NEURON INITIATIVE INTELLIGENT VIRTUALIZATION FROM DRAMATICALLY DECREASING COST TO INCREASING OVERALL OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES AND THE VELOCITY OF INNOVATION , THE VIRTUALIZATION OF NETWORK FUNCTIONS IS PARAMOUNT FOR OPERATORS FIGHTING TO DEFEND AGAINST REVENUE EROSION AND RETAIN PREMIUM SUBSCRIBERS IN A MARKET INCREASINGLY DOMINATED BY OTT SERVICE PROVIDERS. WHILE NFV IS AN END GOAL, ONLY ONE COMPANY - METASWITCH - PROVIDES A LOGICAL ROADMAP TO VIRTUALIZING NETWORK FUNCTIONS, WHICH INCLUDE PURPOSE-BUILT AND FUTURE-PROOF MIGRATORY SOLUTIONS THAT ARE DEPLOYABLE TODAY. THE METASWITCH NEURON INITIATIVE IS: A systematic approach to rapidly virtualizing Metaswitch’s existing product portfolio together with a methodical development process for delivering new, groundbreaking, network functions. A realistic approach that understands the technical and business challenges of carefully migrating to this new, disruptive, network architecture. NETWORK FUNCTIONS VIRTUALIZATION THE METASWITCH NETWORKS NEURON INITIATIVE The Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) initiative is widely and rightly regarded, within the world wide network operator community, as a matter of survival. With innovation stagnating and over-the-top (OTT) providers threatening to relegate classic service providers to the business of selling bandwidth, NFV can be and will be a game changer. With a company history rooted in software and a simple, 3-step approach, Metaswitch is now recognized as the leading provider of Virtualized Network Functions targeted at communications networks. Virtualization levels the playing field, enabling carriers to compete at price points currently only seen by the infrastructure-agnostic upstarts. A data center-centric CO together with a firm foundation in web-style commercial cloud technologies allows wireline and wireless providers to easily embrace agile development methods and alternate suppliers of applications or network functions. This increases competition in the space while affording the opportunity to try new services quickly, easily and cheaply. Network operators have signaled the need to evolve, now their suppliers must support this stand or face relegation to second tier status. Metaswitch Networks has picked-up the baton and is moving vigorously towards NFV end-goals, delivering new virtualized network functions, purpose built for elastic compute clouds. Metaswitch is innovating in areas typically dominated by proprietary hardware and custom silicon to provide a logical approach to virtualizing not only CPU-intensive signaling components but also those with big data plane demands. WWW.METASWITCH.COM © 2014 METASWITCH NETWORKS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The Metaswitch Neuron initiative is a systematic approach to rapidly virtualizing our existing product portfolio together with a methodical development process for delivering new, groundbreaking, network functions. Neuron provides the critical connection between physical and virtual network functions, providing the framework for NFV by forming a foundation for intelligent virtualization. BUILD FOR THE CLOUD A network functions virtualization infrastructure (VNFI) is the perfect environment to construct, test, deploy and scale - or indeed, rapidly scrap / fast-fail - innovative network functions. With a solid grounding in web services-based cloud architecture design patterns, native virtualized network functions (VNFs) should be built with the same web methods used to deliver today’s cloud-hosted internet applications. However, as the demands of carrier-class asynchronous communications differ from those of classic web services, developers must apply pioneering solutions to difficult problems in areas such as real-time state maintenance and redundancy across multi-node geoclusters. With Clearwater, now a community driven open source project, Metaswitch achieved this goal and more. Identified as the early usecase for NFV, Clearwater is IMS for the cloud, enabling the provisioning and session management demanded of next generation service architectures like VoLTE and RCS but for a fraction of the operational cost typically associated with IMS infrastructures. Widely recognized as the first independent network function capable of virtualization within standards-track NFVI, Clearwater has been spun-up in numerous cloud environments with differing management and orchestration (MANO) layers. Providing the first cost-effective foundation for carrier-based SIP services, Clearwater can be instantiated, scaled-up and scaled down within seconds, as demanded by service utilization or application loads. 3 SIMPLE STEPS TO INTELLIGENT VIRTUALIZATION For non-native applications, Metaswitch follows a progressive development philosophy based on the following steps: 1. Build for bare metal Solutions must be software-centric, either eliminating the need for custom silicon by leveraging powerful new CPU architectures to deliver the performance of proprietary silicon on standard x86 servers. 1. BUILD FOR BARE METAL Traditional telecom equipment manufacturers have made a business around hardware markups and support contracts, while leaning on proprietary silicon to perform the various packet processing functions within their typically diverse product portfolios. This continues the propensity towards vendor lock-in and stovepipe solutions, which keeps costs falsely high, hinders competition and ultimately stifles innovation. In today’s world of memory-rich multi-core CPUs, multithreaded software and distributed control/forwarding plane separation techniques, the game has changed - forever. Take the increasingly critical Session Border Controller (SBC): While first generation platforms are widely deployed, they are inefficient, ineffective and overpriced for the role they play. These devices were architected at a time when it was assumed that Network Processors were required for pre-processing, TCAMs for IP address look-ups, crypto chips for security and DSPs for transcoding. Moreover, with a fixed relationship between signaling and media capacity, almost every deployment resulted in stranded capacity; the epitome of inefficiency. Effectively eradicating NFV complexities and potential pitfalls while still realizing many operational advantages, network functions can employ CPU and I/O virtualization and techniques today, with immediate cost reduction and increased flexibility, without dramatically affecting performance. Metaswitch recognized that today’s x86 architectures and some innovative software solutions could give equal or superior performance to that of custom hardware, while providing the first step towards network functions virtualization. Together with an optional distributed architecture, Perimeta has been independently proven to outperform proprietary alternatives while affording far greater flexibility and efficiency over legacy session border controllers. 3. Evolve with NFV 2. VIRTUALIZE ON MULTI-CORE Innovations in management and orchestration, hardware acceleration and service function chaining are instrumental to realizing the benefits of NFV. It’s all about the infrastructure, but your network function vendors are key. Are they working with NFV Infrastructure proof-ofconcepts? Metaswitch is. The next step towards increasing the operational efficiencies of network functions involves making the move from bare metal into the virtualization arena. Enter SR-IOV. Single Root I/O Virtualization is a PCIe hardware technology integrated into most server network interface cards, currently shipping, with supporting software in the platform’s BIOS and OS instance. Virtualizing the NIC allows Direct 2. Virtualize on multi-core WWW.METASWITCH.COM © 2014 METASWITCH NETWORKS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Memory Access (DMA) into the user space of the virtual machine, bypassing the software / vSwitch in the virtual machine manager (VMM) or hypervisor. This eliminates a significant bottleneck which is critical for data plane applications that demand low latency and high throughput rates. An ideal candidate for SR-IOV, Metaswitch offers the Perimeta session border controller virtualized in this manner, a solution which exhibits performance metrics close to that of bare metal. A logical step towards elastic cloud implementations, SR-IOV affords the benefits of virtualization, over fixed hardware implementations, increasing resource efficiencies by reducing the level of stranded processing capacity on host platforms. Without the vSwitch, however, there are no management interfaces exposed to cloud operating systems such as OpenStack, CloudStack or Eucalyptus and therefore no northbound orchestration capability. As we move closer towards NFV, Neuron includes alternative approaches that deliver performance without bypassing the hypervisor. 3. EVOLVE WITH NFV While promoting the need for virtualized network functions, the network functions virtualization initiative itself is focused, primarily, on the evolution of service provider operations support systems (OSS) through the implementation of a carrier-specific cloud management and orchestration layer (MANO). The MANO can deploy, spin-up and scale-up VNFs on-demand, in and across data centers. With backpressure from individual VMs and statistics from the virtual network functions themselves, this can happen instantly and automatically, without manual intervention. With the need for an intermediate vSwitch to expose the MANO interface, however, the NFV infrastructure must include hardware acceleration techniques to mitigate performance degradation. The Intel data plane development kit (DPDK) optimizes data transfer across hypervisors with numerous acceleration techniques. These include flow classification and zero-copy polled DMA to large userspace memory FIFOs that smooth traffic flows, preventing packet loss while dramatically reducing the CPU cycles typically required to move packets from a network interface. With many independent vendors now leveraging the DPDK framework, these acceleration techniques are becoming ubiquitous across cloud computing environments. Leveraging these enhancements, the Metaswitch Perimeta SBC can realize performance improvements over basic vSwitch implementations, accentuating the advantages of virtualization without the major performance drawbacks. But NFV is not the end goal. Reinventing OSS means simplifying the process of provisioning endpoints through complete service chains that include many virtualized and non-virtualized middlebox functions. NFV forwarding graphs can direct traffic through applicable virtual network function components (VNFCs) and complete VNFs. For complete dynamic end-to-end provisioning, however, Metaswitch will ensure that our solutions can operate within highly elastic service function chains (SFCs) while retaining the per-subscriber policies and state currently facilitated by today’s static topologies. Already a recognized leader in delivering virtualized network functions (VNFs) for NFV, Metaswitch’s Neuron initiative is dedicated to providing practical near-term and long-term virtualized deployment options across our growing product portfolio and customer base. PRODUCTS IN THE METASWITCH NEURON INITIATIVE INCLUDE: Clearwater Core: A hardened, virtualized IMS core offered through a pay-as-you- Metaswitch SDN Controller: A carrier MPLS transport SDN controller with LSP- go software subscription, designed to save carriers millions of dollars over traditional stateful traffic engineering database (TED). With open northbound APIs and hardware procurement and software licensing. Clearwater Core is based on Open southbound OpenFlow, PCEP or alternative interfaces, Metaswitch’s SDN Controller Source Project Clearwater, the industry’s only designed-for-cloud IMS core solution. brings programmability to legacy infrastructures while enabling new, cost-effective, aggregation layers built on emerging white box commodity switches. Virtualized Perimeta Session Border Controller: A high-performance, software-only virtualized IMS SBC that allows carriers to choose whether they move signaling and/ Virtualized BGP Route Reflector: A network routing function enabling simplified or media traffic to the cloud. Metaswitch is providing progressive support for a wide scaling of iBGP domains within autonomous systems. The Metaswitch Virtualized selection of hypervisor and clouds environments. BGP Route Reflector can also be employed as a central control plane component within carrier SDN and data center interconnectivity solutions. Virtualized MetaSphere: A Multimedia Telephony Application Server (MTAS), which supports PSTN emulation, consumer VoIP, hosted PBX and SIP trunking. Virtualized Access Gateway Control Function (AGC) and Media Gateway Control Function (MGC): Metaswitch’s industry-standard IMS signalling functions. Virtualized Service Assurance Server: A sophisticated network traffic analytics engine that provides network probe-equivalent functions to help customers monitor their virtualized VoIP networks as they migrate to the cloud. WWW.METASWITCH.COM © 2014 METASWITCH NETWORKS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Subject to change without notice. Contact your local sales representative or go to www.metaswitch.com/specs for most current information.
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