One of the things that hinders the rapid expansion of telecommunications services in the age of the cloud is the cost and complexity associated with deploying network infrastructure. At the Mobile World Congress 2014 conference this week, HP unveiled a new framework for providing those services using industry-standard components that promises to dramatically reduce telecommunications costs and complexity.
Jeff Edlund, CTO for HP Communications and Media Solutions, says OpenNFV is a framework under which HP is bringing together a variety of network virtualization technologies that replace proprietary network architectures with networking components that are not only less expensive, but can also be deployed in much less time.
OpenNFV is based on HP OpenNFV Reference Architecture (NFV RA) that provides an architecture for physical servers, storage and networking, virtualization, and controllers for software-defined networking. According to Edlund, what makes OpenNFV fundamentally different is that routers that process packets are being replaced by servers that process flows of networking data. That approach, says Edlund, will make it possible for carriers to more cost-effectively respond to increased demand for telecommunication services, which today takes them a long time to deliver because of the capital infrastructure costs associated with having to deploy traditional routers.
In fact, Edlund says those costs are the root cause of why so many telecommunications providers today are struggling with unsustainable business models at a time when demand for their services has never been greater.
HP is not the only vendor embracing NFV to redefine how telecommunication services should be delivered in the age of the cloud. But in terms of delivering not only technologies but also the partner ecosystem needed to support it, HP has suddenly become a significant force to be reckoned with as routers transform into something that looks a lot more like a traditional server than a piece of specialized network gear based on proprietary ASIC processors.