Network Functions Virtualization uses COTS-based compute and networking components combined with third party software to build networking solutions. Commodity hardware helps lower costs for the overall solution, but significant value to customers is delivered by NFVI software.
NFVI software comes in many forms ranging from Operating Systems (OS) and hypervisors, to virtualized infrastructure solutions, to software based network components and accelerators.
Examples of NFVI SW include open solution options like OpenStack (which can also be considered a VIM), ONOS (Open Network Operating System), OpenDaylight (ODL) and commercial solutions such as Juniper’s Contrail. NFVI operating systems are sometimes referred to as “Cloud OS’s” or cloud operating systems.
NFVI software can also refer to the SW that powers or manages the networking, storage or compute components of the NFV solution. NFV switches, such as OpenvSwitch, virtualize traditional layer-2 network functions and provide alternatives to proprietary hardware based solutions.
On a more discrete level, NFV solutions would be impossible without hypervisors. A hypervisor creates and runs virtual machines on a host machine, the actual physical hardware. The most popular hypervisors include Linux KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine), VMware’s ESXi, and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. A new hypervisor by the Linux Foundation is Project ACRN, which will offer a “hypervisor, and its device model complete with rich I/O mediators.”
Finally, NFVI accelerators (both hardware and software) help COTS hardware increase performance for specific tasks to more closely match proprietary solutions. Companies such as Intel and 6Wind are leveling the playing field with solutions like Intel’s Open Virtualization Profile and Virtualization Technology (Intel VT), and DPDK and other SW-based acceleration.
NFVI software completes the full value proposition of for NFVI-based solutions.
- *Enea Software: Enea NFV Access
- *VMware, Inc.: vCloud NFV
- 6WIND: 6WIND Virtual Accelerator
- ADVA Optical Networking: Ensemble Connector
- Cisco Systems: Cisco Enterprise Network Functions Virtualization
- Huawei: FusionSphere OpenStack
- Linux Foundation: Open Container Initiative
- Mirantis: Mirantis Cloud Platform
- Radisys: FlowEngine
- Red Hat: Red Hat OpenStack Platform
- Telco Systems: NFVTime
- Wind River: Titanium Cloud Product Portfolio