(This article originally appeared in the Q3 2017 issue odf INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.)
Network virtualization promises to provide communications service providers with billions of dollars in upside through the fast delivery of new revenue-generating services and lower operational expenses. In order for that to happen, however, carriers need to deploy virtualized services that meet their customers’ expectations for reliability and cost.
They can do that by building their own solutions using open source components, or they can try to bring enterprise-class software platforms up to carrier standards.
But these two options can be tricky. And they typically take years to accomplish. In the meantime, carriers miss out on new revenue opportunities and potential savings.
The good news is there is a third – and better – option. That is using the Titanium Cloud portfolio of commercially available NFV infrastructure software platforms from Wind River.
Titanium Cloud provides fully integrated solutions that combine the control and the data plane, delivering compute, network and storage functions. Most importantly, it enables carriers to enjoy the benefits of network virtualization today.
“In theory, a company could go to the open source community or other vendors and get the individual software elements they need and do all the work necessary to combine and harden them,” said Charlie Ashton, Wind River’s senior director of business development for Software Defined Infrastructure. “But, in order to successfully complete the integration work and ultimately bring a carrier-grade solution to market probably would take at least three years. We can get them to a completed deployment in a couple of weeks.”
The Titanium Cloud portfolio includes Titanium Core, a network virtualization platform for large-scale applications, like service provider data centers, central offices, and points of presence involving multiple servers. Also under the Titanium Cloud umbrella is Titanium Edge, which addresses small-footprint access and edge applications. Between them, the two products address applications like IMS, mobile edge computing, radio access networks, session border controllers, and virtual customer premises equipment. (Wind River also provides a solution called Titanium Control, which is aimed at businesses with Industrial Internet of Things applications.)
Titanium Cloud solves the following four key challenges carriers are facing as they move to virtualization:
- Protecting and growing their top-line revenue,
- Minimizing their operational costs,
- Avoiding vendor lock-in, and
- Increasing market share by deploying new services faster than their competitors.
As service providers move to virtualized infrastructure, they are concerned about the potential for downtime impacting the services that they deliver, Ashton noted. When services go down, it can hurt carrier reputations, result in customer churn, and rack up major penalties due to missed service level agreements. Ashton said SLA penalties alone can result in billions of dollars of losses over the course of a few years. But, he added, Titanium Cloud delivers high reliability to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“Our DNA is to provide embedded software for systems that just cannot tolerate failure,” said Ashton.
Technology from Wind River, which was established in the 1980s, is used by major companies in the aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial, medical, and networking verticals. In fact, the company’s software helps power the Mars Rover.
Wind River, now a subsidiary of Intel, also helps carriers minimize their operational costs. Titanium Cloud does that by making it supremely simple to install and upgrade the network cloud, avoiding downtime in the process. It also maximizes the number of subscribers carriers can support per physical server, by optimizing the utilization of their processor resources.
Avoiding vendor lock-in was one of the key reasons the carriers gave for pursuing network virtualization in the first place. Titanium Cloud addresses that too.
That’s in part because Titanium Cloud is based on open source technology and open standards. The platform uses a Linux operating system, leverages OpenStack for virtual machine orchestration, KVM as a hypervisor, and Ceph for storage. None of these technologies by themselves deliver the uptime and security needed for carrier deployments, Ashton said. But, Wind River takes the latest versions of these software packages, hardens them, validates the patches they’ve developed, and delivers them upstream back to the community. Wind River also works with the developer community so it can better understand the needs of telecom users.
Wind River also has brought together an expansive ecosystem of technology partners with which its platform is interoperable and optimized. The Titanium Cloud ecosystem includes more than 40 partner companies, including such suppliers as ADVA Optical Networking, Ciena, Dell EMC, F5, GENBAND, HPE, Huawei, Mellanox Technologies, Nokia, Sonus, and many others.
And Titanium Cloud accelerates time to market. That means carriers can move to virtualized platforms quickly, so they get a jump on their competitors and can reap the rewards as soon as possible.
For more information on Titanium Cloud, visit https://www.windriver.com/products/titanium-cloud/
Edited by Erik Linask