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Affirmed Networks Executives Speak at ONS Europe on How Automation & Open Source are Paving the Way for 5G Services

by Affirmed Affirmed No Comments

This week at the ONS Europe event in Amsterdam, Affirmed Networks’ VP Product Management and Marketing, Angela Whiteford, and Affirmed Networks’ Senior Product Manager, Dejan Leskaroski, spoke on the importance of automation and open source technologies as 5G services become available.

Focusing on how operators can achieve profitability in an era where bandwidth continues to grow exponentially while revenue remains flat, Whiteford and Leskaroski’s remarks provided actionable insights for operators to more effectively leverage automated services, a truly predictive network, real-time analytics, and the integration of open source technologies to drive greater business outcomes that are the result of better monetization of the network as it moves to 5G.

Each year ONS Europe is attended by more than 700 networking and orchestration, business, development and operations leaders across open source service providers, cloud companies and enterprise users.

   

 

Affirmed Networks Joins Linux Foundation Networking Fund

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

Affirmed Networks is pleased to announce that we have joined the Linux Foundation Networking Fund, an organization focused on facilitating collaboration and operational excellence across the open networking projects, such as ONAP and OPNFV, that are important to our customers as they continue to transform their networks.

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation provides tools, training, and events to scale any open source project. The Linux Foundation has become a true force in the industry, attracting the top developers as part of an ecosystem focused on accelerating open technology development and industry adoption.

In our view, open source technologies are critical to driving innovation across the entire ecosystem.  We are honored to join the other leading companies that are already part of the Linux Foundation, as members, we look forward to contributing to the advancement of open source technologies to ensure the community remains at the forefront of innovation as the industry continues its transformation to cloud-based architectures that will support 5G.

The LFN community will come together on September 25-27, 2018 in Amsterdam for Open Networking Summit Europe, the industry’s premier open networking event, gathering enterprises, service providers and cloud providers across the ecosystem to share learnings, highlight innovation and discuss the future of Open Source Networking, including SDN, NFV, orchestration and the automation of cloud, edge, network, and IoT services.

More information on the Linux Foundation can be found here.

If You Think Virtualization Is About Saving Money, You’re Missing a Lot

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

What do you think of when you hear the word virtualization? If you’re a mobile carrier, the word “virtualization” likely evokes images of massive appliances being replaced by sleek servers, perhaps with a smiling CFO in the background for added effect. Mind you, it’s not a bad image, but it’s only a small picture of what virtualization can do for your network. In fact, the money you can save by virtualizing your network hardware is small change when compared to the money you could be generating with new services from a fully virtualized mobile platform.

For years, vendors have positioned network functions virtualization (NFV) as a capex reduction play. That’s because most NFV vendors are selling virtualized versions of their legacy hardware, so the main benefit to their customers is cheaper hardware. As a company that has been truly virtualized from the start, Affirmed Networks sees things differently. We didn’t build our virtual mobile core solution just to save you money, but to make you money through agile service creation, automation, network slicing, mobile edge computing and more. If you still think of NFV as a cost-cutting measure, here are six ways that Affirmed’s cloud-native NFV solutions will have you seeing dollar signs instead…

Beat the OTT players at their own game.

OTT players aren’t encumbered by massive networks or painfully slow processes. Their credo is to fail fast and fail often in the pursuit of innovation. It’s their competitive advantage, and it can become yours too with Affirmed’s microservices-centric architecture. We designed our network for agile service creation: stateless database, decomposed services, container-based apps. It lets you quickly build, test and launch new services for small groups (i.e., microservices), which can boost your services revenue by as much as 47%.

Deploy and update services faster with far less effort.

Virtualization reduces capex, but what about opex? For that, you’ll need service automation and service chaining. Affirmed delivers both with its Affirmed Service Automation Platform (ASAP for short). By automating the provisioning and service chaining process, mobile carriers can accelerate their time to market (which can boost service revenue by 13%) and reduce opex by as much as 77%!

Get real-time analytics that really make a difference.

For years, mobile carriers have used physical probes to provide network intelligence. The trouble is, physical probes are expensive and eat up costly network bandwidth. Affirmed is the first company to offer a completely virtualized probe solution, vProbe, that doesn’t require hardware and doesn’t drain your network’s performance. vProbe delivers pervasive, real-time network analytics that can be leveraged to create new services and improve network quality.

Cut your network into profitable slices.

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a big opportunity for those mobile carriers that figure out how to “slice” their network to support a diverse range of new communications devices, from connected cars to life-saving medical devices. Affirmed’s IoT services platform includes pre-built IoT service templates as well as easy-to-use virtual network slicing capabilities based on latency, throughput, security, availability and other requirements, so mobile carriers can deploy and monetize IoT services faster.

Create value-added services to capture more revenue.

With Affirmed’s GiLAN virtualized services environment, mobile carriers can easily create new services using a simple building-block approach. Simply chain together the service features you want (e.g., deep packet inspection, video optimization, proxy services, security) to create new services, from content filtering to ad insertion.

Bring your network experience to the edge.

Moving the mobile core experience to the network edge will be critical to delivering new latency-sensitive, high-bandwidth services such as virtual/augmented reality and self-driving vehicles. Affirmed’s mobile platform supports mobile edge computing, allowing mobile carriers to bring core services closer to the consumer for better, richer experiences.

 

As you can see, virtualization isn’t just a solution to your hardware problem, it’s a solution to your “how are we going to compete and thrive in the future” problem. At Affirmed Networks, we see virtualization as a cost saver and a revenue driver. If you’re having a conversation about virtualization and the word “innovation” isn’t part of it, you need to be talking to us.

Cloud Native: Why Cloud Readiness Matters Right Now

by Ashwin Moranganti Ashwin Moranganti No Comments

Cloud-native architecture. The words themselves are likely to elicit a range of reactions, from apathy (“Do we even need that?”) to annoyance (“Don’t we have enough to do?”). In fact, the words should be music to the ears of mobile service providers—because “cloud-native” is a must-have for 5G.

“Cloud native” isn’t marketing hype and it isn’t a complicated architectural template. The Cloud-native 5G NG Core was designed from the ground up to support the speed, scale and service requirements of the future, much in the same way that Amazon, Google, Netflix and other cloud leaders have already done. In the simplest of definitions, a cloud-native 5G NG Core has three main characteristics:

  • It breaks traditional, monolithic network functions into microservices that are autonomous, replaceable/changeable and stateless;
  • It stores these microservices into containers that can be easily moved, arranged and managed;
  • It uses a common management tool such as Kubernetes to dynamically orchestrate the various virtual network functions (VNFs) rather than using proprietary vendor VNF managers.

From a consumer standpoint, 5G means faster speed, lower latency, and a pervasive IoT (Internet of Everything) fabric, but for mobile operators, 5G is about network slicing, innovation velocity and reducing network operating costs. In order to meet the network demands of 5G, operators need a web-scale infrastructure with dynamically reconfigurable software services –similar to what the Amazon and Google have for cloud services.

The payoff of a cloud-native 5G NG Core is enormous. It allows you to develop and deploy new services/applications much faster using continuous Agile and DevOps methodologies, gives you a network that can hyperscale efficiently (because the NFs are stateless) and provides more agility and flexibility by moving microservices into Docker containers that can be centrally orchestrated through an open-source tool such as Kubernetes. As you can see, a cloud-native architecture doesn’t compete with the goals of NFV/5G, it supports them and in many cases turbocharges them.

Yes, you can try to build an NFV/5G network without a cloud-native architecture. But, sooner or later, you’re going to hit a wall in terms of the performance, scale and cost savings you achieve. Cloud native isn’t a question of “If,” but “When.” If your NFV/5G vendor doesn’t have a clear path to cloud-native capabilities in their solutions today, you may not have a clear path to creating a cloud-based network in the future. It’s a path we set out on from the beginning when we first designed our virtual EPC to support microservices, containers and service automation/orchestration. If you want a cloud-native core from a leading NFV/5G vendor, talk to us to ensure you don’t find yourself playing an expensive game of cloud catch-up while your competitors lead the way with innovative new services and better customer experiences.

5G’s Need for Speed: Why 5G Performance Matters

by Angela Whiteford Angela Whiteford No Comments

5G performance places unique demands on the network in terms of routing, scalability and services. But more than anything else, 5G has a need for speed. It’s actually more like an insatiable appetite.  This is due to the exponential rise in high-bandwidth data traffic (e.g., video), the creation of data-rich services and the introduction of billions of “talking” machines via the Internet of Things (IoT) that will require significantly more data-processing horsepower in the network.   This is particularly true in critical areas such as the mobile core. So where will mobile operators find this extra power? We believe the answer is: From Affirmed Networks and ecosystem partners such as Intel.

5G Performance Testing: Findings & Results

Recently, Intel and Affirmed, in cooperation with Dell and Spirent, completed performance testing of Affirmed’s virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) that demonstrated 151 Gbps throughput on a single Xeon-based server. To put that into perspective, that’s 5-10X faster than what can be delivered today by purpose-built mobile core offerings or competitive virtualized offerings. These results confirm what we’ve known all along: virtualized network functions (VNFs) that leverage the latest server technology and architected for high data plane throughput are the best path to building high-speed, high-capacity networks.

The 5G performance tests demonstrated:

Processor Throughput Throughput with 100% Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
Intel Xeon Platinum processor-based server

 

150Gbps 120Gbps
Intel Xeon Gold processor-based server

 

100Gbps 80Gbps
  • Single-server packet processing rates of 26 million packets per second (based on a standard 650-byte packet);
  • Linear scalability—even when full deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities are activated;
  • Additional processing headroom under high-use conditions, with CPU and I/O utilization rates of only 60 to 80 percent.
  • Testing conducted on Affirmed’s latest software release for its 5G Mobile Core that supports which support CUPS, 5G NR, automated service provisioning, fine-grained network slicing, and integrated virtual probes

Intel Performance Infographic

The numbers clearly prove that a virtualized mobile packet core is the best path to achieving substantially higher levels of scale, performance, and efficiency for high-capacity, data-intensive workloads. Of course, not all virtual mobile packet cores are created equal, nor can anyone else make this claim. In the past, for example, legacy packet core vendors have struggled with maintaining high performance during DPI processing, in some cases reporting that performance was halved when DPI was activated on all packets. Affirmed’s vEPC solution, however, features fast-path optimization that, in the latest performance results, reveals performance levels of 120 Gbps per server even when DPI is turned on for all packets.

Our vEPC is optimized for Intel’s new generation of Xeon Scalable processors as well as high-capacity network interface cards (NICs), enabling our vEPC to deliver superior levels of performance on Intel-based servers, both now and with subsequent generations of the technology. Affirmed’s solutions are designed to support real-world environments on real-world servers. In the latest performance tests, Spirent’s Landslide platform was used to simulate an environment of 1 million subscribers running extremely high volumes of UDP, TCP, HTTP, and TTPS data traffic.

 

For years, traditional mobile core providers have suggested that NFV is unproven when it comes to handling the workloads of the future. These latest performance results from Affirmed and Intel clearly prove otherwise. In fact, we would say that the burden of proof has shifted to the other side of the aisle (hardware). Can your current mobile core vendor offer a path to the future that the performance and unlimited scale at a fraction of the cost?

For more information, download the complete performance report.