Driving innovation by tackling growing infrastructure complexity

Proving product readiness and finding issues in an SDN or NFV network solution is a bit like looking for a bent needle in a field full of haystacks.

While organizations all over the world agree that the simplicity, scalability and agility of virtualized networks have been a real bonus, increasingly widespread adoption has created new challenges for software deployment, network capacity and performance. Some of these challenges are particularly apparent in the current industry where in 4 weeks, global internet traffic increased by around 30% (an entire year’s growth – all without live sports streaming) due to shifts in workforce location (remote workforce), type (increased mobile use and conferencing) and importance (virtual healthcare, essential supplies, supply-chain management, etc.). And, according to Gartner, few corporate networks have even come close to building out their existing capacity to handle the onslaught of remote working.

How Do We Test and Deploy Network Services Faster? How Can We Be Sure They’ll Work Together at Scale?

With so much network software to be evaluated and tested (more suppliers, open source, customer demands for more choice, etc.), you can’t just test one of the towering number of network components to make sure it matches network needs. You need to test the entire stack – right from the infrastructure and network to the end-client application.

While we’re working to operationalize emerging technologies like NFV and SDN as well as new infrastructure, virtualized applications and new/shifting use cases, telecom operators are also having to drive digital business transformation and remain competitive.

Moving to NFV highlights the fact that several types of tools are missing, and inhabiting the virtual space means dealing with multiple stacks plus the infrastructure and the data network itself.

Luxoft’s Software Defined Lab (SDL)

Our SDL platform helps with that, facilitating and automating testing and software deployment validation for network operators, delivering a faster time-to-market and reducing operational overheads. SDL enables today’s telecom operators and large enterprises to transform their traditional network services infrastructure into network function virtualization (NFV) more easily.

SDL is designed with CI/CD, DevOps and service automation built in. This accelerates the flexible deployment of virtual network functions and offers DevOps agility to cloud-services providers, simplifying the maintenance and enhancement of those services once deployed.

Why Use SDL over Traditional Testing and Deployment Techniques?

From our experience of working with several of the largest service providers, we found that SDL:
  • Reduces configuration effort by 80%
  • Reduces lab set-up (test harness) effort by >90%
  • Reduces multiple test-iteration effort by between 40% and 90%
Also, SDL Is:
  • Vendor Neutral: Being technology agnostic, it can be easily extended and enhanced for integration with third-party products or solutions
  • Ecosystem Friendly: The move to SDN and NFV promotes open ecosystem, enabling programmability and network flexibility
  • ETSI NFV Architectural Blueprint Compliant: Design is based on telco-recommended ETSI NFV architecture, so providers can simply leverage and customize the platform
  • Intelligent Service Placement and Automation Enabled: SDL’s automatic service placement algorithm allows providers to focus on the logical definition of the desired network service
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Aware: An intelligent, dynamic, bandwidth allocation algorithm helps SLA guarantees for tenants to become a reality
SDL can be operated via the web, exclusively (no special client software deployment). It’s multi-user and multi-infrastructure, so SDL can fit right into your existing solution and your staff can access it remotely with ease (we also have a full REST API for integration into your existing tools, test-management and access-management environments).

Speed Things Up Automatically

Automation means quick turnarounds, next-to-no manual intervention and the application of updates with zero negative impact on operations. It’s the benchmark long-term strategy for successful management of the modern IT environment. And an enterprise-wide approach lets you automate not only IT processes, but also entire technologies, teams and organizations.

We’re not just talking about the usual test or build automation. SDL enables automation of the entire end-to-end system including:
  • Application and lab configuration
  • Set up and operation of test harnesses with your existing test tools, or new ones which are optimized for the virtual environment
  • Creation and testing of integration and staging environments
  • Configuration and software deployment to production environment
  • The ability to retest in any environment

If you’d like to find out more about automation and how Luxoft can help solve your particular network issues, check out my next blog or visit https://www.luxoft.com/telecommunications/itoperations/
James Hopson
James has been a Product Manager and Solutions Architect in telecommunications networking operations and virtualization for more than 25 years, most recently specializing in the areas of NFV, testing and analytics. He is the Product Manager in the Luxoft Technology Strategy Center which serves as Luxoft’s innovation, incubation and new project development organization. James is responsible for the Twister test automation framework and the Software Defined Lab (SDL) solution, which is Luxoft’s Automated Test and Modeling Environment for NFV and hybrid NFV/physical based network deployments.