The 3 most important features for NFV in Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8

This week, we released Red Hat OpenStack Platform 8, based on OpenStack Liberty. From a network functions virtualization (NFV) perspective, we are introducing three new features as a Technology Preview that will allow service providers and network equipment providers to test 5G, open source fast data path and enhanced virtual networking. We have contributed all these features upstream first so that we are delivering an open source based solution to the market. These features are DPDK accelerated Open vSwitch, Real Time KVM integration, and for the first time, OpenDaylight integration.

DPDK Accelerated Open vSwitch

For the first time, Red Hat OpenStack Platform will provide an accelerated virtual switch, bundled with the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). With this release, we rely on Open vSwitch (OVS) 2.4 and DPDK 2.0. Although Single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) remains the fastest technology, it bypasses the Kernel and virtualization layer exposing the NIC hardware to the virtual network functions (VNFs) directly. OVS+DPDK will now use a standard virtIO interface which abstracts the VNF from the real hardware while providing a huge performance boost compared to non DPDK OVS. This means having the VNF truly hardware independent and fully virtualized, and allowing VM portability. Future releases will add live-migration and further improve performance, closing the gap with SR-IOV as well as offering additional software-defined networking (SDN) features to the DPDK-accelerated OVS, including compatibility with container-based deployments. For more information, check out this blog post on the topic.

Real Time KVM

In our Liberty release, we also have introduced an important feature to enable a C-RAN/V-RAN use case: Real Time kernel-based virtual machine (KVM). The objective of this feature is to deliver a low average latency and minimal jitter, avoiding spikes that might cause a service degradation or even disruption. This feature requires using a hypervisor deployed with Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Real Time, which has a different kernel and KVM modules than the generic compute nodes. This means operators will have to split their nodes using host-aggregate to differentiate hypervisors with regular KVM from the real-time KVM ones. Here’s a good explanation about Real Time KVM.

OpenDaylight Integration

Also for the first time, we are releasing an integration to OpenDaylight. For clarification purposes, our goal is not to participate in the SDN controller market. Our objective is to enhance Neutron with some ODL Services. Our long-term goal is to enable networking services like Service Function Chaining. Another important point is that we are not packaging all OpenDaylight services or components from the latest ODL release. We will just ship the bare minimum components to enhance some aspects of the management of OpenStack Neutron with ML2-OpenVSwitch (with some limitations in terms of functionality), and introduce new features for testing like Service Function Chaining.

These 3 features are in the Tech Preview, which means that this is a new technology offering for our customers and partners in order to test them in a real environment, collect additional requirements and refine them before we move them to general availability, a status that is required for going to production. Here’s more information about Red Hat’s tech previews.


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