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China Mobile Takes Advantage of Brocade NFV

By Steve Anderson January 23, 2017

China Mobile has a clear plan moving forward, and in a move that will come as a surprise to some, it's recently brought in some network functions virtualization (NFV) options as a means to support that plan. More specifically, it turned to Brocade, bringing in the Brocade Virtual Traffic Manager (vTM) to help improve China Mobile's data center operations and deliver new value for the telecom company.

Brocade's vTM is expected to not only help China Mobile keep costs down, but also potentially raise revenue with significant improvement to currently-offered cloud services. Since China Mobile is one of the biggest service providers in the country, it's taking on an appropriately leading role in a Chinese government initiative known as the Internet Plus initiative. The initiative calls for new business models to be created outright in several different industries, calling on new technologies like cloud computing, big data operations, and the Internet of Things.

To meet this initiative head-on, China Mobile is augmenting its systems, not only in adding capacity but in making better use of the capacity currently on hand. With Brocade's NFV system operating, reports note, not only can China Mobile's data centers enjoy 200 Mbps on a single virtual machine host, but also land elastic capacity from one to 1,000 Mbps. Getting that kind of capacity out of hardware-based systems, meanwhile, would require a system roughly 50 percent more expensive than Brocade's.

Brocade China country manager Henry Zhu commented, “The promise of network functions virtualization is the ability to scale services on demand. When it comes to service providers, they don’t come much bigger than China Mobile in terms of potential scale. We’re naturally delighted that Brocade’s advanced NFV appliance technology has been selected by China Mobile. This is a groundbreaking project within China’s service provider landscape and we are fully committed to ensuring it results in complete success.”

It's hard to see how China will bring in all these new technologies and all these new business models when so much of its Internet access is so heavily censored. Given how much in the way of resources is going into that project—and given how widely used virtual private networks (VPNs) are in China to get around such things anyway—it might be that China Mobile already has the necessary capacity on hand to provide the bandwidth for Internet Plus if it weren't already trying to block things people can comfortably get anyway.

Still, the use of NFV will certainly help give China Mobile more to work with. That in the end may allow both sides of the coin to carry on, resulting in a bizarre chimera that still manages to work. 

Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Writer

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