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A Definitive Solution to address High Availability Challenges in Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Dharmraj Jhatakia
General Manager-Product Engineering Services-Happiest Minds
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Dharmraj Jhatakia
Virtualization of Network Functions in carrier networks and data centers being the way forward is certain. The market is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. There are a few key features that are fueling the growth expectations in NFV. Let us examine few of the challenges that they pose with respect to High Availability (HA).

High Flexibility
Dynamic/elastic scaling of the network is one of the key advantages of using NFV. At the same time, multiple mode of cloud operation, i.e. private, public or hybrid will also determine the same. This essentially means that a Virtual Network Function (VNF) can be at any physical server, which means that for a cluster of VMs, there is no guarantee that they are co-located; consequently giving rise to the fact that we need an HA system which can support the requirement of sub second detection and response time.

Full Automation
One of the other key features of virtualization is the ability to have full automation and very high levels of programmability of the network function. While this is a delight for the operator, it poses several challenges of large scale application performance and high amount of processing. Also, this would mean that there would be multiple models of high availability, which would need to be supported and that the models can change dynamically.

Synchronization
In a clustered environment, the synchronization time is one of the key parameters for achieving the goals of reduced latency in bringing up the services in a Hot Standby mode - i.e. zero service disruption. This requires the HA system to have read/write optimizations.

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