Working with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat, Verizon said it has just wrapped up "the industry's largest-known" network functions virtualization (NFV) OpenStack cloud deployment across five of its data centers in the U.S.
NFV enables network services typically provided by separate devices like routers, firewalls and load balancers to be delivered through a virtual machine environment. It's a strategy designed to lower costs and speed up deployment of services.
Verizon, which announced its NFV deployment during today's kickoff of the OpenStack Summit in Austin, began the project in 2015. The company added that the project is being deployed at other data centers and sites across the U.S. and will also expand to international sites over the next few months. Verizon said that it also plans to use the NFV design in its edge network sites by the end of the year.
Building 'at the Pace of Software'
Developed with support from Verizon's partners, the NFV deployment uses a core-and-pod architecture design that provides network flexibility and hyperscale capabilities, the company said. The design went from concept to a 50-plus rack deployment in under nine months, the company added.
The deployment will give Verizon "the ability to build a network that changes at the pace of software, not at the pace of hardware," Darrell Jordan-Smith, Red Hat's vice president for worldwide information and communications technology, said in a statement.
The open source nature of the project made deployment particularly attractive to his company, Chris Emmons, Verizon's director for network infrastructure planning, said in an interview with FierceWirelessTech. "There are techniques in software that allow us to provide the same reliability and even better," he said. "As we get better at this, we think the network can actually be even more reliable even though you're running on what's theoretically less reliable hardware underneath."
Deployment Notable for Size, Open Source Approach
"The most significant thing about this deployment is its size," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. His company today published a new research paper finding that "[t]he OpenStack cloud operating system is becoming a strong alternative to traditional IT service delivery models for large enterprises."
In the report, Moorhead said it was interesting that Verizon chose OpenStack versus a vendor's proprietary solution. "Also interesting is that Verizon chose Red Hat versus rolling their own OpenStack or using OpenStack from Ubuntu," he said. "Cloud giants use Ubuntu Linux and roll their own OpenStack and don't buy theirs from Red Hat."
In its deployment, Verizon used OpenStack with Red Hat Ceph Storage, along with Big Switch's Big Cloud Fabric for SDN (software-defined networking) controller software that manages Dell switches. The entire deployment is orchestrated using the Red Hat OpenStack Platform.
Other benefits provided by the project include resiliency at scale, elimination of bandwidth bottlenecks, flexibility of logical network design, reduced operational complexity and integrated security and visibility, according to Verizon.
Image Credit: Logos via Verizon and OpenStack; Artist's concept/iStock.