BARCELONA—A major undercurrent at Mobile World Congress this year is the ongoing push to bring communications service providers (CSPs) out of the Stone Age and into our virtualized future. The telecommunications industry is turning increasingly to Silicon Valley to make this happen, partnering with companies including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), Ericsson (which recently partnered with Verizon), Oracle, Red Hat, VMware, and others to modernize their networks via cloud infrastructure, Big Data technology, and open-source innovations that largely passed these telcos by. So if you're wondering what all these tech giants that don't sell phones are doing at MWC, the answer is network functions virtualization (NFV).
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To that end, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Red Hat have announced a partnership on an array of integrated solutions to accelerate OpenStack adoption for CSPs. HPE plans to offer ready-to-use, pre-integrated HPE NFV Systems incorporating the Red Hat OpenStack and Red Hat Ceph Storage platforms. According to David Sliter, Vice President and General Manager of HPE's Communications Solutions Business, the idea is to give CSPs greater choice in OpenStack distributions. HPE will now offer both HPE Helion OpenStack and Red Hat OpenStack options.
"It's not sustainable for CSPs to supporting multiple, fragmented silos as they make the transformation to digital service providers. HPE's approach—in collaboration with Red Hat and a broad partner ecosystem spanning traditional and cloud native applications—is focused on helping customers overcome the inflexibility and high costs created by data center, application and IT sprawl," Sliter told PCMag. "The approach centers on providing customers a broader choice of software, hardware, services and the right mix of cloud deployment options to help make hybrid IT simple."
OpenStack is a popular open-source cloud platform for creating and managing virtual servers. Ubuntu creator Mark Shuttleworth explained it as a way to transform the way complex automated systems manage operations between multiple integrated applications, deployed by companies from Comcast to Walmart.
Through the partnership, Red Hat can also now leverage HPE's OpenNFV Labs for virtual network function (VNF) validation, and Red Hat OpenStack Platform customers gain access to HPE VNF Onboarding Services. Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat's General Manager for OpenStack, told PCMag that the scalability and flexibility of open-source technology is what puts it at the heart of NFV modernization.
"The NFV market has been maturing at a very rapid pace with tier 1 service providers such as Verizon successfully deploying across multiple data centers as well as realizing tangible business benefits such as up to 43 percent reduction in [total cost of ownership] TCO," explained Balakrishnan. "Looking at the 18-24 month horizon, service providers are demonstrating strong interest in containers, and several of them are in the early stages of kicking the tires via [proof-of-concepts].. We're excited about being uniquely positioned to help with their journey as one of the largest contributors to Docker/Kubernetes, and as a provider of the production-ready Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform."
HPE and Red Hat also made several other announcements along with the partnership:
- The HPE OpenNFV Solution Portal is expanding to include VNF solutions from other Red Hat partners, which Balakrishnan said include Cisco, Ericsson, NEC, and Nokia
- HPE and Red Hat are collaborating to certify HPE NFV operations solutions: HPE NFV Director for Management and Orchestration (MANO), HPE Service Director for Operations Support Systems (OSS), OpenSDN, an an OpenDaylight-based software-defined networking (SDN) controller on the Red Hat OpenStack Platform
- HPE NFV System 1.4: An update to HPE's pre-integrated NFV solutions bundle, adding support for and allowing choice between Red Hat OpenStack Platform and HPE Helion OpenStack Carrier Grade 4.0
- HPE VNF Onboarding Factory Service: A new program to accelerate the VNF lonboarding process
- HPE Virtual Headend Manager: A new virtualized solution for managing internet protocol television (IPTV) content deployments
- Subscriber Data Management on HPE Virtualized NonStop: A new virtualized subscriber data management (SDM) solution to create personalized services optimized for high fault-tolerance and scalability
HPE's Sliter called particular attention to what the HPE Virtual Headend Manager and VNF Onboarding Factory Service can do for CSPs.
"CSPs want the flexibility to deploy a multi-vendor environments to take advantage of best-in-class or specialized solutions from different vendors. The HPE Virtual Headend Manager is the only multi-vendor, non-proprietary headend virtualization manager on the market. This means a CSP can manage their entire headend solution, with components from multiple vendors, from a single management point," said Sliter.
"There is a strong demand for simple and efficient validation processes for VNFs, in particular for heterogeneous platforms," Sliter added. "The HPE VNF Onboarding Factory Service utilizes HPE's experience in the HPE OpenNFV validation program and expands it to multi-vendor platforms, reducing the risk, complexity, and time it takes to onboard and deploy new services faster."
The Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage integration is planned for availability with the release of HPE NFV System 1.4 in April.