Unpacking What’s Next in Network Composability at the Big Communications Event

June 6, 2017

The “composable core” is all about creating new services quickly and easily. As a leader in virtualization, Affirmed Networks has been working with operators such as AT&T, Vodafone, Etisalat and more. Affirmed CEO, Hassan Ahmed, shared his insights on the current state of network composability with open-integration mechanisms at the Virtualization Track at the Big Communications Event held in Austin, TX in May.

The ability to dynamically compose microservices independent of the VNF’s original structure opens up a world of possibilities for service providers:

  • They can enhance existing services. For example, a service provider might wish to add network monitoring capabilities to each of its core network elements. Instead of deploying a physical or virtual probe to monitor each gateway or element independently, a service provider could move the probing function into a container and re-create those network elements with the probing function built in to the service.

     Affirmed CEO, Hassan Ahmed, on the Virtualization Track panel at the Big Communications Event

    Affirmed CEO, Hassan Ahmed, on the Virtualization Track panel at the Big Communications Event

  • They can adapt to IoT opportunities. The Internet of Things (IoT) will place unique demands on service provider networks—and present exciting new opportunities for revenue-generating services. A cloud-native architecture has an inherent advantage here because it allows service providers to move functions closer to the network edge (to reduce latency for applications such as healthcare device monitoring), use external storage to reduce costs (versus stateful VM-based storage) and deliver multi-tiered load balancing at exceptional scale.
  • They can create new network elements. The arrival of 5G and IoT will create the need for new network elements such as the Cellular IoT Serving Gateway Node (C-SGN). By assembling the right microservices and functions in a cloud-native architecture, service providers can dynamically create VNFs to serve as the C-SGN or other needed roles in the network.

Creating a cloud-native network is a journey. It is one that can be accomplished faster and with fewer risks when the right architectural foundations are in place. If your network vendor doesn’t have a clear path to cloud-native capabilities in the products they sell today, then you don’t have a clear path to the cloud either.

At Affirmed, the cloud has been an integral part of our vision from the very beginning. The solutions that we sell today, such as our evolved packet core, have been designed to accommodate cloud-native transformations simply and easily. More importantly, these solutions allow service providers to deploy a proven NFV platform today that can address current network needs—more capacity, lower cost, higher performance—while providing a seamless migration path to micro-services and cloud-based delivery models.