-generating services to deploy on the infrastructure.
A new white paper explains how operators can take on these challenges using a service-aware network architecture based on software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), and Layer 4-7 deep packet inspection (DPI).
The white paper from Intel features the Qosmos ixEngine, a software development kit (SDK) that embeds DPI and Layer 7 intelligence in an SDN architecture. Most SDN implementations are restricted to Layer 2–4 headers, the paper says, so switches cannot differentiate traffic from various Layer 7 applications. Qosmos ixEngine software overcomes this limitation with Layer 4-7 DPI, giving operators much-needed network intelligence and awareness of traffic flows.
Aside from traffic management, the white paper outlines ways network operators can use Layer 7 intelligence in an SDN environment to better create revenue-generating services. For example, it shows how retailers could use metadata to engage mobile subscribers with personalized, revenue-generating services like consumer proximity location, customer analytics, and customer locale.
As part of an SDN or NFV architecture, DPI can become a shared function hosted on standard servers instead of being embedded in appliances and devices like firewalls. This new approach is key to a service-aware network architecture, and it lowers total investment in DPI because it is implemented on fewer machines. The white paper explains where DPI could be embedded in an SDN architecture, outlining deployment scenarios such as traffic shaping and cybersecurity. It also suggests OpenFlow enhancements to take greater advantage of DPI technologies.
The white paper is the last of a four-paper series on how SDN and NFV are enabling a more flexible networking architecture compared to traditional approaches using fixed elements. Download a copy of the white paper here, or check out the first three white papers in the series.