Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
As you already know, the cloud is one of the megatrends of our times, and service providers are embracing the open cloud with the help of network functions virtualization (NFV).
An NFV platform enables providers to run network functions on a homogeneous, distributed cloud infrastructure. Using an NFV solution, they can port network functions such as communications and messaging applications and fixed and mobile network functions over to a virtual machine environment. Freed from proprietary, physical hardware, providers can leverage this virtualized infrastructure as the basis for their own service platforms and operations.
Seeing the opportunity inherent in NFV, as described in detail in an applications note Alcatel-Lucent has developed a purpose-built NFV platform for service providers, CloudBand. The platform supports distributed clouds and dynamic network control to meet application demands, and it optimizes network operations by automating cloud node management, application lifecycle management, smart placement and network configuration.
“With the CloudBand NFV platform they gain the agility to quickly deploy and upgrade services in a dynamic cloud environment, and to grow and shrink service resources on demand,” notes Alcatel-Lucent. “The platform eliminates the need to buy more custom hardware or support the large operations teams that are currently needed to install and manage sites.”
The CloudBand solution consists of a software and hardware stack that is made up of Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand Management System and its CloudBand Node.
The CloudBand Management System orchestrates, automates and optimizes virtual network functions across aservice provider’s distributed network and data centers, and aggregates distributed cloud resources to provide a coherent view of the entire NFV infrastructure as a single, carrier-grade pool.
The CloudBand system has a pluggable architecture, supports industry-standard APIs such as OpenStack and Apache CloudStack, enables multitenancy, and can serve as a platform-as-a-service to automate the complete application lifecycle from deployment, monitoring, scaling, healing, and upgrading and patching, all from an HTML5 interface.
The CloudBand Node is a turnkey, all-in-one compute, storage and network node system that the company bills as a “cloud in a box.”
Together, Alcatel-Lucent has produced an NFV platform that delivers on the five major components that help bring a successful NFV implementation, including orchestration that treats data centers and networks as a single cloud, abstracted and automated network provisioning and monitoring, lifecycle management, an open infrastructure that can be leveraged by partners and developers, and easy deployment through CloudBand Node.
All this leads to an NFV solution that’s almost too easy to deploy given the benefits it delivers for operators.