NFV INSIGHTS: Preparing for the future of NFV

Next Generation Communications Blog

NFV INSIGHTS: Preparing for the future of NFV

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).

Eighty participants gained a clear understanding of enabling technologies, NFV and SDN challenges and barriers, and how to overcome the obstacles of implementing virtualized network functions in the cloud.

The program started with two days of in-depth technical lectures covering the principles of the cloud, server and network virtualization, OpenStack, and high performance packet processing for NFV among other topics. Following this, participants had the opportunity to get hands-on experience with CloudBand, an advanced NFV platform, learn how NFV changes operator roles and responsibilities, and how operational processes can be automated to reduce operational expenditure. One of the use cases shown was the automated deployment of an NFV application in a distributed NFV infrastructure.

After acquiring a solid foundation in the first three days, six teams took up the challenge to develop a real NFV solution. The task was to virtualize the DHCP function of a residential gateway. Virtualizing customer premises equipment, such as residential gateways, and moving some of their complex functions into the cloud has been identified as a promising strategy to reduce cost and increase service provider ability to quickly deploy new services.

The winner of the challenge was a team headed by Mladen Tomic from the University of Rijeka, Croatia, who implemented a solution that not only delivered the cloud based DHCP service, but was also capable of scaling to adapt to changing service traffic. Mladen said, “I pretty much enjoyed the whole event, from attending lectures on hot and interesting topics, exchanging ideas with other participants and having some great fun both learning and competing in the hackathon.” Congratulations to the winners and to all participants for their highly motivated participation!

The future of NFV will depend on a generation of students and engineers capable of grasping the opportunities and challenges of NFV, and we are convinced they will be the creators of advanced NFV solutions that we cannot imagine today. Anyone can join and create their own applications on a public version of the hackathon. VNF and NFV technology providers can also apply to participate in the CloudBand Ecosystem Program.

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