In my last blog post, I talked about the new encrypted traffic optimization functionality in the NetScaler Mobile Gateway, which compliments the other functions which are already available: powerful TCP optimization, full featured CGNAT service, DNS services, content filtering and traffic steering. All these services are available as software which can be deployed as Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) in a virtualized environment or consolidated on high-performance carrier-grade T1000 appliances. All these features together permit the full consolidation and virtualization of the services in the Gi-LAN and can be seamlessly managed and orchestrated with the NetScaler Management and Analytics System (NetScaler MAS).
Today, I am going to discuss how we help the transformation and orchestration of the mobile network. There are a number of aspects to this.
The first is the most basic question: Are the network functions you want to deploy available in software on standard hardware? We address that in NetScaler with our software-first approach: there is never any dependency on hardware and we make sure the very same NetScaler network functions are available on any hypervisor, any cloud, our own appliances or even on docker containers.
The second has to do with integration with orchestration systems. NetScaler Management and Analytics System (MAS) is a centralized network management, analytics, and orchestration solution. From a single platform, administrators can view, automate, and manage network services. NetScaler MAS also provides the APIs to allow integration with external orchestration systems and provide access to rich data coming from the network. In the NFV environment NetScaler MAS plays the role of an NFV manager, and has specific features to allow the management and orchestration of NetScaler mobile gateway services.
Service-provider customers are choosing orchestration software and SDN solutions for their networks and NetSCaler MAS is designed so that we can integrate easily with any of these solutions.
Nothing beats real integration however and we have been quite busy with partners over the last few months. Here are some recent examples of work we have been doing to integrate and certify NetScaler with partner solutions:
- VMWare: Citrix NetScaler has achieved the VMware “Ready for NFV” Certification with VCloud NFV 1.5, including comprehensive testing with vSphere, NSX, vSAN, vCD, and VMware integrated Openstack.
- RedHat: We have recently completed certification of the NetScaler LBaaS driver and NetSCaler MAS 11.1 with Red Hat OpenStack Platform (RHOSP) Release 9.
- HPE: Citrix is a full member of the HPE OpenNFV Partner program and we recently completed testing of NetScaler VPX 11.1 with HPE Helion OpenStack Carrier Grade (HCG) 2.1.
- Huawei: NetScaler VPX has successfully been verified with Huawei FusionSphere 6 at the SDN OpenLab in Beijing. Load Balancing and Web Application Firewall functions have been certified. These Virtual Network Functions can also be made available under Huawei CloudVPN Integration Services Solution.
- Nuage: We have just updated the certification of NetScaler with the latest release of Nuage Networks and OpenStack – Nuage VSP 4.0. You can see automation in action between Nuage VSP and our container based NetScaler CPX in the video below:
- Ericsson: The full range of Citrix NetScaler products will soon be available from Ericsson to Enterprise and Service Provider customers world-wide.
So, we have discussed the key themes which drive down OPEX: software, virtualization and orchestration. But we need to be sure we can get the performance a service-provider needs, which can be multiple terabits of throughput. We at Citrix believe we have the best software throughput performance in the industry by far, with 100Gbps throughput on one software instance. We talked about this in a recent blog post — “NetScaler VPX Hits a New 100Gbps High!”
Lets just say that we are confident we can achieve the levels of performance that are required by service providers in software today.
The final piece in the puzzle is flexible licensing to ensure your investment is protected as you transform the network. You shouldn’t expect to pay for a physical appliance and then have to pay again when you move to a virtual deployment. We have a solution we call Pooled Capacity. You purchase capacity in a pool, which can be used in any “form factor”, physical or virtual.
You can deploy with appliances and then migrate your capacity to virtual later.
In fact, the capacity can be managed dynamically via NetsScaler MAS, so in a fully automated scenario, you can move licenses around as capacity requirements shift.
With all these pieces in place NetScaler is a great choice to drive the transformation of your mobile network.
A demonstration of the Netscaler Mobile Gateway can be seen at Mobile World Congress. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book an appointment at MWC.