By Kaya Sorkin
Virtualization of a network loses its value if the price of virtualization is the loss of “carrier-grade” quality of experience. But is it possible to kill two birds with one stone and combine reliable performance with vendor neutrality?
Agility and flexibility have been buzzwords for nearly five years, during which time we have learned that flexibility is a primary key to success, requiring CSPs to rearchitect their networks that used rigid, complex systems centered around proprietary hardware to cloud-based models that overcome hardware restrictions by relying on SDN to manage the traffic on top of multi-purpose COTS servers.
However, all the value-added services that can be offered through virtualization are useless without reliable network performance that traditional hardware provided, whether at the network core or edge. The standard for connectivity in the telecom industry is Carrier Ethernet, which is essential for reliable service offerings. Unfortunately, software-only solutions cannot efficiently deploy high-intensity Carrier Ethernet data path functions without overtaxing the CPU, which affects overall performance and adds cost. An alternate solution is required to enable CSPs to adopt NFV without concern that they could be degrading QoE in their service offering.
The answer is to implement Carrier Ethernet through Ethernity’s FPGA-based approach in a serverized, cloud-based environment.
Ethernity offers all Carrier Ethernet functionality including SLA monitoring, H-QoS, OAM, protocol interworking, tunneling, and security on programmable FPGAs instead of through the fixed ASICs in traditional hardware. The addition of Ethernity’s ENET firmware converts the FPGA into a Carrier Ethernet “device”.
For example, at the network edge, by using ENET on FPGA-enabled NICs, CSPs gain the ability to connect sites directly to the server in the Central Office without the need for single-function proprietary hardware to handle aggregation. Ethernity’s All Programmable FPGA-based NICs provide a COTS-based CE switch and aggregation platform that offers complete programmability at both the functional and interface level. For even further network aggregation needs, multiple programmable NIC cards within a single server provide a scalable solution to achieve high throughput up to 240 Gbps.
And that’s not all that Ethernity’s FPGA has to offer! FPGAs provide an ideal method for accelerating VNFs by delivering VNF offload functionality at the speed of software development. Merging Carrier Ethernet functionality with vFW, vRouter, vBRAS, vEPC and any other virtual function offload is truly an ideal solution for CSPs looking to virtualize their Carrier Ethernet networks.