RAD takes NFV to the edge

17 Jun 2014

RAD Data Communications is bringing NFV to the edge – literally – with its new customer-edge Distributed NFV solution.

Making its public debut at CommunicAsia2014 today, RAD’s D-NFV product is based on its ETX Layer 2/3 network termination unit (NTU). The new NTU, which is now available commercially, is kitted with a D-NFV x86 server module that functions as a virtualization engine at the customer edge.

The idea behind D-NFV is simple enough: network operators need the ability to host virtual network functions (VNFs) anywhere they deem necessary.

“When people talk about NFV, they usually talk about it in terms of implementing the VNFs in data centers,” said Lior Mishan, RAD’s head of product marketing and marcom. “What we’re saying with D-NFV is that NFV is not just for data centers. Service providers should be able to provide functionality wherever it’s needed and wherever it’s most cost-efficient – data centers, nodes or even the CPE.”

Apart from the cost efficiencies involved, operators also need certain types of functionality at the edge to support things like end-to-end encryption, for example, Mishan told the ShowDaily. “It’s also a question of performance – some apps run better at the edge, such as end-to-end QoS.”

RAD’s own proposition is a NID capable of supporting VNFs and virtual value-added services. Use case examples include virtual apps like firewalls, and a diagnostic tool to analyze network behavior, performance apps at the edge.

D-NFV can also serve as a stepping stone to full NFV deployment, Mishan added. “If you take a centerless NFV approach, you can minimize your upfront investment and risk, deploy your VNFs at the edge to enable new services quickly, then invest in further deployment as revenues come in.”

Earlier this year, RAD participated in a multivendor proof-of-concept demo of D-NFV with CenturyLink, Cyan, Fortinet and Certes.

Meanwhile, RAD also announced the formation of the RAD D-NFV Alliance, an apps ecosystem of network functions and value-added capabilities. RAD says the alliance is open to all vendors, but RAD will pre-test and certify each app for optimum quality and performance. The ecosystem comprises multiple virtualized application categories, such as security, networking and testing tools.


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