CloudBand is a means of running network functions virtualization (NFV) in the cloud — a “virtual telco” platform, the company initially called it, “which I think is a cooler term than ‘NFV,'” says Dor Skuler, the vice president in charge of CloudBand. It consists of nodes — OpenStack-managed racks that house the cloud-based resources — and management software that assigns resources and applies business rules.
It’s tempting to draw a parallel to the environment being defined by the CloudNFV collective, but CloudBand is less ambitious, Skuler says. Whereas CloudNFV considers an overarching management system for cloud-based virtual functions, CloudBand is more about just making the basics of NFV happen: Create function in cloud. Make it go.
“Early last year, we did projects mainly with the CTO,” says Dor Skuler, the AlcaLu vice president running CloudBand. “Over the last six months or so, it has been the network people: They have a team, they have a budget, and they have a mission to be in the field with a specific application in one or two months.”
Based on those developments, Skuler thinks CloudBand will be running in field trials with live users by the end of this year or early 2015.
Another change in the last several months has to do with service providers’ perceptions of NFV, Skuler says. They’re realizing it can be a tool that lets them pick different vendors’ gear for different areas of the network — storage, orchestration, and applications, for instance. “One of the big things we’re trying to promote is the separation of layers,” Skuler says.
This is where the ecosystem comes in, gathering vendors from all layers of the network. Skuler emphasizes that the ecosystem is an R&D activity, not just a feel-good marketing alliance. It started when AlcaLu got approached by some vendors in August about using CloudBand as a test platform for virtual network functions; the ecosystem launched in October, and AlcaLu is announcing 19 more members today.
They are (deep breath): 6WIND, Cellwize, ConteXtream, EXFO, Fusion-io, IPgallery, JDSU, Netrounds, PeerApp, Procera, PT Inovação e Sistema/PT Innovation and Systems (part of Portugal Telecom Group), Qosmos, Radcom, Red Hat, Saisei Networks, Sonus, Tieto, vArmour, and VMware.