How Infoblox Supports Network Functions Virtualization Management and Organization for Telecom
Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is high on the list of most telecom operators and ISPs today, as the telecommunications industry transitions from traditional hardware-based networks a more responsive cloud-based infrastructure and software-defined networking. This is a critical shift, as telecom operators are challenged to meet high and increasing customer demand for huge volumes of data, and to develop new, competitive services that can be rolled out quickly and cost-effectively.
Because NFV MANO is relatively new worldwide standard and very extensive, I thought it would be helpful to provide an overview of it here and highlight how Infoblox supports the MANO framework. Infoblox is an industry leader in providing integration with NFV MANO. Infoblox appliances deliver NFV for DNS, DHCP, and IPAM. The flexible management interfaces of the Infoblox appliances allow for seamless integration in the MANO framework. For more questions or information about NFV MANO, please contact us, we are happy to discuss it further with you.
Quick Recap: NFV MANO
NFV makes IT operations and lifecycle management easier. It enables networks that are more agile and scalable and can help simplify network operations, which now span a complex and siloed hybrid of physical and virtual networks. NFV MANO is the ETSI-defined framework for the management and orchestration of all resources in the cloud data center. The framework is produced by the working group of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute Industry Specification Group (ETSI ISG NFV). The framework is generally referred to as NFV MANO, and is used as a reference for telecom operators and ISPs around the world.
This blog describes how Infoblox fits in the ETSI NFV MANO reference model, and will specifically review:
- Different functional blocks of the NFV MANO framework
- Functional components for service delivery
- Functional components for management and orchestration
- Two ways Infoblox fits the NFV MANO framework; i.e., for virtual network function (VNF) service delivery plus management, and for overall cloud automation
Functional Blocks of the NFV MANO
NFV MANO combines traditional management (FCAPS) with lifecycle management (LCM). To review, FCAPS stands for:
- Fault Management
- Configuration Management
- Accounting Management
- Performance Management
- Security Management
And, lifecycle management refers to the orchestration of:
- Instantiate Virtual Network Function (VNF): Create a VNF using the VNF on-boarding artifacts
- Scale VNF: Increase or reduce the capacity of the VNF
- Update and/or upgrade VNF: Support VNF software and/or configuration changes of various complexity
- Terminate VNF: Release VNF-associated Network Function Virtualisation Infrastructure (NFVI) resources and return it to NFVI resource pool
To understand the overall framework structure, see Figure 1 below, which differentiates the functional blocks within NFV MANO that are used for service delivery versus management and orchestration.
Figure 1 ETSI MANO Model
The red area is used for service delivery. The blue area is used for management and orchestration.
Functional Components for Service Delivery
Within the red block we see the VNF and the NFVI block:
- VNF/Virtual Network Function: An implementation of an NF that can be deployed on a network function virtualization infrastructure (NFVI)
- NFVI-NFV Infrastructure: Totality of all hardware and software components, which build up the environment in which VNFs are deployed. Important to note: the NFV infrastructure can span across several locations. The network providing connectivity between these locations is understood to be part of the NFV infrastructure.
Functional Components for Management and Orchestration
Within the blue area, we see the area within the dotted line and the OSS/BSS + EM blocks to the left. The OSS/BSS (Operations Support System/Business Support System) and EM (Element Management) blocks are also common in the hardware world. All blocks in the dotted area to the right are specific to NFV. Within the dotted area, we find the VNF Manager (VNFM), NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) and VIM functional blocks:
- NFVO-NFV Orchestrator: The NFV orchestrator (NFVO) manages network-wide orchestration and NFV service lifecycle and realizing NFV service topology. It relies on the VNFM and NFVI to implement. A lifecycle event is, for instance, the creation of a new DNS PoP that consists of multiple DNS instances for redundancy. The NFVO instructs the NFVM to realize this new PoP.
- VNFM-VNF Manager: The VNFM performs lifecycle management of VNF instances. The VNF also performs the overall coordination and adaptation role for configuration and event reporting between NFVI and the Element Management System. For the creation of the new PoP, the VNFM does assure, via the VIM, that the resources are available. The VNFM also configures the Element Manager and creates the new DNS appliances for the PoP.
- Virtual Infrastructure Manager (VIM): The VIM performs the lifecycle management of the compute, storage and networking required for service delivery. The VIM keeps a record of the inventory and manages the allocation of virtual resources to physical resources. The VIM organizes virtual links, networks, subnets, ports, compute, storage and hypervisors. For the creation of the new PoP, the VIM allocates all the compute, storage and networking.
Outside the dotted area, we find the Element Manager and the OSS/BSS. The EM is responsible for FCAPS management functionality for a VNF. As stated in the ETSI standard, this includes:
- Configuration for the network functions provided by the VNF
- Fault management for the network functions provided by the VNF
- Accounting for the usage of VNF functions
- Collecting performance measurement results for the functions provided by the VNFSecurity management for the VNF functions
The EM may be aware of virtualization and collaborate with the VNF Manager to perform those functions that require exchanges of information regarding the NFVI resources associated with the VNF.
The OSS/BSS are the combination of the operator's other operations and business support functions that are not otherwise explicitly captured in the present architectural framework but are expected to have information exchanges with functional blocks in the NFV-MANO architectural framework. OSS/BSS functions may provide management and orchestration of legacy systems and may have full end-to-end visibility of services provided by legacy network functions in an operator's network.
Infoblox’s Role in NFV MANO
Infoblox supports the NFV MANO reference model in various ways. First, the VNF and Element Management can be delivered with Infoblox appliances for DNS and DHCP service delivery. Second, overall cloud automation for NVF can be supported with Infoblox IPAM and Infoblox vDiscovery. Let’s look at how:
DNS DHCP VNF Service Delivery and Element Management
Infoblox Grid Master is an Element Manager. Infoblox appliances configured as DNS or DHCP servers are VNFs (see Figure 2).
Figure 2 DNS/DHCP VNF Service Delivery and Element Management
Infoblox Grid Master covers the FCAPS and Update and/or Upgrade VNF. This leaves instantiation, scaling and termination lifecycle management to the NFVM, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 FCAPS and LCM
Lifecycle management can be handled by NFM manager (NFVM) products from Nokia, Ericsson, HP and other vendors. Integration with those products can be accomplished via HEAT Orchestration Templates (HOT) for Openstack based implementations, as well as with VMware. Infoblox is certified for many environments like VMware, Redhat, Huawei FusionSphere, Netcracker, and Docker. This list will be expanded in the near future.
For instantiation and termination of any VNF, the VNFM can benefit from the Infoblox HOT templates published on Github. These templates use the Ve-vnfm-em interface for instantiation, termination or scaling out of VNFs. Further, Infoblox’s virtual appliances can be licensed under the Infoblox FLEX license model.
Infoblox is leading the way in which cloud automation can benefit the NFV infrastructure. This is not only relevant to DNS and DHCP, but also any service deployed as NFV. For example, the IP address lifecycle can be fully governed with Infoblox IPAM. The lifecycle includes IPs allocated by Infoblox IPAM, as well as those IPs that are discovered by the powerful Infoblox vDiscovery engine.
The NFVO can use the Infoblox IPAM plug-in to request an IP address required for VNF deployment. When a VNF is terminated, the NFVO can free up the IP address via the IPAM plug-in.
Also, Infoblox vDiscovery automatically and dynamically discovers virtual machines based on the IP addresses assigned to them. The information can be used for the purposes of asset management, monitoring, and tracking. vDiscovery automatically tracks and correlates relationships between virtual machines and network infrastructure, displaying its findings in a single graphical view, and thereby improving network efficiency.
vDiscovery and the IPAM plugin both interface with the authoritative IPAM database maintained by the Infoblox Grid Manager. Figure 4 below shows the link to the NFV MANO reference model for cloud management with Infoblox vDiscovery and the IPAM plug-in.
Figure 4 Cloud Automation
Your Partner for NFV MANO
As you move towards implementation of NFV MANO, Infoblox can be a strong partner during the design or early deployment phases to support VNF and element management, as well as cloud automation for NFV. Infoblox is designed to fit seamlessly into the NFV MANO framework and to integrate with your existing products. Making the shift to NFV can be complex, but Infoblox can help you make a smooth transition and evolve with future changes in the NFV environment as needed.