With the outline of network functions virtualization (NFV) seemingly set, it’s time to start delving into details such as management and orchestration. It’s a topic that’s likely to come up a lot this week at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Today, Amdocs is making its bid, announcing its own plans for NFV orchestration. As one of the largest OSS/BSS vendors, the company would seem to have a reasonable shot at filling that task. Amdocs also believes its lack of a data-path presence makes it a good candidate, as the company has no stake regarding which components are actually in the mobile network; it can pledge to build orchestration that works with virtual network functions (VNFs) and infrastructure from multiple vendors.
So, Amdocs today is announcing its Network Cloud Service Orchestrator. It’s meant to be the central brain of a new NFV network, and it would be supplemented by software from Amdocs partners — part of a program being announced today with 21 other companies participating.
With NCSO, a carrier would model a network service once and be able to deploy it multiple times, a cookie-cutter or prepackaged approach that’s looking like it might become common for SDN and NFV in general. The service models, represented in Yang, would be available in catalog form, with the carrier able to make tweaks for customization.
When the carrier changes the service model, the service would be automatically updated around the network. A similar case would hold for decommissioning a service; the model could include parameters for shutting the service down, for instance.
The NCSO model includes a continual monitoring of the network, using policy and monitoring plug-ins to calculate the difference between the desired network state and what’s actually happening. If the problem can be fixed automatically — and certainly, there are limits on whether that’s possible — NCSO could insert services to patch things up. One example would be a virtual function to block distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Separately, Amdocs is enhancing its policy and charging rules function (PCRF), claiming it’s now the first PCRF to fully match the ETSI industry specification group‘s (ISG) NFV framework.
That means adding a VNF manager, per the ETSI model. This is a software element that oversees the different VNFs in the network; it’s meant to be integrated with a larger NFV orchestration system, such as Amdocs’.
Amdocs says it’s also introducing a more template-driven approach to the way enterprise services are defined. Amdocs has also added an auto-scaling function, where the PCRF can expand if a particular threshold of activity is hit — a certain number of transactions per second, for instance.
SDNCentral is in Dusseldorf, Germany for the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow World Congress. Check out all our headlines from the show here: SDN & OpenFlow World Congress: The SDNCentral Report