One argument for virtualization in telecom networks is to provide ammo to combat over-the-top services. How well that will work is up for debate, but Metaswitch has found an example in its first announced win for Project Clearwater, the company’s attempt at applying network functions virtualization (NFV) to telecom’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) infrastructure.
Italian carrier Tiscali will be using Clearwater Core, a hardened subset of Metaswitch’s Project Clearwater open-source code, for a messaging app called Indoona. It carries voice, video, and messaging to a claimed user base of millions that reaches beyond Tiscali’s telecom territory (and beyond Italy, for that matter).
The industry developed IMS to fuel services such as Indoona by hooking multimedia into the IP network. Clearwater is Metaswitch’s attempt at virtualizing IMS and putting it in the cloud for better scaling, as opposed to the usual box-by-box approach of building a network.
Tiscali turns out to be a nice customer testimonial for that, because Indoona got along fine for a while without virtualization. The carrier is adopting Clearwater because Indoona’s growth has created pressure for its infrastructure to scale, a Metaswitch spokesman says. (Tiscali is also using Perimeta, Metaswitch’s session border controller (SBC) for handling voice-over-IP.)
Project Clearwater is an open-source project, with Metaswitch making its money by selling Clearwater Core on a subscription basis, along with associated support. Tiscali is the first such subscriber.