We have many opportunities to engage our partners and customers at Intel® Network Builders Summits at key industry events, such as the SDN NFV World Congress. The conference in The Hague felt like a reunion, because our partners were everywhere.
The majority of the show’s corporate sponsors and exhibitors were members of the Intel Network Builders ecosystem. Over 200 individuals attended the Intel Network Builders Summit the day before the conference began, a new attendance record for the Intel event even with many competing demands for attention at SDN NFV World Congress. We announced the Winners’ Circle to recognize partners that are developing the next generation of network solutions on Intel technologies. Partners demonstrated solutions on Intel processors, FPGAs, reference architectures and open source software in the Intel booth and partner stands across the show. We joined our partners on panels throughout the event, including the HPE & Intel Super Panel with colleagues from Verizon, Orange Group and British Telecom.
During my keynote highlighting dozens of partner collaborations, I was joined on stage by Dr. Diego R Lopez, Head of Technology Exploration and Standards for Telefonica. He outlined the building blocks required for his organization to execute its transformation blueprint over the next few years, including network-aware cloud, software-defined networking (SDN) programmable connectivity, open reference designs, Open Source, zero touch automation and simple converged networks. I was pleased to note that Dr. Lopez’s requirements mapped nicely to Intel’s portfolio of technologies, open source initiatives, reference architectures and ecosystem capabilities, and I’m confident we’re positioned to support communication service providers (CommSPs), such as AT&T, Rakuten, Telefonica, Verizon and many others to execute their strategic vision.
NeTAwards Recognize Intel’s Open Source Support, Rakuten’s Cloud-Native Network and Partners
Layer123 and a panel of judges recognized achievements in the industry each year with the Network Transformation Awards. This year the judges awarded Intel with top honors in the category of “Open Ecosystem - Outstanding Contributions to Open Source” for its innovation around OpenVINO, Open Visual Cloud and Open Network Edge Services Software (OpenNESS). We believe that open source is a fundamental way to drive the industry forward. The judges also recognized Rakuten in the category of “Innovation - Emerging Technologies” for its new cloud-native network. As has already been well documented, Rakuten’s multi-vendor collaboration is based on Intel® Xeon® processors and Intel® FPGA-based accelerators and supports virtualization of the Rakuten architecture from the radio access network (RAN) to the core and end-to-end automation for both network and services. Layer123 recognized other Intel partners for their achievements, including AT&T Colt Technology Services, Netcracker, NFWare and Verizon. You can view a full list of award winners here.
Network and Enterprise Edge
There was a lot of focus on edge solutions whether deployed in the network or on-premises with an enterprise customer. During the event Intel announced a definitive agreement to acquire Smart Edge™ intelligent-edge platform business from Pivot Technology Solutions Inc to drive innovation at the network and enterprise edge. We also shared the news about the new Converged Edge Reference Architecture (CERA) that brings together multiple hardware and software ingredients, such as OpenNESS, OpenVINO and third-party VNFs, to support various workloads on a universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) device. Foxconn and QNAP were demonstrating on-premises solutions based on CERA, and many of our partners with commercial Intel Select Solutions for uCPE were on site.
Edge will remain a key topic for the industry now that the conference has concluded. The technologies discussed related to Edge, OpenNESS and Intel Select Solutions are covered in the Intel® Network Builders University.
Partners Enable Next Generation Central Office (NGCO)
The NGCO will be the pivotal network location for Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), SD-WAN, 5G and other data-centric workloads close to the edge. WWT announced its Virtual Central Office (VCO) to support network flexibility and scale for future 5G operations. Quanta Cloud Technology (QCT) and Intel have been working to advance NGCO deployments built on Red Hat, Intel Xeon processors and Intel FPGAs as well as various virtual network function (VNF) providers from the Intel Network Builders ecosystem.
Mobile Core User Plane Performance
CommSPs are building the bridge to 5G in stages, beginning with virtualization of the core network. Performance remains a priority, and Intel is working with the industry to maximize performance utilizing a variety of methodologies including direct I/O configurations seen in the Intel® Select Solution for NFVI Forwarding Platform announcements. Earlier this year, Ericsson and Intel demonstrated how user plane functions evolved packet gateway (EPG) can process 193 Gbps of subscriber traffic on one standard, Intel processor-based dual-socket server as part of a fully commercial solution. Metaswitch recently detailed a different 5G use case, achieving 500 Gbps mobile core performance on 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors and indicating a pathway to terabytes per second user plane function throughput on a single server.
Complementing Intel Xeon Processor-based NFV performance with Intel FPGA
Intel Xeon processors are the mainstay of network functions virtualization (NFV) platforms widely deployed in CommSP network infrastructure. As CommSPs move data-centric workloads closer to the edge, we see more opportunities for companies to leverage the complementary characteristics of Intel FPGA accelerators to bolster the performance of NFV platforms based on Intel Xeon processors. We have been pleased with the industry’s response to the Intel® FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card (Intel® FPGA PAC) N3000 that supports creation of custom tailored accelerated virtualized solutions for NFV, vRAN and edge workloads with up to 100 Gbps of network bandwidth. At The Hague, HCL demonstrated the use of Intel FPGA PAC N3000 to accelerate a variety of key VNFs.
On the Right Path
The massive array of solutions and major-carrier deployments based on Intel technology is an acknowledgement that we’re on the right path. The industry ecosystem is using Intel architecture and open innovation to broaden the cloudification of networks to support greater flexibility, programmability, automation and orchestration. While NFVi and SDN still play a key role, the industry continues to embrace more cloud native best practices and look for tools to aid in the development of new applications and services at the edge. We are pleased with the milestones at SDN NFV World Congress but are most excited for the innovation and collaboration ahead.