Next Generation Communications Blog

Cloud

Network Functions Virtualization: Learnings from an NFV proof-of-concept

By: Asaf Peled, Cloud Solution Architect, Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand activity 

We live in exciting times – again. I had been wondering if there was still room for fundamental innovation, for technological disruption – the worn out word. We had the Internet bubble that burst 2001/2002. We had the advent of the smartphone in the recent years. Great innovation, but somehow they reached a plateau. Faster processors, larger screens? It doesn’t seem to make a real difference. Apple’s engine showed the first signs of sputtering.

And yet, there is something brewing behind the scenes that makes the engineer’s heart beat faster: NFV and SDN, a bold new vision about the future of networks (read these blog posts about understanding Network Functions Virtualization and Software Defined Networks). Network functions are to be reduced to pure software - doing away with all the special purpose chips, circuit boards, and cabinets into which we have poured our brains to deliver the ultimate in features, performance, and reliability.

NFV INSIGHTS: Making the [business] case for NFV

By: Joaquin De La Vega Gonzalez-Sicilia, Alcatel-Lucent Sr. Manager, Cloud Consulting Services

I still remember with great excitement how, in October 2012, a group of network operators published a whitepaper that coined the term Network Functions Virtualization. This announcement validated a vision that we had been promoting under the name of “Virtual Telco” for more than two years. The telecommunications world had decided to start a fascinating journey towards the cloud, and we were already in the game with a product. What I could not imagine is how fast things would move.

NFV INSIGHTS: The making of NFV security - "from vision to reality"

By: David Amzallag - Alcatel-Lucent Vice President, Virtual Telecommunications and CloudBand CTO

While network functions virtualization (NFV) introduces new challenges to security, it also presents unique opportunities for addressing security problems due to the unprecedented scale, flexibility, and central control it affords. Compute, storage, and network resources can be optimally allocated and stitched together as required by the security policy. Our approach to address NFV security is based on a recursive, divide-and-conquer methodology, which involves securing the Alcatel-Lucent CloudBand™ NFV Platform, cloud nodes, and the network that interconnects them. CloudBand uses policy-based placement capabilities enabled by the CloudBand Management System to install virtualized functions in their appropriate security zones, and re-uses the security services provided by NFV applications.

I thought it would be a good idea to describe the journey to this approach together with its "making of" episodes.

CloudBand Delivers NFV Solution for Network Operators

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.

Enterprises Need a Converged Network to Meet Current and Future Requirements

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Bring-your-own-device, mobile video, virtualization and a greater need for quality of service have prompted the need to rethink the network. In fact, the exponential increase in traffic has added a sense of urgency on the part of enterprises to upgrade their networks.

What’s needed is a converged network, according to a recent paper by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). Enterprise Converged Network Solution, which carries the subtitle, Deliver a Consistent and Quality User Experience, Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs.  With a long and deep history of providing state-of-the-art enterprise networks, ALY is advocating a converted, application-aware network that accounts for the latest evolutions in computing, yet is a resilient enough to meet both today’s needs and those of tomorrow.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes says Europe Must Stop its Cellular Race to the Bottom

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As leaders in Europe debate whether the EU is “back” during the World Economic Forum, the region is increasingly falling behind when it comes to telecommunications, according to Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes.

“There is a real danger,” noted Combes in a recent blog post on Europe’s digital divide (published in the Wall Street Journal, “that Europe is losing ground in the information era.”

That’s because there is an increasing gap between what the latest smartphones can deliver and what Europe’s telecommunications companies can support due to a price war that inhibits infrastructure upgrades.

“Europe is locked in a vicious circle of competition focused exclusively on price, one that forces operators to reduce their investments and destroys their innovation capacity,” noted Combes. “This type of competition is bad news for a digital Europe and its consumers.”

OpenTouch--Welcome to the Personal Cloud

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

What mobility has done is change the conversation. For the past 30 years, enterprise data communication was about the personal computer. But that’s shifting as smartphones and tablets have given the world the ability to more easily perform work from any device with a cellular and/or Wi-Fi connection. The cloud has then given business the ability to perform business with these devices, effectively taking enterprise computing resources and making them available to any employee with authorized access at any time.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend within the enterprise is the manifestation of this. And, IP-based communications of all types has also changed quite a bit driven by mobility and the cloud. Collaborative conversation is much easier, and video conferencing is easier than ever.

Helping to meet the needs of the new direction of business companies such as Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) have developed services that help enable this transformation of business.

How the Cloud is Making Datacenters Dynamic

By: Sunil Khandekar, CEO, Nuage Networks

The future of datacenters is virtual, automatic, cloud-based, instantaneous, and boundary-less. These might not be the words associated with datacenters today -- you're more likely to hear slow, cumbersome, and related words in the same breath -- but software is driving this revolution in networking.

It has been undergoing a massive shift to the cloud for years now, driven by enterprise motivations to consolidate, as well as to use computer resources more optimally and efficiently. While computing virtualization has driven this transformation, the network has fallen woefully behind. Imagine having 20 virtual machines (VMs) in a server: Tomorrow that number grows to 100, to 200 the day after, and so on.

As you realize the implications of this growth in the datacenter, it becomes clear that the traditional networking approach of connecting those VMs is mindboggling because it doesn't deliver the true promise of the cloud -- instant access to apps anytime, anywhere and with no disruptions.

Service Providers Cut Costs and Boost Agility by Taking a Cloud Approach to Operations

By Mae Kowalke

The cloud is one of the hottest trends in computing, and communication service providers (CSPs) have an edge when it comes to cloud services. That’s because unlike IT and internet companies, CSPs also control their own network. This gives CSP’s a unique advantage and the carrier cloud a leg up on other offerings.

But the carrier cloud is only one way that CSPs can benefit from the cloud. They also can apply the same technique used with the cloud, namely virtualization, to evolve their own operations.

The Five "Ps" for Service Provider M2M Success: Prioritize, Placement, Participate, Partners and Persona

By Erin Harrison

The burgeoning of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications in our increasingly connected world — partly characterized as consisting of an “Internet of Things” — has made telecommunication companies look to diversify their M2M offerings beyond what can easily become ones based primarily on commoditized connectivity.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent Enriching Communications article, “The 5-Ps of M2M Key to Service Provider Success,” describes the five “P’s” as: 

  • Prioritize opportunities
  • Properly place their teams
  • Participate knowledgeably in the supply chain
  • Partner effectively
  • Establish a credible persona

They are based on findings of research firm Analysys Mason’s recently published, “M2M Communication Service Provider Scorecard: 2011.”

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