The idea of carrier grade virtualization is nothing new. Originating in 2006, the prime focus was on carrier-grade Linux. However, this was actually the foundation of what would become today’s carrier grade virtualization.
NEBS is the most common set of safety and environmental design guidelines applied to telecommunications equipment in the United States. It is an industry requirement.
The industry is seeing an increased shift to packet-based services such as voice over IP and high-definition video, pushing carrier grade virtualization into the limelight.
The newest editions of the platforms now have more processing cores, memory, and I/O than ever before, Jeff Hudgins (News - Alert), vice president of product management, at NEI Inc. stated. Because of these added features, equipment managers will now be able to see reduced energy infrastructure costs, improved time to market, and better energy efficiency, Hudgins added.
Currently, service providers rely heavily on carrier-grade systems in order to offer high availability for communications equipment in their networks. To continue to fulfill the demands of the network, as well as capitalize on the full benefits of carrier-grade virtualization, the OEM’s virtualization software must meet three important needs.
A crucial need is performance. The software must maintain low overhead, while continuing to operate in real time. Availability is critical, as well. Fault isolation and high availability management must be present to support watchdog, error handling and notifications, Hudgins stated. The third important factor pertinent to this system is serviceability. Monitoring of virtual machines must have an option to offer advanced warning of potential VM failure events.
Elastic provisioning integrated with virtual machines will enable the service provider to quickly note improved energy performance during low usage times.
According to Austin Hipes, director of field engineering at NEI, “through intelligent use of carrier-grade virtualization solutions and elastic provisioning techniques, OEMs are creating highly scalable platforms and eliminate unnecessary over provisioning of resources for peak usages. Current advances in multi-core processors, packet processors, and high throughput Ethernet silicon make it possible to consolidate what previously required multiple specialized carrier-grade server platforms into a single private cloud.”
Looking forward for 2011, there will be a growth in the amount of cores available to software developers. “The combination of elastic provisioning with highly available virtualization software will further enable OEMs to develop carrier-grade virtualization platforms with the level of performance, availability, and serviceability needed for next-generation carrier networks,” Hudgins commented.
Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jamie Epstein