1) The virtualisation of network functions (NFV) - such as session border controllers, IMS core components and firewalls - will demand the evolution of hypervisor technologies and the development of management and orchestration techniques to meet the demands of a carrier and these real-time network elements
2) Carrier SDN enables software control of elements - such as optical switches, MPLS switches and routers (legacy or otherwise) - that can't be effectively virtualised. As multi-vendor interoperability depends on ratified standards, IETF working groups, such as PCE and ForCES, are prioritising protocol extensions and architecture documents that are related to both Carrier SDN and NFV.
How does Metaswitch Networks then help its customers address these challenges/issues?
Quite frankly, Metaswitch is being proactive on NFV and Carrier SDN while others are, at best, simply reacting.
1) We have the only session border controller architected for NFV.
2) We are the primary contributor of source code for Project Clearwater, an open source software initiative focused on delivering IMS core components and telephony application servers (TAS) in the cloud.
3) We are one of the first vendors to have demonstrated multi-vendor Carrier SDN interoperability, with our Active PCE SDN Controller establishing traffic engineered paths across Netronome MPLS switches.
Has any Asian telcos implemented SDN so far?
Naturally, it is early days for both NFV and Carrier SDN. However, Metaswitch is actively engaged with operators in the region which are interested in running SBCs on bare metal servers, a stepping stone to NFV. Furthermore, our longstanding relationships with regional vendors implementing our Path Computational Element (PCE) technology as part of their transmission offerings is a good indication that the regional telcos will be early adopters of Carrier SDN.
Will SDN become the new standard for network infrastructure?
Yes indeed. Members of the telco community have publicly stated that NFV represents how many elements will be deployed in the future, while it has been generally recognised for many years that the separated control and forwarding plane characteristics embodied by Carrier SDN delivers the scalability and flexibility required of next generation transport infrastructure.
Security has always been one of the leading challenges, more so with recent cyber attacks and hacking incidents. Could SDN help improve network security? If yes, how so?
NFV reduces the price while increasing the performance of application layer gateways (ALGs) like session border controllers and deep packet inspection (DPI) devices like firewalls and in-line intrusion detection systems (IDS), making them more readily accessible and cost effective to deploy broadly across an entire network infrastructure.
Carrier SDN has little impact on the security of the layer 1 through 3 transport infrastructure, which is rarely subject to attack.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.