Thursday, May 21, 2015

NFV with SDN - Tech Talks, PoCs and Demos [feedly]

NFV with SDN - Tech Talks, PoCs and Demos
// OpenDaylight blogs

At last week's NFV World Congress event in San Jose, we got a closer look at what operators want from NFV and where it intersects with SDN. Here we share highlights from a range of keynotes and tutorials to summarize their perspectives on how these two technologies complement each other.

SDN Control & Orchestration

AT&T distinguished architect and OPNFV president Margaret Chiosi gave a presentation detailing AT&T's model for implementing SDN. A key highlight in the talk was the explanation of how AT&T categorized different types of SDN controllers.

Figure 1: From 'SDN+NFV Next Steps in the Journey', Margaret Chiosi, NFV World Congress 2015

There has been much speculation, as SDN grows to maturity,  about what controller architectures will become common? How will the various different types of controllers compete, or how will they work together? The model presented by Chiosi brings a lot of clarity to this issue.  I should note that the categorization shown here is an example of how controllers can work together, but should not imply that these controllers are designed for these categories, this is one possible implementation. The key point is that SDN will impact a vast array of use cases and for any number of them it may make sense to leverage specialized controllers, and this example shows how different open source and commercial controllers can work together to solve key operator challenges.

Chiosi went into detail on AT&T's architecture going beyond the SDN network to also cover how OpenStack fits in, where application control fits and how it is tied together via service orchestration, as shown in the image below:

Figure 2: From 'SDN+NFV Next Steps in the Journey', Margaret Chiosi, NFV World Congress 2015

Chiosi also shared a great visualization of how service deployment works today and how that might look different in a post-NFV World:

Figure 3: From 'SDN+NFV Next Steps in the Journey', Margaret Chiosi, NFV World Congress 2015

Chiosi's presentation went into greater detail on how the components in the architecture interact, it is really a must watch presentation and can be downloaded here. (Note: requires free registration to download)

How SDN Enables NFV

ONF Market Area Director Marc Cohn discussed how SDN is a key enabler of NFV. To help provide clarity between the scope of SDN and NFV Cohn noted that SDN is focused on virtualizing and automating network resources whereas NFV's focus is on virtualizing and automating the management of network software. Cohn observed that open controller frameworks were critical to the success of SDN and NFV as captured by the following slide:

Figure 4: From 'How SDN enables NFV', Marc Cohn, NFV World Congress 2015


NFV and OpenDaylight

Reinaldo Penno, Cisco Engineering Director, gave a presentation detailing the progress of OpenDaylight's Service Function Chaining (SFC) project. SFC is of particular importance in driving an open ecosystem. While today it is possible to use open technologies to load a virtualized network service on COTS or whitebox hardware, simply virtualizing the service doesn't solve the core problem. The industry needs a modern framework for delivering a packet or flow through the appropriate sequence of services. Today there is no broadly accepted standard for SFC and as a result many vendors use proprietary SFC models to create vendor-aligned software ecosystems that prevent application portability and create consumer lock-in. ODL's SFC project will be of key importance in creating an open software ecosystem for SDN & NFV.

In his presentation Reinaldo was pleased to report that the SFC team had made significant progress both in terms of creating effective code and also in helping to bring together suppliers and consumers to consensus. This in turn has helped the SFC project to streamline efforts by the IETF to standardize SFC. The following slide captures the core components of the SFC architecture.

Figure 5: From 'Services Function Chaining in NFV environments',Reinaldo Penno, NFV World Congress 2015

 Franck Baudin from Qosmos gave a talk on the importance of application awareness in Service Function Chaining. As shown visually in the slide below, application awareness can break traffic down into more manageable flows that can ensure optimal traffic forwarding performance as well as optimizing the distribution of load across a distributed infrastructure. Qosmos' core application is an SDN optimized service classifier that uses Deep Packet Inspection to identify and classify traffic on a granular level.

Figure 6: From 'ODL-SFC feature development insights: Application/L7 Aware SFC', Franck Baudin, NFV World Congress 2015

 Randy Levensalor, Lead Architect for CableLabs, shared key insights on CableLabs' work to bring the benefits of software defined networking to DOCSIS networks. This use case highlights some of the key architectural benefits of the OpenDaylight architecture. While earlier SDN controllers had focused entirely on implementing OpenFlow, OpenDaylight took a different approach, leveraging an innovative Model-Driven Software Abstraction Layer (MD-SAL) that can support numerous different protocols in addition to OpenFlow. In his talk, Randy shared how the model-driven approach of OpenDaylight has helped CableLabs save tremendous time and effort in pursuing SDN. As seen in the slide below, CableLabs has been able to leverage most of the core OpenDaylight functionality while only needing to contribute minimal code to deliver solutions:

Figure 7: From 'ODL-SFC feature development insights: Application/L7 Aware SFC', Randy Levensalor, NFV World Congress 2015

 Finally, Radware vice president Mike O'Malley shared a presentation on delivering newer and more effective security techniques with SDN. This is a critical area for SDN, given the industry's overall need for increased security there is notable caution with new technologies around security. From its inception proponents of SDN have promised that it could deliver newer and superior approaches to security and Mike's presentation hit the nail on the head. Mike started by sharing the latest details on the state of cyber attacks - they are getting more common, more sophisticated and cost is becoming prohibitively expensive. Mike demonstrated how traditional security appliances are becoming increasingly ineffective at stopping these attacks. At the center of the issue Mike highlighted how SDN's ability to provide a network-wide control-plane helped to provide visibility and correlation to tackle the increasingly distributed attack vector of modern hacks. The following slide summarizes a high-level view of the solution:

Figure 8: From 'Leveraging the power of OpenDaylight and OpenStack for comprehensive and cost-effective Cyber Defense Networks', Mike O'Malley, NFV World Congress 2015


Related Presentations (Requires free registration at NFV World Congress website)

Key Demos from the NFV World POC & Demo Trail


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