HP’s March into Simplifying NFV

Arbitrage is one of the great opportunities which presents itself repeatedly in tech. In the nineties, something called international callback allowed am international caller to dial a number in the US and hang up – only to have a US-based call at a lower per-minute rate initiated on their behalf. Many hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on this market for hardware, software and service thanks to the arbitrage opportunity to save money on calling minutes.

VoIP continued this trend with even greater arbitrage and carriers spent billions on equipment to save money carrying phone calls on networks. Sonus, Acme Packet (now Oracle) and many other companies saw  billions of dollars of aggregate sales as a result of this new arbitrage opportunity. Then there were the traditional TEMs like Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia (now the same company), Cisco and Ericsson who participated in this shift.

The next opportunity in the market is the move to NFV or a software telco – carriers don’t want to have to deal with the proprietary boxes in their networks. Open, virtualized systems allow cost savings on management and electricity as well as on real estate.

The move to NFV is tailor made for a company like HP as they are a major telecom supplier to data centers already and they are not strangers to the carrier market. The company is looking to become a solid anchor in the move to COTS servers. In fact, they hope to simplify the transition.

Sarwar Raza, Vice President, Product Management recently briefed meSarwar Raza, VP, Product Management hp nfv.jpg on their HP NFV system designed to accelerate the move to network functions virtualization by ensuring carrier grade reliability, scalability and performance. Speaking of which – this week I was at GENBAND Perspectives 15 where there was an NFV panel consisting of Sharon Rosov of ConteXtream, Werner Schaefer of HP, Renu Navale of Intel and Charlie Ashton of Wind River. One comment Charlie made was they now deliver six nines reliability – an amazing number to say the least – under a minute per year.

The HP NFV System is pre-integrated with HP Helion OpenStack Carrier Grade and is designed to ensure end-to-end systems design, validation and support to ensure continuous availability of critical network functions.

The company has a complete set of components to get you started consisting of:

  • HP NFV Starter Kit – An all-in-one kit comprised of compute nodes with carrier grade performance, control nodes in high availability configuration running virtual infrastructure management (VIM) software – HP Helion OpenStack Carrier Grade, as well as physical infrastructure management (PIM) software and storage nodes. HP Basically the goal is to be a complete turnkey solution designed to help you quickly and effectively deploy NFV clouds.
  • HP NFV Compute Kit – Comprised of server nodes that run virtual network functions (VNF) workloads, combined with carrier grade capabilities that enable fast packet processing required in telecommunications applications. It can be added to the HP NFV Starter kit to augment its workload processing capacity, providing customers a flexible scale out path.
  • HP NFV Control Kit – Consists of HP Helion OpenStack Carrier Grade VIM software and PIM software, including HP OneView, HP Intelligent Management Center and HP Central Management Console. HP NFV Control Kit is designed for customers running custom, limited trials reusing existing infrastructure elements with minimal CAPEX spend.
  • HP NFV Storage Kit – A pre-configured solution that can be integrated with HP NFV Starter Kit to provide additional capacity for storage intensive applications like content delivery networks (CDN). This solution simplifies integration with existing HP NFV System environments, reducing time to roll-out new services with the goal of minimizing service provider OPEX.

“Many telcos and suppliers have done NFV proof-of-concepts and are now ready to move to production. To do that, they need solutions that are open, carrier grade, and easy to deploy,” said Saar Gillai, senior vice president and general manager, Network Functions Virtualization and Global Lead Telecommunications, HP. “HP NFV System provides an integrated, pre-tested, deployment-ready NFV hardware and software platform to get customers up-and-running quickly and confidently.”

HP NFV Director 3.0 provides enhanced management and orchestration (MANO) capabilities that streamline bridging of NFV and telecommunications resources, as well as enable faster VNF on-boarding. It combines operations support systems (OSS) and IT management capabilities in a multi-vendor NFV orchestration solution that automate service and infrastructure management to enhance the flexibility and scalability of CSP’s current OSS systems.

New HP NFV analytics capabilities in HP NFV Director 3.0 are powered by HP Vertica, providing CSPs the ability to make decisions in real time using NFV data to improve uptime, traffic steering, resource, application and network usage. Predictive analytics gives CSPs critical insights on trending as well as historical capacity usage and threshold crossing warnings or alarms.

HP NFV Director 3.0 with optional HP NFV Analytics is available fully integrated with NFV System and HP OpenStack Carrier Grade or separately.

According to Sarwar “The service provider has access to all the data which was once unstructured allowing them to take actionable intelligence from intelligent traffic steering to hitting capacity.”

The final piece of the puzzle is consulting services which the company hopes you will consider. HP is also leveraging Accenture to help in this area. Jeff Kibodeaux explained this to me at the Perspectives event. He is the Manager of the HP OpenNFV Program and also explained his new company – a split of HP, includes cloud and as a part of this spin-out they will be investing a billion dollars in these areas.

Jeff said this about what carriers are telling him, “We have head from them, they love to have choices.” He concluded, “It is exciting for them and scary at the same time.” He went on to say they are excited to be more agile and to be able to compete in a more cost-effective way.

He also discussed how GEBAND will be able to leverage HP hardware acceleration cards instead of using their current ARM DSP line-cards allowing them to move to COTS and a software-driven model.

From there, he described the demo they did at the show of spinning up SBCs and load balancing as calls start to increase in a network. As calls decrease, there is also a corresponding destruction of VMs as the capacity is not needed.

He continued, “With software, it’s more flexible and less expensive.” He adding, “Genband is betting on the software side of things. They are more innovative than some of our other partners with that approach.”

He then said, “David Walsh (GENBAND CEO) as well as anyone else grasps this future so I think they’re going to be on the forefront of leading these transformations with the carriers. We approach customers together and prove the apps will run and save a lot of time testing with the customer.” He concluded, “We test in five labs worldwide for partner integration testing.

He also mentioned an interesting conundrum for our industry. Many of the people working in telcos are experts in their silo of proprietary hardware, we are now asking them to have an entire skillset in software. “We need to take a network engineer and make them an IT engineer.” He said.

This of course gets us back to professional services – yet another major arbitrage opportunity for those supplying the telecom industry as we go from fixed-function hardware to open and flexible, virtualized software and clouds.

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