Brocade readies Vyatta vRouter for NFV with OpenDaylight integration

Brocade boosted the Vyatta vRouter's NFV readiness with OpenDaylight integration and validation from service provider Telefonica, so that Vyatta can achieve 80Gbps performance on a standard server.

Brocade boosted the applicability of its Vyatta vRouter in network functions virtualization environments with validation of 80 Gbps performance and integration with OpenDaylight.

Service provider Telefonica jointly announced with Brocade that it achieved 80 Gbps performance from a single instance of the Vyatta 5600 virtual router (vRouter) running on a commercial off-the-shelf server. The provider achieved the results within two hours of installing the software on a server running in its network functions virtualization (NFV) Reference Lab.

"By raising the performance threshold to 80 Gb, you are really covering most of the applications that are associated with data center access and edge routing," said Tom Nolle, president and chief analyst for CIMI Corp. "You can now look at a virtual router strategy that is pretty good at both edges of the network."

This level of performance can allow service providers to use NFV to replace customer-premises equipment with cloud-based services and standard servers, said Andrew Coward, Brocade's vice president for service provider strategy.

"The performance paradigm is critical, because if I can generate 80 Gb of traffic out of an Intel server, the cost points per service come way down and the price per gigabit for providing these services drops dramatically. Instead of having two or three boxes [sitting at customer sites] to do functions … like firewall and NAT, you've now got a service that's sitting in the cloud," Coward said. "It represents a huge reduction in operational costs because you don't have to deal with truck-rolls. You have simpler equipment, so there is less to get wrong. There is also an uptick to revenue because you can turn on more services beyond what is offered in customer-premises equipment."

Brocade has integrated the Vyatta vRouter with the open source SDN software stack OpenDaylight. Brocade achieved the integration through the YANG data model and the NETCONF protocol. Brocade revealed in June that it would use integration with open source platforms like OpenDaylight and OpenStack to boost the applicability of the Vyatta vRouter in NFV deployments.

The OpenDaylight integration will help automate the configuration of NFV services with the Vyatta vRouter. "The YANG/NETCONF model is increasingly popular for delivering configuration and allowing the abstraction of that through things like OpenDaylight," Coward said.

Using YANG and NETCONF to automate the instantiation of NFV services also allows a service provider to migrate gradually toward NFV and a virtualized network, CIMI's Nolle said. YANG and NETCONF can model and configure both legacy network gear and more SDN-friendly equipment and software. Even providers that are committed to NFV won't be ripping out hundreds of physical routers immediately. Instead, they will start by supplementing physical routers with virtual ones. Then, as the physical routers reach end of life, the carriers will replace them with more virtual routers, he said.

"That means [the service provider] needs to have some way of modeling how the connections and parameterizations are going to be handled not only for the new SDN environment, but also the legacy environment. YANG and NETCONF can be used to control those legacy devices. It's a transitional strategy."

Brocade added several other enhancements to the Vyatta vRouter, including support for Layer 3 MPLS and Layer 2 tunneling Protocol Version 3, and enhancements to its high-availability features to support IPv6.

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