We’ve talked a lot on this blog about Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), which is a carrier-led effort to move away from proprietary hardware, motivated by the desire to dramatically increase agility, enable faster service launches, and reduce the cost of deployment.
Sandvine has been a leader in helping to make NFV a reality for operators, by not only helping many of our customers deploy it, but buy by also showing unmatched performance in executing it. The clearest example of this is when in October 2015 in association with Intel and Dell we demonstrated our Policy Trafic Switch Virtual Series performing 1.1Tbps of traffic inspection as a virtual network function (VNF), a benchmark that to our knowledge nobody else has come close to matching.
So after having demonstrated our ability to virtualize our existing products, what’s the next step for Sandvine? Making sure that our products can work with other service functions within an operator’s network, and that manifests itself in something known as Service Function Chaining.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, Service Function Chaining (SFC) is a technique for selecting and steering data traffic flows through various ‘service functions,’ allowing operators to deploy a wide range of services for their subscribers that improve and protect overall Internet experience and increase ARPU.
In October last year, Sandvine unveiled our Traffic Steering Engine which enables CSPs to deploy Service Function Chains in a straightforward, standards-compliant manner at carrier-grade scale. Sandvine engineered the Traffic Steering Engine to fulfill the proposed Service Function Forwarder (SFF) role of the IETF standard, as well as the proposed Traffic Steering Support Function (TSSF) from the ETSI/3GPP standards, making its function essential for operators interested in deploying NFV and Service Function Chaining using industry standards.
Because Service Function Chaining is still in its early days of adoption, Sandvine recently approached EANTC to help validate both the functional and performance aspects of Sandvine’s virtualized network policy control solutions to demonstrate to the industry that we can help make Service Function Chaining a reality for operators.
As part of the validation, EANTC scrutinized multiple use cases of Sandvine’s Service Function Chaining implementation, to verify both their functionality and scalability when faced with real-world network conditions. The multitude of tests performed by EANTC proved that:
- Sandvine’s Traffic Steering Engine can elastically scale-out new service chains as demand dictates while ensuring the traffic distribution mechanism between multiple service chains remained intact
- The Traffic Steering Engine and PTS Virtual Series have hitless failover and recovery when in a high-availability scenario, ensuring network operators can deploy Sandvine’s virtualized products in situations requiring redundancy and network continuity
- Sandvine’s PTS Virtual Series and Network Security product effectively detected and mitigated both a DNS amplification distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack and a SYN-flood DDoS attack without impacting any safe and legitimate network traffic
The full report is a pretty technical read, but if you are interested in learning about where Network Functions Virtualization, Software-Defined Networking, and Service Function Chaining are heading in 2017, you might find it to be a fascinating read.