Pensa Helps Nokia Automate NFV in Service Provider Networks

Pensa’s new Maestro NFV software is used by Nokia to automate, test, and validate network functions virtualization (NFV) services.

Maestro NFV is Pensa’s second major product introduction in the past five months, following the company’s formal launch in October 2017. At that time, Pensa announced that Nokia was using Pensa’s core automation technology.

Maestro NFV is already deployed in some service provider environments through the company’s existing partnership with Nokia. The software was architected specifically to reduce the time and mitigate the risk to validate services for production NFV environments.

“There are probably a few hundred different VNF [virtual network function] softwares out there right now that can be combined into infinite possible combinations,” said Pensa CEO Tom Joyce. “Doing the validation is hard work. It’s a difficult problem that hasn’t been solved by anybody. We think it’s applicable to anybody doing NFV. If you are building solutions for some large telco you have to make sure it works perfectly before you push it into a production environment.”

Joyce said Maestro NFV is targeted at service providers and companies that build solutions for service providers that are deploying NFV technology from server virtualization to different VNFs on top.

Pensa isn’t naming any service provider customers yet. “We’re early stage,” said Joyce. “Nokia’s been our primary source of revenue to this point. We work mainly through their global services organization.”

He said Nokia builds its NFV infrastructure on top of its AirFrame servers from Dell.

In October 2017 Pensa had raised about $5 million. Now, Joyce said, “We’ve raised about $6.5 million in total at this point.” Pensa’s founders hail from Juniper Networks, Cisco, The Fabric, and Dell.

OPNFV and ONAP

Pensa is a founding member of the Linux Foundation Networking Fund (LFN), the organization that hosts ONAP and OPNFV.

But Pensa is not using ONAP code, nor the other open source orchestration code from OSM. Pensa can interface with code from those groups, “but we haven’t used their code to build our product,” said Joyce.

Recently, the OPNFV open source project announced its OPNFV Verified Program (OVP) to test and validate NFV components at the infrastructure level. OVP will test and verify things such as NFVI, virtual infrastructure manager (VIM), underlying cloud infrastructure, basic packet forwarding, IPv6, and VPN. It won’t work with VNFs, initially. However, many virtualization vendors offer VNF validation and integration services.

“OPNFV is good because it is open; they don’t have a dog in the hunt,” said Joyce. “But OPNFV is not doing something similar to all of what we do. We validate the complete network service. We do a ton more. They just overlap with the first part of what we do.”