It’s called the Provider Cloud System (PCS), and recently, EMC augmented it by announcing partnerships with Affirmed Networks, Cellwize, and Versa Networks to run their virtual network functions (VNFs).
“We’ve been looking at this for about 16 months,” says David Hudson, general manager of EMC’s Telecom Transformation group. “A lot of the building blocks come from the IT domain. We’re taking the best of what the IT world has to offer, and we’re focusing on building from the bottom of the stack up.”
PCS is based on EMC’s RackHD/OnRack technology, which abstracts and normalizes the underlying hardware in a data center. RackHD is an EMC open source project, and OnRack is an EMC product. Both are designed to automate provisioning and programming across a broad range of servers.
“We come at this primarily as an IT vendor,” he notes. “Traditional vendors, including Cisco, would like to continue to drive their legacy business. They want to own as much of the stack as possible, from the devices that move the photons, all the way up to the management.”
For its part, Cisco recently introduced its own NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) for service providers, which it says provides all the necessary compute, storage, and networking infrastructure to run NFV network services in both Red Hat OpenStack and hybrid environments. NFVI can run Cisco’s more than 100 VNFs, such as its virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) and video processors.
Cisco’s and EMC’s NFV reference architectures join a field already occupied by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) with its OpenNFV initiative and the open source group OPNFV, which is doing similar work.
“In a balanced view of the market, the Ericssons and Huaweis of the world are also providing more evolutionary steps,” says EMC’s Hudson.