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March 25, 2015

Oracle & Intel prove CSP’s can have speed & reliability with NFV

Companies announce first successful demonstration of carrier-grade network function virtualisation.

By Joao Lima

Oracle Communications has today announced the first successful demonstration of carrier-grade network performance in a virtualised environment.

Announced at the Oracle Industry Connect 2015 in Washington DC, the venture was carried out in partnership with Intel and leveraged Enhanced Platform Awareness in OpenStack.

In a quest to reduce costs and boost agility, many communications service providers (CSPs) have started to transfer traditional appliance-based network functions to a network function virtualisation (NFV). The question remained, however, if virtualisation could deliver the same speed and reliability of traditional network appliances.

Oracle’s successful delivery of carrier-grade network performance in a virtualised environment provided an answer to that question. Using Intel’s Open Network Platform (ONP), the project proves that CSPs can realise more of the promise of NFV.

CSPs will have more capabilities in software that were previously limited to hardware by directing network activity to the Intel processor. In turn, CSPs will maintain service quality levels and develop new offers for customers as soon as CSPs begin to migrate their network functions to the data centre.

For this project specific products part of Oracle’s orchestration framework, including the Oracle Communications Network Service Orchestration Solution, were optimised for the Intel ONP using OpenStack open source infrastructure management software and its Enhanced Platform Awareness capabilities.

By directing the Intel platform to dynamically establish data centre resource pools that mimic the specialised characteristics of a network appliance (such as large memory pages), the orchestration software can then route the work to the correct pool, based on each function’s unique needs.

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Moreover, this orchestration activity can work for any network equipment vendor’s interface, preserving the CSP community’s requirement to support multi-vendor environments.

The Intel XeonTM E5-2600 v3 processor, which is built specifically for networking requirements, was optimised by Oracle highlighting the importance of orchestrating network functions at the processor-attribute level.

Liam Maxwell, vice president of products for Oracle Communications, said: "This initiative does more than just optimise Oracle Communications products for the Intel Open Network Platform.

"It takes the theory of delivering carrier-grade capabilities in a commercial data centre and turns it into reality. We’ve proven that we can orchestrate services and network functions from the top of the management and orchestration (MANO) stack all the way to individual network processors, and we can do it at scale."

John Healy, general manager, Software Defined Networking Division, Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, said: "The Intel Open Network Platform server combines industry-leading server architecture with open source software to enable quicker delivery of NFV solutions. Our work with Oracle demonstrates how a powerful server can act as the catalyst for end-to-end NFV orchestration."

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