What should operators consider when deploying NFV

NFV comes with big promises and one of the key drivers for NFV is to allow operators to rapidly launch and scale new applications. Today, if an operator wants to launch a new application, the process can be rather complex. It requires a lot of preparation and planning as the data center space has to be allocated, specialized servers, networking and storage have to be acquired. It has to be architected for 5 nines of availability plus integrated with other network elements. Given the costs involved in this process, every project is scrutinized by finance departments and this cautious approach leaves very little room for innovation.

In an NFV world, every application is a piece of software that can run on virtualized servers, storage and networks. Keeping the hardware separate from software gives a new level of flexibility. NFV infrastructure is built as a utility, and when it is time to launch new applications, you do not have to worry about such things as finding racks or integrating servers or even the storage. All of this is already provided by NFV and it is just a matter of allocating the right resources.

Additionally, integration becomes easier as networks are virtualized and pre-integrated. This works fine — as long as the application is simple and not subscriber-aware. If the application is subscriber aware, it needs to integrate with provisioning systems, and for a typical operator this can be a nine- to twelve-month long process that can cost up to a million dollars per integration. Therefore, for subscriber-aware applications, the agility of NFV can be easily lost.

Fortunately, you can recover that agility by using a built-in virtual User Data Repository (vUDR, or Subscriber Data Management as a Service) as part of your NFV infrastructure. reason some of the more forward-looking operators are placing a vUDR as one of the first subscriber-aware applications in the NFV cloud.

There are clear benefits to this approach. Once the vUDR is in place, all subscriber-related information is readily available to applications that want to use it. New applications launched on NFV don’t need a one-to-one provisioning integration and operators can start enjoying ‘agility’ for subscriber-aware applications too.

iaasSubscriber Data Management (SDM) is a mission critical application. Before any voice connection can be established, any data service accessed, or any message sent, internal systems need to authenticate a subscriber and their device to authorize their request. For a communications network, SDM is the life-giving oxygen – services simply cannot be offered without authenticating the subscriber. Openwave Mobility vUDR SDM solution has been validated within Mirantis OpenStack environment and deploying it as the first NFV application helps operators maximize the Agility benefit promised by NFV.

Openwave Mobility vUDR is validated with Mirantis Openstack

Openwave Mobility vUDR is the industry’s first NFV-enabled Subscriber Data Management solution, and has been deployed by several tier one operators globally to manage subscriber profile data across voice and data networks.

Openwave Mobility’s cloud-based vUDR goes above and beyond traditional UDR systems.  Built-in federation and replication means that network applications can read and write data from any data center or data silo, and while the NFV infrastructure is typically built using commodity servers that provide 99.9% availability at best, by using proprietary software processes, Openwave Mobility’s vUDR is able to deliver 99.999% (five-nines) availability on commodity virtual machines.  vUDR is nevertheless lightweight and agile, and it has enabled our customers to on-board new applications in just two weeks, compared to the average subscriber data provisioning integration that can take nine months.

Openwave Mobility’s vUDR, has been validated within the Mirantis OpenStack environment. It provides the crucial SDM element for NFV clouds so that operators who deploy it can truly realize the agility that NFV promises.

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