Service Providers seeking to reduce operating expenses, deliver new services rapidly, are looking to SDN (Software Defined Networking) and virtualization technologies. Earlier this year, Light Reading and EANTC published an evaluation of Cisco’s virtualization and cloud solution, including multivendor network orchestration and optimization. They’ve now published a follow-on, that takes a closer look at the data center, specifically the Network Function Virtualization infrastructure (NFVI).

For SP’s to be successful in meeting customer experience requirements with virtualized services, they must deploy an NFV infrastructure capable of supporting the same service level capabilities as the existing physical network. An automated, flexible and programmable system requires several considerations to be explored and factored into planning and deployment and it’s these areas that were evaluated.


  • Carrier Class SLAs: Data center infrastructure to support virtual functions must be architected to meet specific carrier class performance SLAs. Today there is a lack of understanding on how to achieve this requirement for NFV, and no test methodology or benchmarks to validate in advance that a particular NFV implementation can meet a specific SLA.
  • Carrier Class Availability: Data center infrastructure – both software and hardware – must be designed and implemented for carrier class availability.
  • Common NFV infrastructure: Infrastructure must be common across all types of services – whether business (Cloud VPN), video (cloud DVR), or mobility (vEPC). Carriers cannot afford to build single-purpose infrastructure just to achieve a specific SLA.
  • Simplified Management: A “Single Plane of Glass” must be available for service and operations. This must be multivendor and work across various implementation environments, such as OpenStack and VMWare.

The report is being published in two sections. The first phase which focuses on Cisco’s virtual switch technology and testing methodologies can be found here. Also mark your calendars for November 5th at 0800 PT / 1100 ET where we’ll go into more details on a live webinar.

Have questions or comments? Tweet us @CiscoSP360.


Greg Smith

Sr. Manager, Marketing

Cisco Solutions Marketing