Verizon launches industry-leading large OpenStack NFV deployment

Lynn Staggs
T. 918.590.7173
Verizon collaboration with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat advances open source knowledge; Companies to discuss project at the OpenStack Summit in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas – Verizon has completed the industry’s largest known Network Function Virtualization OpenStack cloud deployment across five of its U.S. data centers.

The NFV project, which began in 2015, created a production design based on a core and pod architecture that provides the hyperscale capabilities and flexibility necessary to meet the company’s complex network requirements.

Deployments are currently in progress in additional domestic data center and aggregation sites, with international locations to be deployed over the next several months. The design also will be adopted in edge network sites by the end of the year.

Verizon worked with Big Switch Networks, Dell and Red Hat to develop the OpenStack pod-based design that went from concept to deployment of more than 50 racks in five production data centers in less than nine months.

To validate the resiliency of the NFV pod design at scale, the collaborators constructed and tested large scale test beds mirroring the production design, leveraging the open source community to ultimately deliver a high quality, validated NFV pod architecture.

The project is based on OpenStack with Red Hat Ceph Storage and a spine-leaf fabric for each pod controlled through a Neutron plugin to Red Hat OpenStack Platform. The multi-vendor deployment leverages Big Switch’s Big Cloud Fabric for SDN controller software managing Dell switches, which are orchestrated by Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

To meet the challenges of a large scale NFV deployment, the companies worked together to design a solution that addressed five key needs identified early in the project:

  • Resiliency at Scale The design followed a hyperscale-inspired “core and pod” approach with a 12-rack pod design replicated at data centers across the United States.
  • No Bandwidth Bottlenecks A modern leaf-spine Clos design, using centralized SDN control designed to take the network from spine to leaf to vSwitch and avoid bandwidth bottlenecks.
  • Logical Network Design Flexibility The pod design accommodates unique NFV workloads with unique logical network requirements that share the same physical leaf/spine fabric and vSwitches.
  • Reduced Operational Complexity Operational complexity is reduced through a simplified lifecycle management of the network control systems relative to the OpenStack control systems.
  • Integrated Security and Visibility The NFV Pod is designed to be compliant and secure against intrusions and other threats, monitoring fabric was used to monitor intra-pod traffic and inline traffic.

Executives from Verizon, Big Switch, Dell and Red Hat will speak about the project at the OpenStack Summit in Austin, Texas, April 25 – 29.

Verizon is a corporate sponsor of OpenStack, a global collaboration of developers and cloud computing technologists producing an open standard cloud computing platform for public and private clouds.

Supporting Quotes

“Building on our history of innovation, this NFV project is another step in building Verizon’s next-generation network -- with implications for the industry. New and emerging applications are highlighting the need for collaborative research and development in technologies like NFV. We consider this achievement to be foundational for building the Verizon cloud that serves our customers’ needs anywhere, anytime, any app.”  Adam Koeppe, vice president, network technology planning, Verizon

“More than ever before, it is imperative that leaders in our community work together to design, build and deploy pod designs that are both agile and resilient. As OpenStack proves itself under intense conditions like those created by large scale NFV workloads, it is increasingly important for an open and collaborative environment to deliver positive results.” Kyle Forster, co-founder, Big Switch Networks

“Dell's Open Networking initiative delivers on the promise of bringing innovative technology, services and choice to our customers and Verizon’s NFV project is a testament to that vision. With the open source leadership of Red Hat, the SDN expertise of Big Switch and the infrastructure, service and support at scale from Dell, this deployment demonstrates a level of collaboration that sets the tone for the Open Networking ecosystem. This is just the beginning.” Tom Burns, vice president and general manager, Dell Networking, Dell

“With its open NFV architecture, Verizon is building a next-generation, automated, software-defined network based on open source solutions, including OpenStack, giving them the ability to build a network that changes at the pace of software, not at the pace of hardware. We are thrilled to collaborate with Verizon on its SDN-NFV architecture plan, which includes both Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat Ceph Storage at the core of its open and highly scalable next-generation infrastructure.” Darrell Jordan-Smith, vice president, Worldwide Information and Communications Technology, Red Hat