Orchestration’s NFV Role: Is it the “Brain” or “Nervous System”?
The following blog post is by Dr. Sameh Yamany, Vice President and CTO, Viavi Solutions
Not long ago I participated in a round table webinar discussion on the concept of required orchestration in the management of virtualized networks due to NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), and how it demands the use and adaptation of many of the capabilities developed in the cloud-computing arena.
Participating in this informative exchange were major global service providers, industry analyst, leading trade publication and others helping to report on, define and architect this important trend in our industry.
During the discussion, we all agreed that the benefits to CSPs (Communication Service Provider) from a pure NFV environment will not be realized for at least 5-years; however, many intermediate solutions will happen much sooner. Those include automated provision of compute and storage, automation of the network provision, and service chaining in the data centers. This change will force radically different requirements to the management of traditional CSP networks, especially if it will be in the state of “hybrid” virtualization for a longer time.
Dr. Sameh Yamany, Viavi Solutions: “I questioned the concept of referring to ‘Orchestration’ as being the ‘Brain’. .. orchestration, as important as it is, functions more like the ‘Nervous System’ of NFV . . .”
We also agreed on the importance of orchestration, and that to be effective, the orchestration systems will require appropriate data and analytics to make and verify key configuration decisions. Although we had a cordial but lively debate on the challenges of defining what “appropriate” means, the dynamic and elastic scaling of services, and how it impacts the CSP’s IT departments, it seems all my colleagues agreed that they see “Orchestration” becoming the “Brain” of the pure NFV environment.
I questioned the concept of referring to “Orchestration” as being the “Brain”. In my opinion, orchestration, as important as it is, functions more like the “Nervous System” of NFV and not the brain.
The analogy fits, think about it: the nervous system in our body is responsible for making sure that the right signals go to the right organs in real-time to interact with emergency situations quickly (like your fingers grasping for fire). The nervous system does not compute that there is a danger or that the body will suffer, it just sends the stimulus to the brain and the brain computes and commands actions to be taken and transmitted by the nervous system.
Sameh: “…we concluded that data analytics is actually an integral part of the NFV ‘Brain’…”
At the end of the round table, we concluded that data analytics is actually an integral part of the NFV “Brain” and not the orchestration. The collaboration and debate with our colleagues in this industry on such an important technical trend as NFV will indeed be a continuing dialogue with great ideas from all across our industry to help support the future of communications.