The market for cloud infrastructure services has exploded. As a result, communications service providers (CommSPs) are leveraging technologies proven by leading cloud providers to build ﬂexible networks that can support this rapid growth.
Cloud providers including the likes of Amazon Web Services*, Microsoft, IBM, and Google have garnered much of the software services market with astounding... growth rates. These cloud providers have evolved their data center infrastructure to leverage Intel® architecture–based servers, while embracing open source software in conjunction with a DevOps* delivery model to rapidly develop and deploy new services. The DevOps Model, also called "agile system administration" or "agile operations," sprang from applying new agile and lean approaches to operations work. It leverages close work between development and operations teams who work together to rapidly develop and move a service idea from concept to revenue generation.
CommSPs that rely on traditional infrastructure are embracing these same software-centric architectures and service delivery concepts, proven by cloud providers, using software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) architectures. SDN architectures decouple network control from switching and forwarding functions, enabling network control to become directly programmable and the underlying infrastructure to be abstracted from applications and network services. NFV architectures essentially replace proprietary dedicated hardware appliances, like routers, firewalls, or session border controllers, with virtualized network functions (VNFs). Hosting multiple VNFs on Intel® processor-based servers can drive significant reduction in network and ongoing operating costs. NFV also enables faster time to market because new services can be rapidly developed using DevOps delivery models and then quickly deployed as VNF instances dynamically based on customer demand. However, deploying a carrier-scale NFV architecture will require hosting and managing thousands of VNFs in a telco data center environment.