knowledge centre

Data centres: network function virtualisation data infrastructure can help CSPs to create new services

Justin van der Lande Principal Analyst, Research

"The top-four IaaS service providers supply over 50% of the worldwide market for IaaS and PaaS and their market share grew by 5% in Q3 2017; CSPs have not been able to scale fast enough or provide sufficient differentiation to compete."

The roll-out of network function virtualisation/software-defined networking (NFV/SDN) will drive communications service providers (CSPs) to create a unique data infrastructure that supports the rigorous needs of network services. This infrastructure could be used to support other applications and services that can generate new revenue streams and that need low-cost, resilient and low-latency solutions.

This report:

  • considers the underlying data infrastructure that CSPs need in order to support an NFV-based network
  • highlights the advanced techniques that are required to support network functions that are run on shared virtualised hardware; these include SR-IOV; CPU pinning; smart network interface cards (SmartNICs); Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) and containerisation
  • examines the use of programmable SmartNICs with FPGA capabilities, as well as the utilisation of ASICs within a virtualised data centre
  • considers the use of a distributed data centre approach for responding to low-latency applications through regional or localised data centres.