ADVA’s Ensemble Connector is a high performance NFVI software product (also described as an NFV network operating system). Ensemble Connector is a family of software applications that enables CSPs to provide the virtual networking and virtual hosting functionality at the customer premises, in the gateway between network clouds, and in the data center. It enhances a standard Linux/KVM/OpenStack environment with an accelerated vSwitch, Carrier Ethernet and select Layer 3 functionality as well as carrier-class manageability and operationalization features. Ensemble Connector also supports Linux containers (LXC) and Docker containers today. It currently uses Docker containers to implement the embedded cloud feature, where we host the OpenStack environment (compute node agents and controller) within a Docker container directly on a uCPE node. Connector can also leverage containers to dynamically enable optional networking features including encryption, NAT/PAT, and other layer 3 routing functions.
Communications service providers (CSPs) know that virtualizing their network is key to enabling service revenue growth and operational agility. The challenge for the CSP is to provide a ubiquitous virtual networking platform that can host a variety of virtual network functions (VNFs) across different deployment configurations.
CSPs virtualizing their network need an enablement platform that provides high-throughput data path performance. They need a solution that scales from small-footprint, edge applications to high-density, data center use cases. They need a solution that solves their OpenStack operational concerns and makes OpenStack easily deployable in a distributed Telco environment. Moreover, they need a white box solution that operates on a wide range of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) platforms, protecting their software investment and unlocking the networking functions from proprietary hardware. They need Ensemble Connector.
Ensemble Connector is the leading NFVI software solution for uCPE applications. Its competitive advantages include:
• No hardware vendor lock-in: Choose your own third-party hardware, from low-cost Intel Atom®-based devices all the way up to multi-socket Intel® Xeon® blade servers. In addition to COTS platforms, Ensemble supports for ADVA’s best of breed FSP 150 ProVM high performance platforms, with a variety of carrier-class features such as assured forwarding, precision timing and layer 2 security.
• No orchestration vendor lock-in: Leveraging OpenStack, Connector embedded cloud places a self-contained cloud instance on the compute node and provides open, standard interfaces with any 3rd party orchestration platforms (including Ensemble Orchestrator).
• Improved virtual switching: Faster, more efficient and more consistent forwarding – performance than open vSwitch (OVS) with gigabit throughput on Atom processors.
• Zero-touch provisioning (ZTP): With Ensemble Connector, CSPs ship an un-configured server to a customer site and then provision it remotely and securely without the need for an onsite technician.
• Improved networking: Ensemble Connector provides a variety of advanced networking applications at Layer 2 and 3, including LTE access and Carrier Ethernet 2.0 functionality.
• Security and encryption: At multiple levels: commissioning, virtualization, management and user connections.
• Carrier deployments: Ensemble Connector has been deployed globally, carrying live services for more than 2 years. Announced customer include:
o Verizon VNS – uCPE software
o Masergy – uCPE software
o Dartpoints – micro data center
• Multiple commercial models: Perpetual, subscription, feature-based, speed based
• Openness: Support for the industry’s largest set of third-party VNFs
The top 3 use cases for Connector include:
1. SD-WAN: Operators want to deploy SD-WAN, but don’t want to be locked-in to vendor-specific appliances or monolithically integrated software applications. Ensemble Connector provides the features that simplify deployment of SD-WAN VNFs on uCPE platform, including zero touch, LTE networking, and service chaining with best-of-breed security solutions, all in a cloud-native platform.
2. uCPE: Ensemble Connector enables uCPE applications with high performance, optimized cost and support for any VNF. Operators can now reap the benefits of edge computing without the performance and cost penalties of the past.
3. Secure cloud: Multi-cloud applications are gaining popularity, but connectivity over the public internet raises issues of security and layer 2 transparency. Ensemble’s secure cloud connectivity can be hosted in any cloud environment, providing end-to-end security and transparency. Users can now leverage the cloud to protect the cloud.
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