Check out our latest SDx Analyst & Research report: 2018 NFV Report Series Part 3: State of the VNF Ecosystem. Download PDF.
2018 NFV Report Series Part 3: State of the VNF Ecosystem
Communication service providers (CSPs) worldwide continue to invest in virtualization of their network infrastructure, laying the groundwork for 5G and IoT services. Some have even taken the lead in accelerating service development on top of existing standards, thereby jumpstarting extensions to existing standards and defining new ones with their contributions. Moreover, CSPs continue pushing vendors to disaggregate specialized networking equipment in favor of open architectures.
This final installation in the NFV Report series covers the latest in network functions virtualization (NFV) virtual network functions (VNFs), the workhorse of NFV. These are the actual network functions that provide the desired network services. VNFs benefit from the underlying NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) that hosts these services and provides the appropriate virtualization capabilities as well as NFV MANO that orchestrates and manages the VNFs and the NFV Infrastructure to roll out NFV services.
2018 NFV Report Series Part 2: Rising roles of MANO, LSO and Assurance
Since the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the world’s leading communications service providers (CSPs) launched the ETSI ISG for Network Function Virtualization (NFV) in early 2013, vendors and CSPs alike have been working to make NFV a reality. As part of the update to our annual NFV report series, we are publishing three reports. The recently published report on NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and the Virtualized Infrastructure Managers (VIMs) is available for download. This report will cover the management and orchestration (MANO) necessary to deploy these functions, as well as the topic of service assurance. And the upcoming third report will cover Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and NFV use cases.
The momentum in 2018 for NFV and NFV MANO continues, with significant developments across multiple fronts. As CSPs slowly transition their infrastructure, they are all realizing that NFV adoption not only involves technology but business processes and culture too. And the portion of NFV that ties in closely with business processes, the traditional BSS/OSS systems, is NFV MANO.
Over the past year, we’ve seen significant momentum behind Linux Foundation ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform). More carriers have announced support for it, and many vendors are signed up to be part of the ecosystem, though some may be taking a wait-and-see approach to figure out the real-world traction before investing more than just marketing resources. Regardless, Verizon’s support of ONAP, as well as Bell Canada’s deployment of ONAP modules, lends weight to ONAP, beyond the original deployments from AT&T and China Mobile. There is still significant work required to develop ONAP before it’s clear whether the technology is commercially deployable in environments outside of AT&T where ONAP was incubated and spent its formative years. And it remains to be seen what happens with ETSI’s OSM (Open Source MANO), which effectively competes with ONAP, though there are discussions around collaboration.
2018 NFV Report Series Part 1: NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and VIM
Over the course of the last 5 years, since ETSI and the world’s leading communications service providers (CSPs) launched the ETSI ISG for NFV (Network Function Virtualization) in early 2013, vendors and CSPs alike have been working to make NFV a reality. Disaggregation of network services from proprietary hardware, deployment of a fully virtualized infrastructure, modern cloud designs and advanced, agile orchestration and management all promise lower CapEx and OpEx, with improved agility and time to market.
In 2018, the momentum behind NFV continues, even as reality sets in that full NFV adoption will take longer as CSPs slowly transition their infrastructure, business processes and culture—NFV adoption is not simply a technology problem. Regardless, NFV, along with cloud adoption, will continue its uptake and we will cover the state of NFV across our three report series. Our 2018 reports will cover a wide range, from industry-standard commercial off-the- shelf (COTS) hardware as NFV Infrastructure (NFVI), to hypervisors and the Virtualized Infrastructure Managers (VIMs), to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and the management and orchestration (MANO) necessary to deploy these functions.
This specific report covers the latest in NFVI and VIM development, the key foundations of any NFV deployment. We continue to see diversity in NFVI hardware, from the dominant standard 19-inch rackmount servers to other forms like blade servers and an increasing focus on hyperconverged architectures (HCI), especially for edge deployment supporting 5G and IoT services. As well, alternate compute platforms based on ARM architectures battle for CSP deployments with x86 architecture from both Intel and AMD are popping up at the Edge and on customer premises equipment (CPE). We’ll cover more on the CPE, vCPE (virtual CPE) and uCPE (universal CPE) trends in our SD-WAN and Virtual Edge report later this year.
2018 NFV Report Series Part 1: NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and VIM Webinar:
2018 Next-Gen Data Center Networking
Networking in the data center has evolved rapidly over the course of the last few years, driven by the rise of XaaS hyperscale cloud providers, as well as the continued virtualization of the data center—first with VMs and now with containers. Further, the uptake of micro-services architecture in applications and increased reliance on big data analytics has changed data center traffic patterns both within data centers and between data centers.
To adequately support the scale and demand of ever-increasing workloads, as well as requirements of business agility and flexibility, data center builders and operators are turning to new networking technologies, including higher-speed connectivity (race to 400Gbps), HW NIC accelerator offloads, software-defined networking (SDN), automation, programmability and intent-based management and orchestration systems. And we’re seeing an interest in highly-programmable merchant silicon coming up as alternatives to FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) and NPUs (Network Processing Units), many with support for the P4 programming language.
These technologies are increasingly applied to streamlined data center networking architectures based around 2-3 tier CLOS network topologies with ECMP (equal cost multipath) support, replacing legacy fat-tree architectures. And some innovative technologists are looking beyond Ethernet to PCIe bus switching with NVMe (a storage technology) for flexible and high-performance data center solutions. Concurrent with pursuing increased capacity and speed, network operators are also implementing finer-grained micro-segmentation and compartmentalization of their networks to defend against new waves of security attacks.
2018 Next-Gen Data Center Networking Report Webinars:
- Gain Max Agility – Set Your Data Center Fabric Free! sponsored by Plexxi
- Next-Gen Networking for Hybrid and Multi-Cloud sponsored by Big Switch Networks
- A Trust Model for Multi-CloudNetworks and Applications Beyond Zero Trust sponsored by Pulse Secure
- Future-proof Your Data Center Networking for Big Data, Cloud, and Hyper-converged Applications sponsored by Lenovo
2018 Future of the Converged Data Center
Software and hardware disaggregation is driving new product categories for next-generation data centers that include converged appliances, high-density servers, and software-defined storage and networking equipment. Among the hottest areas of hardware innovation are converged infrastructure platforms that integrate hyper- and rack-scale hardware with virtualized software stacks for compute and storage.
Converged infrastructure (CI) is typically a large, rack-scale platform that combines compute, storage and networking into a packaged, turnkey product while Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) usually refers to 1U or 2U (rack-unit) systems that consolidate one or more multi-core servers with a local storage array. The nodes are controlled by a centrally-managed HCI software stack that provides a hypervisor, software-defined storage and virtual networking that pools resources among all nodes in an HCI cluster. Often, these HCI clusters are connected via high-speed flexible networking fabrics to ensure performance. These all-in-one designs have several significant advantages compared to traditional servers: easier to purchase, faster to deploy and manage and potentially lower operating and capital costs.
Both CI and HCI help mitigate the inherent difficulty of scaling performance of monolithic designs. Infrastructure designers have learned that it’s much easier to scale capacity and performance using connected, yet distributed building blocks versus large, monolithic systems. Through their ease of deployment, CI and HCI systems can facilitate rapid growth in cloud environments, while supporting lower OpEx through unified and consistent management consoles. Likewise, the scalability and central manageability of CI and HCI platforms allows organizations to consolidate their data center footprint by aggregating applications onto fewer systems or a single logical pool by migrating applications from smaller data centers and computer rooms into a few large, more efficient facilities.
2018 Future of the Converged Data Center Report Webinar:
- Leveraging Next-Gen Networking to Unlock the Power of HCI sponsored by Big Switch Networks
2017 Next-gen Software-defined (SDx) Infrastructure Assurance
Network Performance Management (NPM) and Application Performance Management (APM) are critical elements in the deployment and maintenance of technology infrastructure platforms today. They’ve evolved from simple CPU, memory, storage and network packet monitoring in the late 1990s to sophisticated systems today, powered by Big Data analytics, sometimes with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI and ML) thrown into the mix to help sort through the firehose of data from today’s complex data center and networking infrastructure.
Regardless of the evolution of these NPM and APM solutions, most of them are still used to support similar use cases from the past, including troubleshooting and root cause analysis, capacity planning, service level agreement monitoring and management and overall resource reporting for end-users or billing purposes.
Nevertheless, today’s solutions have to contend with more complexity, as enterprises move their applications to cloud platforms (both on-premises and in the cloud), employ virtualization for compute, storage and networking, move to SDN (software-defined networking) and NFV (network functions virtualization) architectures, and spin up and down containers in which they host microservices or different components of applications. NPM and APM solutions need to provide the means to monitor applications running on hybrid infrastructure. In some cases, these solutions will compete with, and sometimes integrate into, built-in monitoring and visibility tools provided by the IaaS and PaaS vendors. All this in the hopes of becoming that single pane of glass that end-users depend on to provide the necessary information to make infrastructure decisions.
2017 Next-gen Software-defined (SDx) Infrastructure Assurance Report Webinars:
- Evolving NetOps for Comprehensive Network Performance Monitoring of SDx Architectures sponsored by CA Technologies
- Work Smarter, Not Harder – How to Use a Next-Gen NPB for greater ROI from your APM/NPM Tools sponsored by Big Switch Networks
2017 Open Source in Networking Report
With the advent of SDN and NFV, open source in networking has risen to prominence. From SDN controllers, to virtual switches and routers, to network operating systems on white box switches, even to the orchestration and monitoring systems, open source now plays a major role. Open source has even spread to hardware platforms with the rise of the Open Compute Project (OCP). These rapid changes are pushing traditional proprietary networking vendors to find ways to continue to provide value to their customers while figuring out how to embrace open source themselves.
Open source in networking isn’t new, with open-source routing stacks like Quagga having been around for many years, network intrusion systems like Snort (released in 1998) gaining prominence more than 10 years ago and open-source BSD UNIX variants used as network operating systems by major networking vendors. However, SDN and NFV have pushed open source to the forefront and we are now faced with a burgeoning open-source ecosystem and new market dynamics that cloud service providers, communication service providers, enterprises, system integrators and technology vendors are all working hard at figuring out.
For all networking stakeholders, understanding best practices in open source, including how to work with prominent foundations like Linux Foundation, OpenStack Foundation, and Apache Foundation are now critical to business success. Likewise, understanding how to incorporate, contribute to, and benefit from open source projects has become a critical core competence for all organizations.
2017 SD-WAN and Virtual Edge Report
Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) and universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) are critical elements in the transformation of the WAN marketplace. These last 12 months have seen the focus in the SD-WAN market shift from vCPEs and NFV in the service provider market to SD-WAN solutions in the enterprise.
Within enterprises, growing dependence on cloud services (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), increased demand for bandwidth at the edge, as well as security and compliance requirements have driven organizations to look for new solutions for their WANs. The traditional approache of proprietary integrated software-hardware appliances combined with one-off box-by-box configuration can no longer meet the needs of today’s enterprises.
SD-WANs, leveraging SDN (software-defined networking) principles, and sporting centralized cloud controls and a combination of WAN technologies (layer 3, layer 4-7) under one umbrella, fit the new enterprise requirements well. In addition to the cloud networking vendors who have rebranded themselves under the SD-WAN moniker, other SD-WAN vendors have come out of the woodwork. Many vendors have their roots in past WAN and even LAN solutions, ranging from router vendors, to firewall vendors, to WAN optimization vendors and even to wireless LAN providers. Each come to the table with strengths from their legacies as they invest in building new capabilities to become a comprehensive SD-WAN solution.
2017 SD-WAN and Virtual Edge Report Webinars:
- Taking SD-WAN to the Next Level: Use Cases and Considerations sponsored by Riverbed
- Huawei SD-WAN Solution Delivers Ultimate Experience in Enterprise WAN sponsored by Huawei
- A Secure and Scalable SD-WAN Approach to Reshape Managed Services for the Cloud Era sponsored by Juniper Networks
- Developing a Hybrid Plan for SD-WAN sponsored by Comcast Business
2017 SDx Infrastructure Security Report
This marks SDxCentral’s 3rd Annual SDx Security Infrastructure Report, which provides a unique perspective on the major trends and activity taking place in the rapidly evolving software-defined everything (SDx) infrastructure securitymarket. The Report is designed to provide visibility into some of the security challenges and opportunities emerging within the SDx infrastructure and insights into some of the biggest shifts and advancements being made by cybersecurity technologies and solutions on the market.
With the move from physical dedicated hardware to commodity platforms coupled with flexible software, the software-defined movement is gaining momentum. From virtualization in the data center and the rise of cloud architectures, to Network Functions Virtualization across the telecom fixed and mobile environment, business needs are pushing infrastructure architecture to be more agile. With that agility and flexibility come new security challenges: increased attack surface, new exploits, new vulnerabilities and the need for visibility.
As we transform each major area of our IT infrastructure, our need for new security approaches becomes critical to ensuring a reliable, safe and trusted environment on which our applications can execute and data can travel and reside. Our report will cover the new software-defined security (SDS) requirements across six critical areas of rapid innovation.
2017 SDx Infrastructure Security Report Webinars:
- Automated Analytics and Remediation for Cloud-based Security Services sponsored by Nuage Networks
- Next-generation Security and Visibility Architecture for Dynamic, Software-defined Network Defense sponsored by Big Switch Networks
- Paving a Trusted Way for Cloud-based Transformation sponsored by Huawei
- Automated Visibility Combined with a “Cloud Delivered” Security Model are Keys for Next-Generation Prevention sponsored by Palo Alto Networks
2017 Innovations in Edge Computing and MEC Report
With the rise of 5G and IoT, and more importantly, the new applications often associated with them—augmented reality, virtual reality and autonomous vehicles—it has become clear to communications service providers (CSPs) worldwide that edge computing architectures will play an important role in ensuring successful roll-out of these new applications.
In recognition of the need to standardize an open environment at the edge, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) established an Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Mobile Edge Computing (also called Multi-Access Edge Computing) in December 2014. The ISG is working on terminology, architectures, use cases and requirements with the goal of seamless integration of third-party applications across multivendor platforms at the mobile edge. MEC is a natural evolution of mobile base stations and also represents the convergence of IT and telecommunications networking. MEC will enable new business offerings and services for both consumers and enterprise customers.
This report will take a look at the current state of MEC, the key use cases that are being discussed and prototyped today, early proof of concepts and pre-standard deployments that exist today.
2017 Innovations in Edge Computing and MEC Report Webinar:
- Edge Computing in the Age of Hyperscale sponsored by Dell EMC
2017 Network Virtualization Report: SDN Controllers, Cloud Networking and More
Last year, SDxCentral combined our software-defined networking (SDN) Controller and Network Virtualization (NV) reports. We felt that the two technologies were complementary and had projected that these markets would converge over time. The maturation of the market over the last year has borne out our predictions: network virtualization has become the technology problem to be solved and SDN controllers are the primarily component of the NV platform.
Over the course of the last 12 months, network virtualization continued to make inroads across all areas of the enterprise, from data center to campus to the WAN, with campus uptake still somewhat lagging. In particular, SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) has ignited a huge wave of interest and has become one of the hottest topics on SDxCentral. We will provide more details around SD-WAN in our 2017 edition of our massively popular SD-WAN and Virtual Edge report later this year.
Within communications service providers (CSP), SDN controllers feature in NFV and telco cloud platforms, providing primarily network virtualization for NFV deployments (including service function chaining) and private clouds, but also provide CSPs with agile control of wide-area fabrics.
2017 Network Virtualization Report: SDN Controllers, Cloud Networking and More Report Webinar:
- SD-Core: A Real-World Use Case for Deploying Software Networking Over Core Switching sponsored by Lumina Networks
2017 Container and Cloud Orchestration Report
Virtualization and cloud computing technologies have been with us the last 10+ years. It has, however, only been recently that cloud computing has captured significant market and mind share. And today, enterprises and service providers alike are scrambling to understand how to best leverage cloud technologies.
There continues to be a need for managing clouds, both privately in enterprise data centers but also across public clouds. Cloud Management Platforms like OpenStack and VMware vCloud suite continue their expansion, improving feature set capabilities, adding support for containers and providing better scaling, visibility and troubleshooting.
At the same time, Cloud Orchestration Platforms continue to develop to enable cross-cloud and cross-stack management, adding more maturity to their capabilities such as more sophisticated templates, policy-based scaling and advanced logic for workload placement. And with all these different clouds with different management APIs, standardization and interoperability becomes more important. Organizations such as the DMTF and Open Grid Forum have started efforts to crafting standards that allow cross-cloud integration and management API standardization but these are early days yet.
2017 Container and Cloud Orchestration Report Webinars:
- OpenStack for Telco NFVi – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly sponsored by Canonical
- Key Requirements for Automating Service Delivery for Applications in Hybrid Cloud Environments sponsored by Citrix
- The Evolution of the Cloud: Why Containers and Kubernetes are the Next Big Steps sponsored by Platform9
- Drive into the Digital Age with Multi-Cloud Management and Orchestration sponsored by A10 Networks
2017 5G Special Report
The fifth generation of mobile networks, more commonly known as 5G, has been far more di cult to de ne than have previous generations. Such 2G systems as GSM and CDMA were primarily about mobile voice services, while 3G rst introduced the world to mobile data. Long Term Evolution (LTE) or 4G then really opened the oodgates by enabling “true” mobile broadband services, which are now bene ting from advanced technologies, such as carrier aggregation, to boost speeds and capacity.
5G is the term used to describe the next generation of mobile networks beyond the 4G LTE networks of today. 5G is also regarded as more than just a shift to a new generation of mobile networks. Indeed, as Andy Sutton, principal network architect at UK-based mobile operator EE, once said: “If we get 5G right, there won’t be a 6G.” That’s because 5G is not only expected to bring faster mobile broadband services. It is also set to underpin new use cases and business models for consumers, businesses, and industry – not to mention the Internet of Things (IoT).
2017 5G Special Report Webinar:
- Converging Transport Networks for 5G Success: The ‘Anyhaul’ Imperative sponsored by Nokia
2017 SDxCentral IoT Infrastructure Report
Internet of Things (IoT) is past the hype stage. The Vodafone IoT Barometer (2016), paints a picture of IoT enthusiasm. The report, based on a wide-ranging survey of businesses of all sizes, found that more than three-quarters of respondents thought IoT would be “critical” to their future success. Over 60% said they would have live projects within the next year.
And according to another recent global study of businesses from Aruba (2), a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, 85% of businesses plan to implement IoT by 2019. The prospect of greater e ciencies and pro tability, plus stealing a march on competitors, are key drivers for IoT infrastructure.
As this report highlights, however, gaining maximum value from IoT will not be plain sailing. The possibility of sensitive IoT-generated data falling into the wrong hands will be a headache for many IT managers, while guring out how to maximize value from the data collected poses another awkward challenge.
The fragmented nature of the market is also a worry. According to some estimates, there are over 400 IoT platforms and 100 standards swishing around in the marketplace. Choice on this scale indicates a market still to shake out the wheat from the chaff.
Communication service providers (CSPs) also have their work cut out in staking a strong claim in the IoT space. The likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), General Electric (GE), Google, IBM and Microsoft will be formidable competitors.
2017 SDxCentral IoT Infrastructure Report Webinar:
- Securing the Industrial Internet of Things sponsored by Bayshore Networks
Inside the Linux Container Ecosystem
Linux container technology: Everybody’s talking about it. Container has become one of those magic buzzwords that can conjure up billions of dollars in capital and create market-leading companies such as Docker, overnight.
But what are containers used for, exactly, and how do they apply to existing virtualization and networking markets? That is what we intend to define here in the first SDxCentral report on container infrastructure, which is sure to become an annual tradition. This includes the development of important niches of the container ecosystem, including container security, container networking, and Docker networking. Think of the container technology world as developing parallels to all of the existing tools in the networking market.
- 2018 NFV Report Series Part 3: State of the VNF Ecosystem, May 2017
- 2017 NFV Report Series Part 2: Orchestrating NFV – MANO and Service Assurance, April 2017
- 2017 NFV Report Series Part 1: Foundations of NFV: NFV Infrastructure and VIM, April 2017
- 2017 Next-Gen Data Center Networking Report, February 2017
- 2017 Next-Gen OSS and the Rise of LSO Report, January 2017
- 2016 Cloud Automation and DevOps Report, November 2016
- Virtual Edge Expanding: The 2016 SD-WAN and vCPE Report, October 2016
- The Future of Network Virtualization and SDN Controllers Report, September 2016
- 2016 Special Report: Network Performance Management Takes On Applications, June 2016
- 2016 Next-gen Infrastructure Security Report, May 2016
- 2016 Mega NFV Report Pt. 2: VNFs, April 2016
- 2016 Mega NFV Report Part I: MANO and NFVI, March 2016
- 2016 Future of Converged Data Center Report, March 2016
- Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) Market Overview Report, January 2016
- Network Virtualization in the Data Center Report, November 2015
- Virtual Edge (vCPE / SD-WAN) Report, November 2015
- SDx OpenStack & Cloud Management Report, October 2015
- SDN Controllers Report, August 2015
- SDx Infrastructure Security Report, July 2015
- Network Functions Virtualization Report, April 2015
- 2014 Network Virtualization Report, November 2014
- 2013 Network Virtualization Report, October 2013
If you have any questions regarding previous report releases, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.