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6WIND Ensures Performance Won't Be a Gating Factor for NFV

By Paula Bernier October 10, 2013

Much of the focus around network functions virtualization today involves work on network management and orchestration. That’s certainly important. But another important yet perhaps lesser known area of work in the NFV vein has to do with address data plane and other performance issues in a way that is cost effective, says Charlie Ashton of 6WIND.

The company offers an NFV solution called 6WINDGate that maximizes virtual switch performance; accelerates secure tunneling protocols such as IPsec, GRE, NVGRE, VLAN and VxLAN; and revs up data plane performance on the virtual networking functions.

VNF performance refers to constrained poor performance and limited scalability of standard operating system networking stacks, and the limitation on bandwidth for communication outside the VM that is imposed by standard hypervisors, says Ashton. So without the kind of solution provided by 6WIND, Ashton indicates, the virtual switch and the VNFs can act as bottlenecks and increase carrier costs.

“Service providers will need their VNFs to deliver cost-performance that is comparable to that achieved by equivalent physical implementations,” says Ashton, who spoke at the recent SDN Precon. “Otherwise, their NFV deployments won’t be cost-effective and there will be no ROI justification for a transition to NFV.”

6WIND is a founding member of the CloudNFV initiative, which was announced Aug. 14. As discussed in an Aug. 14 NFVZone posting on NFVZone, CloudNFV aims to serve as a platform by which industry players can test the integration of cloud computing, software-defined networking, network functions virtualization, and the Telemanagement Forum management. CloudNFV can deploy assets like firewall or load balancing on a per-customer basis or as infrastructure services such as CDN or IMS to be shared among a community of users.

The CloudNFV initiative is leveraging specs already laid out by ETSI’s NFV Industry Specification Group. This new group has adopted an architecture that leverages Dell’s PowerEdge data center servers and EqualLogic storage interconnected by Dell Active Fabric SDN-enabled switches; EnterpriseWeb’s Active Virtualization technology (to optimize service orders); Overture’s Ensemble Service Orchestrator (to instantiate and connect virtual network functions); Qosmos’ DeepFlow DPI OEM traffic probes and DPI engine VNF Component (for network optimization and control); and 6WIND’s 6WINDGate data path acceleration software.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Executive Editor, TMC

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