In an effort to increase agility, decrease total cost of ownership (TCO), and cut complexity on the journey toward modernization, telecommunications operators are investing in network-functions virtualization (NFV).

This approach allows network functions to run on industry-standard servers instead of dedicated hardware. NFV holds tremendous promise in terms of cost savings and digital transformation, but organizations that want to deploy it broadly face several challenges. For example, they might have multiple NFV environments alongside legacy technologies, or they might need to support different versions of NFV environments

To resolve these challenges and get the full benefits of NFV, organizations need hyperscale, software-defined infrastructures (SDIs) that make it easy to deploy new resources by drawing from pooled compute, storage, and networking assets. Without such a hyperscale platform, NFV still requires distinct hardware islands for each virtualized network function (VNF) that requires specific optimized hardware, which makes it difficult to deploy NFV pervasively and at scale.

Ericsson is one company that is paving the way for broader use of NFV. The Ericsson Hyperscale Datacenter System 8000 (HDS 8000), along with Ericsson software, provides a hyperscale NFV infrastructure (NFVi) that can support multiple telecom NFV environments, IT workloads running on VMware or bare-metal solutions, and cloud environments on OpenStack—all on a single platform. Because the Ericsson HDS 8000 platform is based on Intel Rack Scale Design, its hardware resources can be quickly allocated or re-allocated to automatically compose servers for different needs and different environments.

Software Makes the NFVi

The NFVi solution described here runs on the Ericsson HDS 8000 and comprises both software and hardware components. Whenever possible, the solution uses open APIs between components, making it easy to customize in order to meet unique needs. Solution components include the following:

  • Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment is the NFVi’s virtualization, control, and management layer, and it fills the role of virtual-infrastructure manager as defined by the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV model. As a cloud platform, Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment ensures that several applications can share the infrastructure’s compute, storage, and networking resources even when, as with VNFs, the applications were not designed to run in a cloud environment.
  • Ericsson Cloud SDN is a network-virtualization solution that provides seamless intra-data center and inter-data center connectivity for virtual, physical, and container-based workloads. It enables flexible and highly automated connectivity management, allowing use cases such as service chaining and flexible intra-data center networking.
  • Ericsson Cloud Manager provides cloud management and orchestration capabilities and fulfills the roles of NFV orchestrator and VNF manager in the ETSI NFV management and orchestration (MANO) specification. In addition, it also provides service assurance and analytics, plus multi-tenant, multi-site, and multi-virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) support. Ericsson Cloud Manager is capable of managing and orchestrating infrastructure across many physical data centers.
  • Ericsson Command Center provides hardware-infrastructure management. It configures and manages the compute resources, storage capacity, and network connectivity of both Ericsson HDS 8000 and systems from other vendors. It also manages the power systems, firmware, and related functions of Ericsson HDS 8000.

Together, the hardware and software components establish an NFVi that can run even demanding workloads in modern telco networks. Such a solution lets telco operators take advantage of NFV technologies while moving toward digital transformation with SDI.

To learn more about the Ericsson HDS 8000, visit its website.

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