Brocade and Telefónica establish NFV benchmark

Networking suppliers claim test results will alleviate customer concerns around performance barriers to adoption

A programme of testing and collaboration between networking supplier Brocade and telecoms specialist Telefónica has established new benchmarks for the deployment and performance of network functions virtualisation (NFV) solutions.

The two firms said the consistent results obtained from extensive testing of Brocade’s Vyatta 5600 vRouter would drastically alter the performance range that service providers can expect from virtualised, software-based networks.

During testing, the Vyatta 5600 vRouter hit speeds of 80Gbps on an off-the-shelf Intel-based x86 server. The virtual router was deployed within a Red Hat KVM environment as a single VM.

“In less than two hours, we deployed the Brocade Vyatta 5600 vRouter from a memory stick and completed our performance tests in our NFV Reference Lab,” said Francisco-Javier Ramón, head of Telefónica’s NFV Reference Lab. 

“These results allow us, as network operators, to aggressively change our perspective about what is possible with software-driven networking in order to accelerate the adoption and deployment of these revolutionary technologies.”

The Vyatta 5600 vRouter was released earlier this year, and is claimed by its manufacturer to be the first purpose-built NFV solution to adequately meet the demands of large service provider customers.

It is a core part of the network services layer of Brocade’s Vyatta platform, and includes routing, firewall and VPN functionality, and uses Intel Xeon processor-based servers and the Intel Data Plane Development Kit to achieve elevated performance levels.

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“The promise of NFV is rapid service creation and highly elastic scalability,” said Enrique Algaba, network innovation and virtualisation director at Telefónica. “While virtualisation is significant to achieving this agility, it has historically been the fundamental limiter to the kind of performance required for scalability.”

Kelly Herrell, Brocade VP and GM of software networking, said the removal of performance barriers from the NFV conversation meant Brocade could now focus on expanding its capabilities to make it more tempting to service provider customers.

Brocade is already planning to upgrade it to include Layer 3 MPLS, Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol Version 3, IPv6 support and OpenDaylight integration.

“With these capabilities, the Brocade Vyatta 5600 vRouter is capable of extending to, and becoming the provider edge for, carrier networks,” said Herrell. “These improvements will enable service providers to deploy NFV to existing and new customers more quickly and more efficiently.”

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