MWC 2104: HP unveils suite of network functions virtualisation products

HP’s NFV solutions are designed to help carriers deploy new offerings in minutes, rather than months

MWC 2104: HP unveils suite of network functions virtualisation products

HP introduced OpenNFV at MWC 2014, a comprehensive Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) program designed to help the telecommunications industry accelerate innovation and launch new services faster, easier and with less expense through the virtualization of telecommunications core networks and network functions.

The telecommunications industry is facing competitive pressure from over-the-top (OTT) players who are more agile, flexible and able to roll out revenue-generating services and appliances much faster than the communications service providers (CSPs). Additionally, CSPs are faced with the rapid growth of rich media applications, which is slowing voice revenue and exploding network traffic.

'NFV represents one of the most significant shifts the telecommunications industry has experienced in 20 years,' said Martin Fink, executive vice president and chief technology officer, HP. 'HP’s OpenNFV Program combines HP’s technology leadership with a strong partner ecosystem to enable our customers to leverage new market opportunities faster while managing spiraling costs.'

According to Ovum, OTT social messaging applications cost CSPs $32.5bn in lost SMS revenues in 2013, which is predicted to reach $54bn by 2016. Additionally, in 2018, OTT VoIP providers will have cost the global telecoms industry $63bn in lost revenues.

The HP OpenNFV Program enables CSPs to accelerate time to market and drive new revenue. Prior to adopting NFV, CSPs managed cumbersome, individual network hardware appliances. With HP OpenNFV, they can leverage commercial off-the-shelf hardware with virtualization to test and deploy new offerings in minutes rather than months, opening the door for CSPs to be the industry innovators.

To fuel this adoption, HP has dedicated Bethany Mayer, currently senior vice president and general manager, HP Networking, to assume responsibility for leading HP’s NFV strategy. Mayer was chosen based on her experience working across HP, her start-up experience and her deep knowledge in the networking space.

This companywide effort leverages the breadth and depth of HP’s innovation portfolio to launch an open standards–based NFV Reference Architecture, HP OpenNFV Labs, and a partner ecosystem of best-in-class NFV applications and services. HP also brings more than 30 years of telco-specific experience, along with more than 5,000 telco professionals to this new offering, ensuring that carriers have a tried and tested partner supporting them on their NFV journey.

'HP has been a key partner in BT’s research and industry collaboration on NFV over the past two years,' said Peter Willis, chief data networks strategist, BT. 'HP has contributed technical resources, technologies and lab facilities to enable a range of proofs of concept, including: content delivery network, Wi-Fi IPsec termination, virtualised customer premises equipment and routers. The activities have been executed in an open, collaborative forum with other technology partners and have delivered valuable results to BT and the industry.'

Accelerating industry transition to NFV

At the heart of the HP OpenNFV Program is the HP OpenNFV Reference Architecture (NFV RA), which provides a complete architectural ecosystem covering physical servers, storage and networking, virtualization, controllers for software-defined networking (SDN), resource management and orchestration, analytics, telco applications, and a complete operations support system (OSS).

'An open ecosystem that accelerates testing, integration and, ultimately, innovation is what will enable CSPs to better compete and address new revenue opportunities for value-added virtualized service and application-based offerings,' said Nav Chander, analyst and research manager, IDC. 'HP’s approach to partnering, labs and their experience in IT-based cost models, is one that will accelerate CSPs transition to NFV.'

The HP NFV RA is based on open standards, and brings a set of HP’s industry-standard products and capabilities to easily build and deploy the architecture.

The HP NFV RA incorporates the HP Virtual Services Router, which is designed to support various virtualized appliances such as multitenant hosted public clouds and virtualized branch Customer Premise Equipment deployments.

The HP NFV RA also incorporates SDN capabilities to complement NFV, including the HP Virtual Application Networks, SDN Controller and HP Open SDN Ecosystem.

These combined solutions offer CSPs a ready-to-be-deployed architecture that can enable the transformation from legacy networks to NFV- and SDN-enabled infrastructure. Working together, SDN and NFV can provide synergies for creating a complete ecosystem that can help CSPs become more agile, innovative and competitive.

Fueling ecosystem innovation

NFV-based applications will create new opportunities for CSPs while opening new markets for independent software vendors (ISVs). To fuel this innovation, HP plans to establish the HP OpenNFV Labs and an HP OpenNFV Partner Program, the industry’s first effort to systematically assemble a multivendor portfolio that can test, validate and manage the coexistence of network applications.

'In the environments we work in, it’s key that we have agility and flexibility in what we offer our customers,' said Roy Kaser, chief technology officer and vice president, IP Platforms, Alcatel Lucent.

'We partnered with HP because they are a leader in both open systems and in virtualisation, which is an important strategy for us going forward. We can rely on HP for their expertise in NFV and in x86 technology, which enables us to free up R&D investment dollars to focus more on innovative software technology,' said Kaser.

HP’s partner ecosystem gives application partners a broad choice of NFV-specific environments to quickly onboard their specific applications and reduce deployment time. Current efforts with HP partners include developing proofs of concept for turnkey NFV deployments, including infrastructure as a service, virtual network platform as a service and core network virtualisation.

'HP’s OpenNFV program and architecture is perfectly aligned to NSN’s recently announced Telco Cloud strategy,' said Michael Clever, senior vice president, Core Cluster, NSN. 'NSN and HP have been business partners for over 20 years, and we are delighted that this partnership is extended to a deeper level addressing commercial readiness of the Telco Cloud.

'Operators can benefit from HP’s leadership position in IT platform technologies and solutions and NSN’s excellence in virtualised NFV applications, together with tailored expert services from both NSN and HP.'

Supporting the NFV rollout

The HP OpenNFV Program encompasses carrier-grade solutions for ISVs and network equipment providers (NEPs) to increase agility and simplify network management. It enables the reuse of a shared pool of infrastructure resources, while allowing CSPs to quickly integrate new applications and services, meeting demands without a long network appliance procurement process.

Several updated telco applications and offerings are being launched as part of the HP OpenNFV Program, including:

  • HP NFV Director provides NFV orchestration and an embedded virtualized network functions manager.
  • HP Virtual Home Subscriber Server allows operators to scale and manage their subscribers’ identities across multiple networks.
  • HP Multimedia Services Environment consolidates operators’ network applications on a common infrastructure and seamlessly launches new multimedia applications for customers.
  • HP Virtual Content Delivery Network Software handles the physical delivery of media assets to the end user for any content-based internet service.
  • NFV Consulting Services, provided by HP Enterprise Services and HP Technology Services, help CSPs assess the opportunities, risks and business case associated with the emerging drive of NFV functionality.
  • HP Financial Services enable on-demand infrastructure by providing asset management capabilities for customers.

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