BICSI – 1 CEC
The intent of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is to abstract networking workloads from purpose built hardware to software based solutions running on widely available servers inside datacenters. In addition, NFV also provides virtualization support to improve efficiency and manageability in the networking solution.
Today Data Center cloud connectivity is typically based on Software Defined Networking solutions implemented by open-source software solutions such as Open Virtual Switch (OVS). OVS solutions provide a flexible way of connecting the VNFs but performance and scalability is not sufficient to support real telco network demands. It is however a big step toward reaping the advantages of the NFV approach.
Due to OVS performance concerns, operators, system integrators and VNF vendors are only using OVS solutions in control plane networking while the data plane networking connections are realized through physical switches. This is one of the key factors limiting adoption of NFV today.
To drive adoption of NFV it is necessary to improve VNF networking connection performance in the Data Center Cloud network for the data plane. This can be accomplished using SmartNICs. SmartNIC acceleration based on modern NIC and FPGA implementations provides dramatic improvement in performance. The acceptance of SmartNICs for NFV requires the resolution of many challenges. The required implementation spans from MANO and zero-touch orchestration to standardized APIs for the SmartNIC solution.