back to article Telco heavyweights pass packets in NFV demo

NTT, NEC, Hitachi, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, and ALAXALA have put together a key test of interoperability in the network function virtualisation (NFV) world. They've shown that the NFV concept of “service chaining” – putting together virtualised services by directing traffic through the addresses of services rather than (say) …

  1. Christian Berger

    Amazing how much money they spend...

    ...into things we all just bypass by using a VPN tunnel so we won't get any "Supercookies".

    Dear telcos. We don't want you messing around with your packets, just like we don't want our mail companies messing around with our letters. We are paying you to keep network utilisation (under normal circumstances) below 50%. If you do that, even traffic shaping becomes irrelevant.

  2. Harry Kiri

    Bit complicated

    I like the idea of commodity hardware underpinning your infrastructure (both server and network) but mixing the network chain up with the functionality looks really complex to get right and maintain in anything other than a toy demonstration.

    It seems a bit: "NFV rediscovers why functional programming is difficult to maintain".

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    What goes around...

    I remember a very long time ago that tag- and flow-based routing were considered the work of the devil because they added overhead to data packets and. more importantly, because networks were supposed to be dumb and stateless (the big fear was that if networks could retain state, they might want to charge you for the amount of traffic you sent, or to provide a better quality of service). And besides, it was all too ATM-like and popular with PTTs and consequently the opposite of the Internet.

    Whatever next - perhaps the IETF will finally come to love carrier-grade NAT?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Collective yawn

    NFV is a lovely idea. And it works, at least when the vendors set it up. It also misses the point entirely. Telcos think the only thing stopping them from being as agile as the big 'net companies is the latter's ability to run workloads on virtual iron. "Give me some of that virtual lovin'", they say, "and we'll be able to set up services and chain them together in a jiffy."

    However, the problem is cultural, not technical. Go and talk to the mid-level managers in a telco and see if you can get anything done in under a year. The CIO/CTO speaks the move-fast-and-break-things talk, but the mid-managers see nothing but pain and suffering: they are hastening their own demise, they don't want to break things (they are a strictly regulated business, and outages are anathema) and the technology is too immature to bet the farm on.

  5. Suricou Raven

    I can see some applications for this, and I'm not sure I like them.

    This would make it much easier to offer services on a per-customer basis: You can just tag traffic at the customer's modem or using a simple one-off IP address lookup when it enters your network, and then easily shunt it around through whatever optional extras they have asked/paid for.

    It'll be especially handy for those new porn filters the government has been firmly nudging towards - you can use tags to send only the traffic for the filtered customers through the proxy, rather than having to use some hideously ugly load-balancer mess to try to keep up with the flows using only the IP address. That makes it more affordable to offer fine-grained control.

    Or you could use it to supply some 'value added' services, like transparent HTTP-inspecting antivirus.

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