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Rarely does a video about network functions virtualization (NFV) captivate your attention like the one that Alcatel-Lucent recently uploaded about service innovation and lean operations in the context of NFV. Sometimes NFV can be a challenging concept to get your head around, but the video breaks it down with clear visuals and none of the PowerPoint that usually puts you to sleep.
If you haven’t seen the video you can watch the embedded version below. But also let me explain what the video is talking about.
By: Andreas Lemke, Ph.D. - Alcatel-Lucent
Have you ever gotten your hands dirty and really implemented an NFV or SDN application? Six teams from academia and industry in Israel and Europe can answer with a resounding yes! These teams gathered in Haifa at the 4-day 2015 Winter School and Hackathon event, organized by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand team and Israel’s leading Institute of Technology, Technion. The event offered a full program to get acquainted with the fundamental concepts behind cloud computing, software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
By: Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC
There’s no question that the network functions virtualization (NFV) technology around which many telecommunications carriers and vendors are rallying takes a page from the virtualization that already has taken hold in IT data centers. But you can’t judge a book by its cover. NFV and IT virtualization also have their differences.
One key difference is that while data center virtualization tends to rely on a centralized architecture, NFV calls for a distributed one, Andreas Lemke, marketing lead for the CloudBand NFV platform at Alcatel-Lucent, points out in a recent TechZine posting by Andreas Lemke, Marketing Lead, CloudBand NFV platform, Alcatel-Lucent titled, Why distribution is important in NFV.
By: Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC
Service providers are undergoing a sea change.
Their networks, which traditionally have been based on turnkey network elements running software on purpose-built hardware, are moving to a software-centric model. In this model the true value lies in the software, while the hardware is typically of the commercial-off-the-shelf variety.
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is the name of this new architecture, which not only embraces the model of instituting network functionality in software and running it on industry-servers, but also allows applications and services to leverage those resources whenever and wherever they are.
By: Roland Mestric, Director, Video Solutions Marketing
It feels like it was just a few months ago when you could read articles in the trade press lumping together SDN and NFV with NFV being a form of SDN or vice versa. Yes, both somehow are about virtualization and about converting hardware into software. Today – after numerous proofs-of-concept run by service provides around the globe – we know the role of SDN as virtually indispensable for NFV solutions that aspire to deliver the kind of agility and operational simplification we all expect from NFV. Only SDN can deliver quickly enough the (virtual) networks needed for newly deployed network functions. Alcatel-Lucent has recently demonstrated a complete virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) including a virtual IMS/VoLTE deployed in less than 30 minutes.
The advantages to mobile operators of network functions virtualization (NFV) and moving to a virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) have become clear, and mobile networks operators are pretty much sold on the technology in theory.
As the technology side has been figured out and operators begin to plan commercial deployments of NFV and vEPC, however, discussion is starting to move toward operational requirements and challenges. Mobile network operators need to figure out how best to manage these new virtual network functions (VNFs) and the NFV infrastructure, and also how to modify the existing network operations model when these VNFs are deployed.
By Andreas Lemke, Ph.D. - Alcatel-Lucent
Open source has had a massive impact on information technology and the web: The Linux operating system, the LAMP stack, browsers, the Android smartphone OS. Individual enthusiasts, universities, and businesses spend enormous resources to build technologies, and then give them away for free. Are they out of their mind? The success of open source shows they are not.
OpenStack, the open source cloud management software, has come into the focus of service providers as a rapidly advancing, cost-effective technology foundation for NFV. With OpenStack, service providers are expecting to escape the tangles of individual vendors and build an open horizontal platform for their future networks.
By: Andreas Lemke, Alcatel-Lucent Sr. Marketing Manager – Cloud
“GM factories reduce production in aftermath of Japan earthquake 2011”, “Hard disk shortage due to Thailand flooding 2012“, “Drug shortages continue to vex doctors”, “China factory fire sends memory chip prices to three-year high (2013)”. Industrial supply chains are becoming increasingly tenuous as they are thinned out and stretched across the globe. Raw materials are available from fewer and fewer specialized suppliers and warehouses are eliminated for just-in-time production. Small, local incidents affect the supply of goods on a global scale.
In the IT industry we are seeing a similar trend. Enterprises are moving their applications and data to the cloud, but this cloud is often highly centralized and not as resilient, free flowing, or efficient as one might think. Amazon Web Services, the largest cloud provider in the world, is serving their global customers from no more than two handfuls of locations. Netflix and other companies have experienced major outages due to single failures in the cloud they used.
So what does this mean for NFV?
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.
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.
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.
By Beecher Tuttle
With the demand for cloud services expanding rapidly, service providers are in a unique position to exploit new markets and generate new revenue, in addition to benefiting from the significant capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenditure (OPEX) savings associated with a cloud infrastructure.
However, to fully capitalize on this market opportunity, service providers need to develop an accurate sense of current and future market conditions as well as enterprise attitudes and perceptions of the cloud.
In an effort to provide a more granular look at these conditions and attitudes Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) recently conducted a global study, “Soaring into the Cloud,” involving nearly 4,000 IT decision makers (ITDMs) from medium, large and multi-national companies.
ALU researchers found that 78 percent of companies are currently employing at least one cloud-based application, with organizations in tech, professional services and manufacturing/defense leading the way. Healthcare, government and education enterprises rely less on the cloud, but not by any significant margin.