Lessons Learned: Deploying NFV infrastructure at Verizon

Teams from Verizon, Big Switch and Red Hat recently collaborated on a nine-month, large-scale network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure deployment at Verizon with much success. At this year’s OpenStack Summit, the teams shared their lessons learned, covering everything from building in required capabilities, partner integration, and scale testing to ensure continued serviceability and performance of the multi-hundred node implementation, to the organization mindset necessary to take on an innovative shift like this.

Source: OpenStack Summit

“We have a network that’s tried and true, we have processes and procedures and things we’ve done over the years that have built the most reliable network and we can’t sacrifice that. But we do want to try new things,” Chris Emmons, director of NFV planning at Verizon, told summit attendees during the presentation of the NFV deployment. “You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and take that on.”

To deliver on the vision of NFV infrastructure, Big Switch supported the software defined networking (SDN) component, Red Hat delivered the virtualization component and Verizon internally automated the solution. Throughout the process, the team overcame long-standing challenges and also discovered some new ones, such as “one size does not fit all for all NFV workload connectivity,” Big Switch founder Kyle Forster said during the presentation. Radhesh Balakrishnan, Red Hat’s general manager of OpenStack, talked about lessons learned around IPv6 support, SSL support and high availability being especially important.

With large-scale NFV deployment not yet commonplace, there was much to learn from this project. In fact, according to Radhesh, “the feedback that we got during the project actually helped shape the product,” referring to Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

These lessons are just the tip of the iceberg. The full presentation is online for free viewing, and It’s definitely worth a watch as we move into the relatively uncharted NFV landscape.

What are some of your concerns about deploying NFV? What lessons have you learned? Let us know in the comments section below!

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