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Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

NFV is a vital enabler of 5G infrastructure, including Next-Generation Core, down to the Radio Access Network (RAN). NFV empowers new innovative services, such as network slicing and mobile edge computing.

Because NFV components are tightly combined, they create a layer of complexity and introduce the following challenges:

  • Performance and scale: Apparent issues at the NFVI host risks around vSwitches bottleneck, and hardware acceleration techniques like DPDK or SR-IOV aim to maximize larger pools of hardware. Besides, the performance limitation of the VNF itself. Does the VNF achieve the expected performance? How much compute nodes does it takes to reach the required scale?
  • Interoperability: For NFV success to be realized widely in the industry, increased interoperability across vendor solutions and individual components are needed. A major factor that slows down NFV adoption is the lack of interoperability between the multitude of building blocks. Both VNF manager and NFV orchestrator need to integrate with many VNFs such as virtual routers, switches, load balancers, and many others from other vendors.
  • Security: NFV opens a window for new security risks. Software is more vulnerable to the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks than physical components. NFV architecture exposes an organization to several new security issues that need to be addressed. An attack on a certain VNF might affect other VNFs running on the same VM or physical server.
  • Lack of Standards: Although the European Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI) is progressing reasonable amounts of NFV standards, the industry lacks an overall consensus on implementing these standards in the same way. 

EANTC supports service providers in their NFV journey with the following services:

Performance Benchmarking:
NFVI performance: We perform advanced NFVI performance benchmarking, inspecting individual customer Compute Resources like CPU, Memory & local storage, Networking Resources like physical NICs, virtual switch, network acceleration DPDK, and Virtualization/Hypervisor.

VNF end-to-end performance: Once you onboard your new VNF service like vEPC, vBNG, vDPI, vFW, vIMS, or others, we help you in the end-to-end deployment testing of VNF performance and functionality, reflecting the customer services and scale planned to run in production.

Service Provider Benefits: 

  • Get ready for production-grade NFV services, assert actual platform• Eliminate NFVI performance issues, significantly reduce VNF troubleshooting time
  • Detect certain defects much sooner: Connectivity, protocol, network topology
  • Reduce vendors’ conflict and pinpointing with independent Quality Assurance
  • Choose the best-of-breed from the full variety of vendors in the NFV market

Interoperability Testing:
MANO interoperability and Life-Cycle Management (LCM): EANTC has co-developed ETSI TST007 with ETSI to build standard test methodology of the MANO interoperability. We test interactions between NFV-O, VNFM, EM-VNF, and VIM-NFVI covering end-to-end interoperability tests, including Network Service, Software image, and VNF Lifecycle Management. We automate our test suite, integrate it with the NFV cloud, and execute the test.

VNF certification: Once your NFV cloud is ready to host various VNFs, we support you to certify each VNF before you onboard it in the production network. We will answer many questions: Does the VNF element manager can integrate with the existing NFV cloud MANO? Is the VNF cloud-ready and can interwork with the existing infrastructure? Does the VNF Northbound-APIs are open and meet the ETSI standards?

Service Provider Benefits:

  • Achieve solutions onboarding by integrating VNFs to the Telco Cloud• Reduce implementation risks and troubleshooting time• Faster time-to-market through faster-automated tests
  • Reduce conflicts between vendors and pinpoint issues through our independent Quality Assurance
  • Choose the best-of-breed from the wide variety of vendors in the NFV market

Security Verification:

Security involves all NFV architecture components. We help service providers to develop a framework and preconditions for VNFs to be met before onboarding. We validate targeted NFV network components:

Infrastructure (VIM): Validate protection against attacks to the infrastructure like (Isolation failure, DDOS, Compromised Hypervisor, NFVI integrity, and others)
Workloads (VNF): Measure functionality and performance of specific security VNFs such as NGFW, IDS, and UTM against attacks
VNF manager/orchestrators (VNFM/NFVO): Verify and ensure proper security boundaries and tenant isolation of the workloads and NFV domains

Service Provider Benefits:

  • Achieve the service reliability and security of the Telco Cloud
  • Minimize the security risks that can be brought from the VNF to the whole cloud
  • Choose the best security technical solutions through a comparison test
  • Ensure the compliance of the vendors’ solutions with the ETSI security recommendations and best practices