OpenStack Summit Vancouver is around the corner, and I am very happy to have Colin Tregenza Dancer from Metaswitch to co-present with me on my session “Ahead of the NFV Curve through Truly Scale-Out Network Function Cloudification” in the Telco Strategies track on Thursday May 21st at 2:20PM.
I started talking to Martin Taylor a few months ago on the topic of cloud-native VNF. Martin is the Metaswitch CTO and a thought leader in the NFV space. He has written and spoken extensively about how Communication Service Providers (CSPs) must embrace the cloud model to realize the scalability, reliability and availability that NFV really needs to succeed.
As one of the first batch of AT&T’s Domain 2.0 vendors, Metaswitch actually started to design their telco software for the cloud even before the phrase NFV came into being, and spent a long time studying web-scale application design from Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon. They have applied principles building massively scaled apps from these web-scale players in their Project Clearwater. As a result, Metaswitch has been able to achieve something that really delivers the kinds of benefits that were always identified for NFV – that is, making good use of the cloud, incredible fault tolerance, extraordinary scalability, and the ability to scale elastically and dynamically on demand.
All these great things that Metaswitch has been doing in the VNF space really match how we view the future of NFV at Mellanox. A lot of network services vendors have come up with virtualized version of offerings but they did nothing more than porting the software running on hardware appliances to running on virtual machines. These VNFs are still heavily stateful which prevent it from really scaling out and leverage what the cloud environment has to offer. The web-scale companies have solved that problem by going stateless, and that principle is spreading out to web-scale IT as well. Gartner predicated that:
“By 2016, the availability of capacity and performance management skills for horizontally scaled architectures will be a major constraint or risk to growth for 80% of major businesses. To take advantage of web-scale IT approaches to capacity and performance management, IT architects need to fully embrace stateless application architectures and horizontally scaling infrastructure architectures.”
This is the exact direction that telco cloud for NFV needs to head. This means separating a stateful application into stateless transaction processing array that can scale almost infinitely, and state storage where these processing elements can retrieve any state from. In our joint session, we will take a look at some of the techniques used to achieve this transformation, and examine the infrastructure needed to support stateless, cloud-native VNFs.
It was very kind of Martin to offer Colin Tregenza Dancer to present with me at the OpenStack Summit Vancouver. Colin has been in Metaswitch for 25 years and is currently their Director of Architect. One of the originators of Metaswitch Networks’ market-leading telecom product range, Colin is currently focusing on the opportunities for (re)evolution presented by cloud in general and OpenStack in particular. If you are heading to Vancouver, do join us in our session, we look forward to seeing you there!