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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Addresses customer demands in hours or minutes instead of weeks or days, without sacrificing security or performance.
  • Reduces capital expenditures because it uses commodity-off-the-shelf hardware instead of expensive tailor-made equipment.
  • 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 11 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, the overcloud consisted 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 Red Hat OpenStack Platform 11, you can use composable roles to create custom deployment roles. Composable roles allow you to add or remove services from each role. With Red Hat OpenStack Platform 11 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.