VMware is targeting the nascent market for virtualisation of network functions (NFV) with a new platform, vCloud For NFV, which combines its suite of virtualisation tools with OpenStack compatibility, aimed at telecoms firms.
Announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, vCloud for NFV is intended to provide communication service providers (CSPs) with a production-ready platform for implementing key network services as virtual appliances. This should enable them to achieve faster time to market for new services while driving cost reductions.
The new suite utilises VMware's vSphere, NSX and Virtual SAN (VSAN) tools for virtualisation of compute, networking and storage resources, respectively. These are combined with VMware vRealize Operations, an updated version of the formerly vCenter Operations Manager, which will deliver purpose-built management packs to meet the unique requirements of CSPs, VMware said.
The final piece of the puzzle is full OpenStack compatibility through VMware Integrated OpenStack, VMware's build of the OpenStack framework that is designed to integrate with vSphere and VMware's other infrastructure components.
VMware announced VMware Integrated OpenStack last year, acknowledging at the time that the OpenStack application programming interfaces (APIs) are becoming the preferred way for developers to access data centre infrastructure. This is even more true in the telecoms market, which tends to favour open-source technologies.
The firm must thus be hoping that the combination of OpenStack compatibility and its production-proven platform will draw interest from telecoms firms. In fact, it appears that the firm already has a taker, in the shape of Vodafone.
"VMware was the solution for NFV that is ready for production across the different workloads we care about. As a result, we have been able to accelerate our time to market for new capabilities," Kevin Salvadori, Vodafone's director of Group Technology Strategy and Operations, said in a statement.
VMware claims to already have support for more than 40 different virtual network functions from more than 30 vendors. This makes VMware vCloud for NFV the only platform available today that runs different VNFs from different vendors side by side on the same unified platform, the firm said.
The vCloud for NFV platform is available today, with the VMware Integrated OpenStack part of the equation said to be coming some time before the end of the first quarter of 2015.
"Today, CSPs can deploy virtual network functions on VMware vCloud APIs, building valuable production cloud DNA into their operations and support teams," said Shekar Ayyar, VMware's recently appointed corporate senior vice president who heads up its Telco NFV Group.
According to VMware, vCloud for NFV is designed to enable carriers to go live into production today, while maintaining compatibility with OpenStack and other advanced cloud technologies such as containers in the future.
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