Don’t Forget One Critical Piece When Modernizing Service Providers’ NFV and SDN Architecture
We all know service providers must balance costs while delivering the fast connections and always-on access to websites and apps that consumers expect from their mobile devices. Managing such huge volumes of data and being able to provide new, competitive services and roll them out quickly – while remaining profitable – is requiring service providers to make significant changes to their infrastructure.
Today’s requirements bring in a whole new paradigm and it’s only going to become more challenging. As consulting firm Deloitte projects into the future: “Different platforms and networks adapted and optimized for different uses (content delivery, real time video gaming or smart second plane sensor metering), ultra-high density of connected devices and sensors and a new complex network orchestration… will be necessary in a multi-connected world.”
To meet these new demands, most large telecoms are in the process of transitioning from traditional, static hardware-based networks to a more responsive cloud-based infrastructure, leveraging network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) as key technologies to enable better service agility and elastic scalability. NFV and SDN also help simplify network operations, which span a complex hybrid of physical and virtual networks, all with their own, siloed user interfaces.
A new approach to IP address management (IPAM) in a virtualized environment
While the transition to NFV and SDN provides a great deal of flexibility, it also requires a major operations overhaul and heavy reliance on automation to enable service providers to benefit from operational efficiencies. The days of manual processes or custom scripts cannot keep up.
One key, yet often overlooked, area for automation is IP addressing and domain name system (DNS) provisioning. Even in legacy physical networks, identifying a source of truth for IP address assignments using authoritative DNS and IP address management has been challenging.
Now with virtualized environments where virtual machines (VMs) are quickly provisioned and spun up and down in seconds or milliseconds and IP addresses dynamically assigned and reassigned, automation becomes critical. It is imperative for service providers to tightly integrate IP address assignment with the creation of DNS records as new VMs are deployed. Then, when demand lessens and VMs are deleted, automation is also needed to clean up DNS records and free up IP addresses on the fly.
Benefits of DNS and IP address automation
To help meet these new requirements, the Infoblox Virtual Secure DNS Solution is an essential component of service providers’ virtualized networks as they transition to NFV and SDN. The Infoblox GridTM manages a geographically dispersed, virtualized or hybrid NFV system as one system. Service providers benefit from:
- Service agility: Rapid and accurate DNS and IP address provisioning enables service providers to launch new or modify existing services quickly in response to dynamic market demands.
- Rapid provisioning: Managing the full lifecycle of an object’s IP address, DNS record, and host name – for example, by integrating Infoblox’s solution with the orchestrator using RESTful API or the Infoblox Cloud Adapters (OpenStack, Microsoft, and VMware) – allows real-time assignment of IP addresses and real-time setup of DNS.
- Centralized visibility and control: DNS data, including software updates, configuration changes, and threat feeds are replicated throughout the system in real time where necessary. A single view of legacy DNS systems and DNS services running in the network reduces administrative time, eliminates the risk of errors, and allows for faster identification of threats, overload conditions, or other traffic anomalies that need to be addressed.
The race to transform the telecommunications sector is on. Technology Business Research, Inc. forecasts the NFV and SDN market will grow at a 116% CAGR through 2021 to nearly $158 billion. This growth is driven by early adopters – mainly large service providers – banking on significant future competitive advantage. We are in the thick of it, currently working with several large service providers that are rolling out a wide-scale transition to NFV and SDN. For more information about Infoblox solutions for service providers, visit our website.