Network Function Virtualization has dominated the conversation in the communications industry in recent years. In network planning discussions, proof of concepts and lab evaluations, and soonto-launch projects, operators are looking at their networks and businesses through the lens of this major technology disruptor. In fact, a recent IHS Infonetics report found that 35% of operators surveyed plan to launch NFV in 2015, while nearly all respondents planned to evaluate and / or deploy NFV within the next few years.1
It isn’t difficult to understand why network operators are so invested in the exploration and evaluation of network function virtualization. It is a paradigm shift in how network operators design, build, manage, and monetize their networks and data centers. At a time when the cost to operate a carrier data center threatens to overtake network profitability, NFV provides a glimmer of hope, showing great potential for outcomes that will afford network operators the leverage they need to drive innovation and profits in today’s data-driven world. These outcomes include –
While the industry keeps a watchful eye for the early commercial NFV deployments, many of the underlying principles of network function virtualization have existed in enterprise IT and cloud computing for many years. Similarly, Alepo has been deploying its core network elements as virtualized network functions (VNFs) in Tier 1 operator production networks for many years, and today, Alepo is established as an experienced and successful technology provider in this space. A software pure player, Alepo has the core skills, proven experience, and know-how to deploy industry-leading core network functions, including AAA, OCS, PCRF, and HSS, in a virtualized or private cloud network environment.
The following paper describes the Alepo products and solutions available in a virtualized or private cloud network environment, as well as the key features and benefits of virtualization. For additional information, please explore www.alepo.com and contact your Alepo representative today.
While virtualization principles have prevailed in IT for many years, NFV started as a telecommunications industry initiative in 2012. Led by a group of forward-thinking network operators, today the ETSI NFV specifications group directs much of the activity and progress of this initiative.
In simple terms, network function virtualization is the process of decoupling software-based network functions from the underlying hardware infrastructure. Instead of running each network function or node on dedicated hardware, functions are run on virtualized machines (VMs), and physical resources are distributed across virtual machines. Spanning the network environment, virtualization is possible on most network functions: switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, CDNs, IMS, EPC nodes, DPIs and traffic managers, and policy functions like AAA and PCRF.
Virtualization boasts significant operator benefits related to how their networks are designed, built, managed, and monetized. The following benefits have been the key drivers for operators to pursue network function virtualization.
By abstracting network functions (software applications) from the physical hardware (e.g., servers, switches), operators are able to run those services on standard commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware instead of proprietary hardware. This affords operators greater flexibility and selection of low-cost commodity hardware, which can significantly reduce CAPEX for new services as well as simplify the planning and rollout of those new services.
When network functions are virtualized, they can be readily provisioned and co-located on standard, high-volume servers. This enables operators to better distribute their available network resources (e.g., CPU, storage) and optimize the use of their data centers. In doing so, operators can reduce the OPEX required to power, cool, and manage data centers and NOCs.
RAPID SERVICE INNOVATION & TIME TO MARKET
When the introduction of new network services requires proprietary or dedicated hardware, the scope, cost justification, and time to deployment can balloon quickly. Virtualization, on the other hand, lends itself to rapid and nimble service innovation by making the introduction of new services as simple as installing and configuring software and connecting it to its network touchpoints. Virtualization makes it possible for operators to trial new services in staging and small market environments, fine tuning services before they are launched across the operator’s markets.
A TRULY FLEXIBLE, AGILE ARCHITECTURE
Virtualization allows network operators to quickly provision and allocate network resources and services according to the operator’s real-time needs. Services can readily be scaled up and down across the data center, creating a truly flexible network architecture.
For network operators that have already begun to or plan to deploy core network infrastructure in a virtualized, partially virtualized, or private cloud environment, Alepo can readily provide its industry-leading core solutions as virtualized network functions, including –
Alepo has been deploying its core network elements as virtualized network functions (VNFs) in Tier 1 operator production networks for many years. Alepo’s network products perform highly on standard x86 COTS hardware, giving operators the freedom to choose the most cost-effective hardware. Alepo supports most leading hypervisor products, including vSphere (VMWare), HyperV (Microsoft), and Xenserver (Amazon). In addition, Alepo products employ modern, RESTful APIs, making them open and highly interoperable components.
THE ALEPO ADVANTAGE
When mobile and fixed network operators partner with Alepo to deploy virtualized core network functions, they gain the assurance of a software-pure player with no vested interest in the hardware infrastructure the operator selects. Alepo works with each operator client to properly size and source the most efficient and cost-effective hardware for the project. Because Alepo’s products are built to be open, flexible, and standards-compliant, operators are assured of vendorneutral, best-of-breeds network environments.
With many proven years of experience in the telco IT and core network environment, Alepo has established itself as an experienced and proven technology vendor in this space. Alepo has a talented and skilled team of architects, solution designers, system integrators, and subject matter experts to ensure a rapid and successful deployment in any type of network environment. Experts in “All Things Data,” Alepo helps operators worldwide to create roadmaps towards flat, all-IP network environments that promote rapid service innovation, data monetization, and ROI.
AN ALEPO SUCCESS STORY
Saudi Telecom boosts core performance with Alepo virtualized AAA & PCRF
In 2012, Alepo worked with the Middle East’s largest telco, Saudi Telecom, to replace its legacy infrastructure with Alepo’s AAA and PCRF Lite solutions. Alepo deployed scalable, high-performing applications on virtualized machines in STC’s private cloud environment. In doing so, STC was able to maintain an overall total cost of ownership without sacrificing speed or agility.
As a result of the upgrade to Alepo’s virtualized AAA and PCRF, STC tripled its AAA performance capacity, saw a 100-fold boost in API response time, and increased subscriber capacity from 3 to 10 million. Read the full case study at www.alepo.com.
Alepo makes next-gen data opportunities a reality. Our advanced software solutions and services enable global communications service providers to accelerate revenue growth, market share, and business success on next-generation fixed and mobile broadband networks. For over a decade, Alepo has been the go-to technology partner for “all things data” at leading service providers like Orange, Saudi Telecom, and Digicel.
As the connected world nears critical mass, Alepo envisions lean communications service providers that are empowered to –
Our continual innovation spans advanced policy and charging control, convergent charging and billing, device management, BSS / OSS, Wi-Fi hotspot monetization, Wi-Fi offload, AAA infrastructure, and more. Alepo provides expert professional services: systems integration, consulting and design, training and support, managed services, and more.
Established in 2004, Alepo is a mature technology solutions provider with presence in all regions of the world and with offices in Argentina, Cameroon, Colombia, France, and India. Alepo USA Corporate Headquarters is located in Austin, Texas.
For more information, explore www.Alepo.com
1 IHS. 35 Percent of Operators Surveyed Will Deploy NFV This Year in Effort to Virtualize Networks. (2015, June 11). Retrieved from http://press.ihs.com/press-release/design-supply-chain-media/35-percent-operators-surveyed-will-deploy-nfv-year-effort-vi