Monitoring and testing of NFV environments is crucial to their success. Just as traditional networks must be tested, so do virtualized ones. There is, however, a difference in NFV testing versus legacy physical network services. With NFV services, there is the opportunity to create end-to-end tests during the provisioning cycle, have those tests run and then use the results of the tests to determine how to fine-tune the deployment or adapt the deployment to ensure maximal success in meeting cost needs (using cheaper resources to achieve the desired SLA) or meeting very strict SLAs.
Testing and monitoring solutions can reveal the reliability and performance challenges of a virtual environment by measuring how traffic patterns and applications are impacting the infrastructure. These tools and also validate performance, provide visibility into the network and process. Assurance solutions are essential to test and monitor network infrastructure, capacity, scalability, and convergence.
Some further reasons why testing and monitoring tools are critical to NFV deployments:
- Testing and monitoring of NFVI, VNFs is a key component of any production roll-out. Testing should be integrated into any MANO service lifecycle process, and should be part of the service provisioning and bring-up process.
- Instrumentation within the NFVI is critical for ensuring appropriate use of resources, scaling of infrastructure based on load and identifying bottlenecks to efficient deployment within the system. As such telemetry from NFVI should be fed into the appropriate monitoring solution which either resides within the MANO component or collaborates closely with MANO to ensure service SLAs are being met. MANO can re-assign NFVI resources as necessary to different VNFs that make up a service to ensure ongoing quality of service and quality of experience for the service subscriber.
- Testing is needed to understand performance characteristics of overall system and where performance tweaks might be needed. Without live end-to-end testing within the actual NFVI infrastructure, it can be difficult to understand a priori, where the bottlenecks might be. With NFV, it’s possible to now provision the necessary resources, and then instantiate appropriate tests to characterize each element in the network service and make a determination as to the best way to optimize resources.
Additional MANO and Service Assurance Resources