This customer is the research and development arm of a major Australian telecommunications company.
They wanted to evaluate options to deploy and manage Virtual Network Functions (VNF) workloads across a Public Cloud platform (Microsoft Azure) and a Private Cloud platform (OpenStack) to determine whether the platform could be adopted within the organisation. The customer wanted to validate the operation of Service Chaining of VNFs deployed across these market-leading Private and Public Cloud platforms.
The customer also wanted to evaluate a new open-source automation platform called ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform). In particular, the customer wanted to assess its ability to integrate with the selected VIM (OpenStack) and to orchestrate VNF workloads using a market-leading product called Cloudify.
The network infrastructure of telecommunications organisations is increasingly virtualised in the same way that enterprise servers have been virtualised. Such virtualised network components are called Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). Once running on virtual resources, it is possible to move these VNFs between Cloud platforms as required by customer needs. For example, a firewall might be deployed onto a Microsoft Azure Cloud to connect Azure resources into a customer’s enterprise network.
As the overall profitability of the telecom market declines, cost control is of vital importance to telecommunications companies and automating the deployment of VNFs onto virtual resources is an important step in reducing operating costs while also improving agility. Overall, automating these services reduces a process that used to take days or weeks to something which takes minutes, and therefore enables customers to build their systems more efficiently.
Our client sought to evaluate the capabilities of Cloudify and the Open Source ONAP network orchestrator to automate the deployment and provisioning of VNFs to customer Clouds.
They had identified the Open Source ONAP network as a potentially strategic product but needed to evaluate at its current state and maturity given that it was relatively new. Cloudify is a relatively mature product and has been working with ONAP project on a number of integrations.
The customer needed to run up an instance of ONAP to make this assessment. Installing ONAP is a challenge because it is not a packaged product with a general-purpose deployment process. ONAP also consumes a significant amount of resources which must be present for the deployment to succeed, even if they are not necessary for the particular use-case.
Overall this configuration required integration between multiple components, some for the first time.
The Aptira Solution
The end deployment was complex since it required integration between different components that weren’t attempted initially. Following are some of the integrations that were completed as part of the evaluation:
- Cloudify as Service Orchestrator integrated with Azure to deploy Clearwater vIMS
- Cloudify as Service Orchestrator integrated with ONAP to deploy F5 vLB VNF respectively
- Deployed ONAP atop Kubernetes and integrated OpenStack (VIM) with ONAP to deploy F5 vLB VNFs
- Adapt existing Clearwater TOSCA blueprint to model and deploy vIMS Telco service on Microsoft Azure using Cloudify
- Model a Service chaining blueprint to enable the SIP traffic to Clearwater vIMS via the F5 load balancer
- Orchestrating connections between the OpenStack and Azure Cloud to route the SIP traffic
Below is a high-level design diagram, detailing the multi-Cloud orchestration and service chaining:
Aptira deployed the Beijing release of ONAP onto an OpenStack Cloud run by the customer. Kubernetes with Helm were used to deploy ONAP and manage the deployment post installation. This ONAP instance was configured with Cloudify to provision Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) onto an OpenStack Cloud, as well as Microsoft Azure.
The VNFs selected for this evaluation included:
- The Open Source Clearwater IP Mulitmedia Subsystem (vIMS), which is used to deliver voice, video and multimedia services to mobile telephony users
- A virtual load balancer from F5
We also demonstrated service chaining between F5 vLB VNF running on OpenStack and Clearwater vIMS running on Azure.
During the validation process, Aptira successfully:
- Deployed and managed an F5 virtual load balancer on OpenStack and the Clearwater vIMS system on Microsoft Azure using Cloudify TOSCA blueprints and ONAP Artifacts
- Registered multiple SIP clients and making calls between SIP clients
- Triggered autoscaling of the virtual service elements to validate the ability of the configuration to handle Closed-loop automation based on increased traffic load
Now that the validation process is complete, the customer is now able to orchestrate and service chain VNF workloads across multiple Clouds.