Alcatel-Lucent, Fujitsu and NTT are working together to show off a proof of concept for a new Virtual Network Platform as a Service (VNPaaS). Guy Shemesh, with Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand team, talked with Wireless Week about how NTT Labs put the focus for the platform on openness customization. The idea is to create an industry initiative as opposed to a single-vendor push while addressing the Japanese market’s demand for customization with a layer that exposes additional services from the infrastructure, like Database-as-a-Service, for applications to consume.
As a use case defined by ETSI NFV ISG, VNPaaS provides a framework for developing, deploying and managing applications. We asked Shemesh to expand on what problems this solves for network providers and the technologies potential in the U.S.
Wireless Week: What problems does it solve for network providers?
Guy Shemesh: The whole benefit of NFV is around moving from customized appliances. Whether you need to change the vendor of the hardware or the VNF vendor or other solutions, the ability to do that for a very small price. That’s what NTT and its labs were looking at, looking for the next-generation architecture that they are planning to push to NTT. They were looking to build an infrastructure that would allow them to address Virtual Network Function (VNF) needs. If now there is a new set of applications they will be able to involve them in this architecture.
Basically what we are trying to do as a consortium is doing that in a multi-vendor environment where we collaborate, all three parties: NTT, Fujitsu, and Alcatel-Lucent to establish that kind of infrastructure environment that will help applications to start to onboard their services on top of this infrastructure.
The proof of concept that we’re going to demonstrate [this week], it’s an example to show how an application can run on a distributed environment and how the platform can provide, if an application needs more resources it can get them. It can also manage a distributed aspect. If we have two locations and you need to spin up another virtual machine for some of the fixed workload, the system understands where would be the best place to do that based on placement algorithms that are part of the architecture.
The main goal is to research this activity. We can’t disclose when or if they are going commercial with that. It’s mainly research activities now to verify the technology.
WW: Can the technology translate to the U.S. Would it be geared toward smaller carriers?
GS: It’s a question of what trend we see. We see a tremendous trend around NFV. I have to say that today we feel the big players are still the Tier 1 [carriers.] The Tier 2, Tier 3 and smaller operators are kind of waiting to see how the industry has aligned around it. They want to see what the bigger guys are doing. But we’ve engaged Alcatel-Lucent with CloudBand worldwide in different regions with different customers in different levels of maturity.
The whole idea is to start a transformation. There is already a transformation under way with how the network is operated. The connection between the IT and the networking guys, the operational aspect where you have cloud environments, all of that is progressing very fast in all regions.