Dialogic Blog

Is Cloud Infrastructure Swallowing Up NFV?

by Jim Machi

Apr 11, 2017 9:10:00 AM

Is Cloud Infrastructure Swallowing Up NFV

Service Providers want the infrastructure to be able to scale up (and down), they want to move CAPEX to OPEX, and they want lower overall costs.  In other words, they want the same benefits, the same end game as “True NFV,” but possibly obtain this from running an infrastructure Virtual Machine in a cloud such as Amazon EC2.

And voila, we have telecom infrastructure running on Amazon web services.  This is easier to do. It’s virtual machines managed by the service provider. The NFV crowd will bring up legitimate issues such as that there is no structure to orchestrate different software together, the VM may not be optimized to run on the specific hardware underneath, clouds potentially are optimized for larger (i.e. video) packets as opposed to smaller voice packets and the voice packets may have to travel too far – both impacting quality, and also clouds would lack geo redundancy.  Like I said, these are all legitimate issues, but if you go back to the benefits, it's worth the move especially if you don’t need a gigantic all-encompassing network.

And, by the way, one can get geo redundancy and geo locality to handle latency if one chooses a large enough public cloud provider with a world-wide footprint.  Let’s take a look at geo redundancy in Amazon.

In an AWS implementation, the user has the ability to deploy their applications within specific Availability Zones (AZ). Each AWS data center is considered a region. Within each data center region, there are multiple AZs.  AZs are set up to provide isolation for applications running within them from failures in other AZs. In addition, AZs within a region are connected to each other by inexpensive, low latency links. One way of protecting from failure in a single location is by instantiating software infrastructure software in separate AZs. Regions and AZs can be selected through the tools provided by AWS. 

It’s different than “true NFV” for sure, but it also accomplishes a lot of the same objectives.  So while the NFV game plays out, infrastructure on Amazon web services marches forward.

Dialogic understands both sides.  We have made some of our infrastructure “true NFV” so it can work in Tier 1 NFV environments, and we have made all of our infrastructure EC2 enabled so it can run as a service in a cloud.   In the meantime, as the NFV crowd wants perfection, those service providers who just want the benefits of NFV are turning to running infrastructure in AWS.


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Topics: NFV/SDN & Cloud