Telefόnica worked with the research firm Analysys Mason to publish a handy white paper that spells out the work of its Unica virtualization project in nice detail. It even includes some complaints from Telefόnica about its work with OpenStack code and some unhappiness with vendors not advancing their technology fast enough for Unica.
Unica is Telefόnica’s architecture for network virtualization. It’s based on the ETSI NFV reference architecture. It also includes software-defined networking (SDN) components needed to support a telco cloud. The below chart shows the general outline of Telefόnica’s Unica infrastructure. It’s compliant with code from Open Source MANO (OSM), which is the open source group hosted by ETSI that’s working on management and network orchestration.
The white paper candidly describes a couple of challenges Telefόnica has been experiencing with its Unica project.
“For example, the company has had notable problems with OpenStack implementations and the fact that cloud technologies do not support the specific performance and distribution requirements of network functions,” said the white paper.
Unica is standardizing on OpenStack for its cloud management system, which it will source from multiple suppliers, including Ericsson, Red Hat, and VMware.
“Telefόnica has been commendably open and transparent about the difficulty of staying true to its principles of maintaining vendor-independence within Unica…. even though the fact that vendors cannot or will not yet support them is delaying Unica roll-out,” said the white paper.
While it sorts out its problems with OpenStack and with its goal to keep its software vendor-agnostic, “Telefόnica sensibly has an interim solution – vertical virtualization – to ensure that its NFV program is not badly derailed by technology and vendor solution immaturity,” said the white paper. “The company also has strong collaborations with multiple technology partners and influential industry organizations to ensure its requirements are reflected in their roadmaps.”
Analysys Mason gives this advice to the service provider: “It should continue to exert pressure on Unica vendors to live up to their promises and collaborate with one another, and be prepared to bypass them if necessary and build new capabilities itself (as it is doing with OSM) to ensure it can realize its vision.”