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Cloudify Launches Open vCPE Virtual Network Functions Framework

Cloudify introduces Open vCPE solution for managing, configuring, and deploying virtual network functions.

Cloudify introduces Open vCPE solution

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Cloudify announced the launch of a new open virtual customer premises equipment (vCPE) to provide organizations and vendors with a framework to build custom vCPE to configure and on-board new virtual network functions (VNFs) quickly and at a low cost.

The configuration framework, simplified VNF on-boarding, open, and multi-tenant service portal allows organizations to configure and deploy custom built network service chains.

Traditional methods of building vCPE solutions can take as long as a month to complete, but the open source framework allows organizations to build and deploy a custom vCPE in days, delivered through a TOSCA-based, orchestration-first platform.

vCPE is a solution that lets organizations provide network infrastructure services such as security, virtual private networks (VPNs), and routing using software in the place of traditional dedicated hardware devices. Virtualizing CPE allows organizations to deploy network services quickly because they are not bound to hardware restrictions.

IT administrators can remotely manage and configure devices and services, which lets them adjust on demand, severely decreasing the amount of time it takes to scale.

VNFs apply the same concept as vCPE and is one of the key structural features of vCPE. VNFs virtualize network node functions and chain them together to simplify them. Both vCPE and VNF are part of software defined networking (SDN).

The framework optimizes the existing physical IT infrastructure environment by moving the configuration process into an automated self-service model. IT administrators gradually plug in new VNFs and virtual cloud infrastructure. This helps organizations avoid changing the entire infrastructure environment before moving to automation.

Cloudify uses an orchestration-first approach, meaning it optimizes by providing self-service and central control planning for managing existing CPE services first. It also optimizes the existing infrastructure before plugging in new VNFs and cloud infrastructure to lower initial deployment costs.

“The solution is based on an actual carrier deployment in which it delivers a custom vCPE/software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution,” Cloudify said in a statement. “It integrates with the carrier’s existing CPE stack as well as OSS and BSS systems.”

The tool includes cloud native service chaining, which uses a Model Driven Microservices approach to model network. Network services are modeled and provisioned independently and the service chaining between those services is deployed as an overlay service. The overlay service stitches together the input and output from each service.

Open vCPE also includes the Simple VNF OnBording toolkit, which provides a guided wizard tool for automating the provisioning of new VNFs. The wizard creates a TOSCA template so users don’t need to have an advanced TOSCA background to automate VNF on-boarding.

TOSCA is an open source data model standard used to arrange and direct VNFs.

Cloudify also announced its sponsorship of the ONAP project. The ONAP project collaborates with other sponsors across the industry to address challenges organizations face with broad VNF adoption and their attempts to produce unifying standards.

SD-WAN is growing in the healthcare industry as organizations begin to experience the restrictions of infrastructure hardware. Virtualization solutions eliminate the need for much of that hardware, which significantly cuts back on IT infrastructure spending.

Physical servers are expensive to maintain and take up valued space within a healthcare organization. Organizations face higher utility bills in an effort to keep servers cool and functioning at capacity. Employing IT administrators to manage and monitor servers is also an expense that encourages organizations to move to cloud managed services.

Physical hardware is also notoriously difficult to scale. Organizations looking to scale up to meet high infrastructure demands are faced with purchasing expensive hardware to accommodate more data and more network traffic. 

Virtualization compresses and consolidates many parts of IT infrastructure simplifying management processes and giving organizations more visibility and control over their IT environment.