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Chapter 1. Understanding Red Hat Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is a software-based solution that helps the Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to move beyond the traditional, proprietary hardware to achieve greater efficiency and agility while reducing the operational costs.

NFV virtualizes network functions on general-purpose, cloud-based infrastructure to provide more agility, flexibility, simplicity, efficiency, and scalability than legacy infrastructure, while also reducing costs and allowing greater innovation.

An NFV environment allows for IT and network convergence by providing a virtualised infrastructure using the standard virtualization technologies that run on standard hardware devices such as switches, routers, and storage to virtualize network functions. The management and orchestration logic deploys and sustains these services. NFV also includes a Systems Administration, Automation and Life-Cycle Management thereby reducing the manual work necessary. It makes sure that people use modern tools, for example, devops, to work faster and at a larger scale.

1.1. Advantages of NFV

The main advantages of implementing NFV are as follows:

  • It accelerates the time-to-market by allowing quick deployment of new networking services because you do not need to install specialized new hardware to support changing business requirements. NFV allows Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to try and develop services to meet the growing customer demands, thus reducing the risk associated with new services.
  • It delivers agility and flexibility by allowing you to quickly scale services to address changing demands, and supports innovation by enabling service developers to self-manage their resources and prototype using the same platform that will be used in production.
  • It addresses customer demands in hours or minutes instead of weeks or days, without sacrificing security or performance.
  • It reduces capital expenditures because it uses commodity-off-the-shelf hardware instead of expensive tailor-made equipment.
  • It reduces operational costs by streamlined operations and automation that optimizes day-to-day tasks and improves employee productivity.

1.2. Supported Configurations for NFV Deployments

Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 supports NFV deployments with the inclusion of automated OVS-DPDK and SR-IOV configuration. Furthermore, customers looking for a Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI) solution can now co-locate the Compute sub-system with the Red Hat Ceph Storage nodes. This hyper-converged model delivers lower cost of entry, smaller initial deployment footprints, maximized capacity utilization, and more efficient management in NFV use cases.

With the previous releases of Red Hat OpenStack Platform director, overcloud consists of predefined nodes, namely, Controller, Compute, Storage and so on. Each node consisted of a set of services defined in the core heat template collection on the director node. With the Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10, you can create custom deployment roles, using the composable roles feature, adding or removing services from each role. With Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 release, the director offers many configuration options to deploy the latest OpenStack and Ceph versions. It also supports, with limitations, the deployment of Technology Preview services such as OpenDaylight, Containerized Compute node or the Real-Time KVM hypervisor. For more information on the support scope for features marked as technology previews, see Technology Preview.

For more information on the Composable Roles, see Composable Roles and Services.

1.3. ETSI NFV Architecture

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is an independent standardization group that develops standards for information and communications technologies (ICT) in Europe.

Network functions virtualization (NFV) focuses on addressing problems involved in using proprietary hardware devices. With NFV, the necessity to install network-specific equipment is reduced, depending upon the use case requirements and economic benefits. The ETSI Industry Specification Group for Network Functions Virtualization (ETSI ISG NFV) sets the requirements, reference architecture, and the infrastructure specifications necessary to ensure virtualized functions are supported.

Red Hat is offering an open-source based cloud-optimized solution to help the Communication Service Providers (CSP) to achieve IT and network convergence, by adding the NFV features like SR-IOV, DPDK-OVS to existing open source projects like OpenStack.

1.4. Subscriptions

To install Red Hat OpenStack Platform, you must register all systems in the OpenStack environment either through the Red Hat Content Delivery Network, or through Red Hat Satellite 6. If using a Red Hat Satellite Server, synchronize the required repositories to your Red Hat OpenStack Platform environment. Subscribing to the right channels allows you access to certain repositories and each repository allows you to download the necessary packages required for installing and configuring Red Hat OpenStack Platform. The following is a list of CDN channels that you need to subscribe for installing Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 with NFV components:

Table: Red Hat OpenStack Platform Repositories



Description of Requirement

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Server (RPMs)


Base operating system repository.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Server - Extras (RPMs)


Contains Red Hat OpenStack Platform dependencies

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Server - RH Common (RPMs)


Contains tools for deploying and configuring Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

Red Hat Satellite Tools for RHEL 7 Server RPMs x86_64


Tools for managing hosts with Red Hat Satellite 6.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux High Availability (for RHEL 7 Server) (RPMs)


High availability tools for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Used for Controller node high availability.

Red Hat OpenStack Platform 10 for RHEL 7 (RPMs)


Core Red Hat OpenStack Platform repository. Also contains packages for Red Hat OpenStack Platform Director.

Red Hat Ceph Storage OSD 2 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Server (RPMs)


(For Ceph Storage Nodes) Repository for Ceph Storage Object Storage daemon. Installed on Ceph Storage nodes.

Red Hat Ceph Storage MON 2 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Server (RPMs)


(For Ceph Storage Nodes) Repository for Ceph Storage Monitor daemon. Installed on Controller nodes in OpenStack environments using Ceph Storage nodes.

Red Hat Ceph Storage Tools 2 for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Workstation (RPMs)


(For Ceph Storage Nodes) Provides Rados REST gateway required for Ceph object storage.

For more information on the steps to subscribe to the channels, see Subscription Basics.