Kontron’s story at Mobile World Congress was about enabling a truly open services environment on NFV infrastructure to give operators an infrastructure layer that is able to support functions and services from any vendor, and that has no element of hardware or software lock-in.
Peter Matz, Kontron’s Head of Marketing, gives us the context of the compamy’s Open Source mission, in which it has developed a hardware infrastructure platform fully integrated, supported and managed in line with OpenStack life cycle releases
“Kontron has developed on a full OpenStack platform using Ubuntu at Canonical,” he says.
“What was needed was to be able to put any type of software on our hardware. We are reaching out to VNF vendors and validating their VNFs on our hardware as an ISV ecosystem.”
So the first stage was to build a hardware platform that was truly Open Source, and could offer the full benefits of Open Source technology - principally the ability to embrace the lifecyle of Open Source, accept new releases every six months, and avoid vendor lock-in.
Eric Sarault, Software Product Manager, Kontron, outlines what Kontron launched at Mobile World Congress with Canonical Ubuntu. “The key thing about it is there is no proprietary enhancement made to it. It is truly open so you are not stuck in a lock-in strategy with the platform.”
Sarault says, “We are building an ecosystem that is not exclusive. We want to make sure we play nice with everyone.” He also points out that operators can recycle their existing footprint of servers - leveraging the OpenStack capabilities on top of this new platform.
The open platform means that there is a possibility for operators to create a migration path to virtually attached services, without even needing SDN-NFV.
Luc Yves Pagal Vinette, VP Global Business Development, explains.
As an example, partners F5, Brocade and Fortinet are delivering a virtual router, firewall and load balancer upon Kontron’s open platform. “We have a portfolio of products that are helping operators distribute the load on different places”
Kontron's verification of VNFs upon its platform is not an effort it is undertaking alone. OPNFV member CENGN is using the MS2910 SymKloud with Ubuntu package to enable service providers to test VNFs in its OP-NFV Pharos Lab.
“Service providers can trust this is a fully open platform with no hardware lock in. Our next step is to truly open this lab to enable anyone to go and test their own VNF and run all the OP-NFV funcational tests to make sure the platform stays open.”
For more on how to build an open services environment - click though to the next section “How to achieve an open infrastructure and services environment”.
What should we understand Open to actually mean?
Open Source must truly mean Open. There cannot be proprietary tweaks or forks that limit the upgrade path. Any iteration must by definition support continuous integration so that operators have confidence in this Open Source environment. This is one reason why Kontron commits to Canonical Ubuntu - we wanted to bring to market the first turnkey Open Source solutions that are not limited by the implementation choices of the OpenStack distribution provider, so that our customers can rest assured that they can upgrade the platform.
Open must also mean that NFV infrastructure (NFVi) can support stackable Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) from any vendor. We foster an environment where any vendor can integrate software on top of the Virtual Machine (VM) and hardware. We are not building a pre-defined ecosystem tied to the platform that cannot grow.
How important is the underlying hardware to supporting telco NFV use cases?
It’s a software world but hardware is important. A telco cloud platform must be able to support the high volume functions that we find in the telecoms space, such as core networking, with extreme availability and reliability.
Therefore our SymKloud platform supports something that we define as an Open Services Platform — a set of multiple service cards on the same device, each maintaining a set of resources separate from one to another. They can work together but they can also be separated, increasing scalability to support core functions. By using OpenStack we can tap into the elasticity of virtualisation whilst bringing the hardware scalability that is needed by telecom actors for networking functions.
What will be the early drivers of Open Source adoption in the network?
A lot of the intitial virtualised workloads in the carrier space will be for vCPE, as this is the area where carriers have identified fertile commercial managed services opportunities. We see the potential for a whitebox product in this space that provides a scaleable approach to balance the cost of supporting vCPE with support for open VNFs, in order to mitigate the cost of investment for vCPE while maintaining scalability and elasticity on the datacentre.
We will have a demo of this at Mobile World Congress.
An additional opportunity we see is to enhance our native support for media and content distribution and transcoding, leveraging our OpenStack NFVi to leverage virtualised GPUs, bringing new value for media companies and telcos tapping media services delivery.
There’s discussion about how NFV infrastructure and VNFs will be managed and orchestrated. What is the role of Open Source currently?
We are still waiting to see true consensus form around Open Source based MANO initiatives such as ETSI Open Source MANO. Platform developers must be able to support generic NFVi MANO plus be able to extend out to more collaborative SDN-NFV MANO efforts. Anything in this area, including carrier- led programmes, needs consensus. In future releases we could work with OpenStack Tacker to support a generic VNF Manager (VNFM) and NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) for our NFVi OpenStack#platform. We can also actively collaborate to support other vendors’ SDN/NFV orchestration service layer.
How is Kontron supporting operators deploy Open NFVi and VNFs?
Kontron now provides a ready-to-buy platform, pre-configured together with OpenStack, that is truly Open Source, offering full support to new releases and features of OpenStack. It’s not up to us to tell operators or integrators which VNFs you can deploy, or that you can only cascade certain VNFs together.
We have made no behind the curtain deals and the Symkloud MS29xx Series are totally open platforms, with true hardware-software separation.
We remain committed to supporting this open approach. OPNFV member CENGN has our MS2910 SymKloud with Ubuntu package in interoperability testing. Additionally, our relationship with strategic investor Ennoconn gives us the opportunity to complement SymKloud platforms with an extended range of products such as top-of-rack switches and storage servers
Where can we find you at MWC this year?
Find us in Hall5 – Stand 5H41 – on the center aisle.
Press, news and coverage
Our announcements and how the media saw us at MWC16
Kontron has announced commercially available SYMKLOUD OpenStack Platform. In collaboration with Canonical, Kontron exercised a complete validation of Ubuntu OpenStack on SYMKLOUD hardware, and will fully support and manage the platform’s life cycle in alignment with each new open source software release, starting with Mitaka.
Kontron revealed today its centerpiece reference solution of virtualised business services that includes Fortinet’s FortiGate-VM next-generation virtual firewall appliances for complete enterprise network security.
Kontron announced the introduction of its Kontron SYMKLOUD customer premise equipment (vCPE) platforms for virtualised services. Ranging in size, functionalities, and architectures, these new devices will give communication service provider the means to deploy best-of-breed cloud-to-edge virtualised managed solutions across their network functions virtualisation infrastructure.
At MWC 2017 Kontron will showcase the practical options available to communication service providers to make the short-, mid-, and long-term transition to “open services” using network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure and software defined networking (SDN).
Kontron at Mobile World Congress 2017
Kontron designs network infrastructure platforms that underpin the world’s communications networks.
The company’s current focus is on enabling CSPs to move to truly open Cloud-NFV/SDN infrastructures, based on its OpenStack-based platforms that enable true NFV hardware-software separation.
While the picture for NFVi and SDN is getting clearer for some operators, it still remains an intricate venture for others. Mobile World Congress 2017 will be an ideal opportunity to learn how in many use cases the transition from legacy- to virtual-built services can deliver yearly operational cost savings of up to 60% and rack-level space savings of up to 77%.
At MWC Kontron will demonstrate the cost and performance advantages of de-coupling hardware and software for service providers to achieve two key business objectives: regain control of their operational costs; and, be considerably more agile to sell new enterprise and consumer services.
What you will see from Kontron during MWC:
- New developments in building the foundation for NFV infrastructure
- OPNFV Pharos Lab community participation in partnership with partner CENGN
- Expansion of the Kontron catalogue of ISV partners and their pre-validated VNFs/Services
- Enhanced “From-Top-to-Bottom” portfolio of rack level, cost-sensitive products derived from strategic partnership with ENNOCONN [FOXCONN].
- Hands-on vCPE use case involving multiple 3rd party VNF vendors