VMware takes on mobile networks with vCloud for NFV

The virtualized network functions in its platform can come from many vendors

VMware has jumped into the hot NFV market with a platform that lets service providers run their network functions as virtualized applications from different vendors.

The company launched VMware vCloud for NFV on Monday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where telecommunications and IT vendors and their carrier customers are all promoting NFV (network functions virtualization) as the future of mobile networks.

NFV takes back-end functions involved in managing services and subscribers out of dedicated appliances and turns them into virtualized applications that can run on generic hardware. This makes carriers faster and leaner, allowing them to roll out new services more quickly and be more flexible in how they run their networks. It's also designed to help support the new demands that come with the Internet of Things.

VMware is getting into this market on the heels of both longtime telecom suppliers like Ericsson and enterprise players like Hewlett-Packard that also build platforms for carriers. The virtualization giant has already shaken up networking with its NSX network virtualization product, part of the trend toward SDN (software-defined networking). SDN puts the smarts for traffic-handling gear like switches and routers into software, while NFV does the same for functions that run on top of networks.

VMware vCloud for NFV incorporates NSX, along with the vSphere virtualization system, Virtual SAN for handling storage and VMware vRealize Operations, a cloud management product. It also includes VMware Integrated OpenStack. But the virtualized network functions that carriers will run on the platform can come from other vendors. It supports more than 40 virtualized functions from more than 30 vendors.

VMware claims vCloud for NFV is the first product that runs VNFs from different vendors on the same unified platform for the cloud. It's scheduled to be available this quarter.

AT&T is already adopting NFV in a quest to cut costs and deploy new services and capacity more quickly. It plans to virtualize five percent of its network functions this year and reap benefits from the project by the end of the year in its connected-car and MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) businesses, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President John Donovan said Monday at the show.

By 2020, the carrier plans to virtualize 75 percent of its network functions. One major initiative is virtualizing all its VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) services under one platform. That includes VoLTE, mobile HD voice and wireline VoIP services. Taking that step will boost the efficiency of operations and improve voice quality, Donovan said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MWCvirtualizationtelecommunicationCarriersmobilecloud computinginternetVMware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?