SOURCE: Advantech


March 02, 2015 02:00 ET

Advantech Stretches NFV Elasticity to the Network Edge

New Versatile Server Module Runs Virtual Network Functions at Any Location in the Network, Extending NFV Capabilities From Central Offices to Telco Rooms and Cell Sites

BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwired - March 02, 2015) - Mobile World Congress -- Advantech (TWSE: 2395) today introduced their NFV Elasticity initiative, an all-encompassing new program to support consistent, scalable platforms based on Intel® Architecture, with server-class processors that can run Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) at almost any location in the network. While platforms such as Advantech's Carrier Grade Servers, Netarium™ ATCA and latest Packetarium™ XL systems are widely available to run VNFs in Central Offices, Enterprises and Data Centers, a gap existed for edge and access equipment. This gap has now been closed by the introduction of a new form factor, embeddable server platform called Versatile Server Module (VSM).

VSMs are tailored to support typical communications workloads in the new NFV era while complying to equipment practices and environments prevailing at the edge of networks. VSMs allow for simplified integration of the latest, high performance Intel® processors into equipment such as access points, small cells, base stations and demarcation boxes to run the same VNFs that run in the core network. This enables what Advantech terms as NFV elasticity.

"Service providers and operators will now be able to efficiently provision a base line service capacity at the edge of the network offering lowest latency while covering peak loading using NFV-capable equipment in the core networks," said Peter Marek, Senior Director x86 Solutions, Advantech Networks and Communications Group. "This will result in best user experience and optimum resource utilization at the lowest cost. Most importantly, VSMs also enable a new breed of services as depicted by the ETSI Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) consortium requiring low latency, near real-time response paired with best in class performance per watt of compute. With VNF re-use across our scalable NFV platforms deployed at different locations in the network, NFV Elasticity will help to avoid cumbersome cell-to-cell traffic for scaling service capacity." 

"Enhancing edge & access equipment with servers based on Intel Architecture means that applications such as augmented reality, content optimization, Internet-of-Things (IoT), as well as video and data analytics will be able to tap into local content and real-time information," said Renu Navale, Director of the Intel Network Builders program. "This form of distributed Cloud Computing, of deploying services and caching content at the network edge will also play an important role in alleviating mobile core networks from additional congestion while more efficiently serving local purposes."

Advantech's Versatile Server Module carries a server class CPU subsystem including memory plus networking and I/O interfaces such as Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, high speed PCIe gen.3 along with standard platform I/Os like SATA, USB and legacy interfaces. Based on this wealth of connectivity, a VSM can easily interface to other components of a specific network element. The versatility of the module allows it to be deployed in various scenarios such as an embedded server node, a factory installable add-on card or a field replaceable, hot swappable unit. Facilitated by a unique designed-for-versatility approach, extension with application specific devices such as hard disks, solid state disks, wireless modules or additional network ports can be supported outside the VSM or as an integrated, local extension module.

VSMs, in contrast to existing, general purpose Computer-On-Module standards, have been architected for the use in networking equipment from ground up: Communication workloads demand for server class CPUs with a memory subsystem large enough to support virtualized environments without sacrificing cost targets or creating supply chain issues. Interfacing to networking centric building blocks requires a differentiated set of interfaces while advanced thermal properties simplify the integration even in the most challenging environments such as in outdoor or NEBS-3 compliant equipment. Reliability, Serviceability and High Availability Requirements drive features such as hot swap and field replacement capabilities, remote equipment monitoring and control and fail safe firmware/software updates.

The tailored, rich feature set also makes VSMs an ideal choice for control plane applications in telecom as well as enterprise networking. At Mobile World Congress, Advantech will demonstrate the use of a VSM as a cloud control node inside its new Packetarium™ XL system and as server node inside an SDN-enabled Top-of-Rack Switch. In addition to the equipment already cited, Advantech will also show how a VSM can be adapted for used by Service Providers to implement a new breed of equipment that the industry is calling virtual CPE (vCPE) for the enterprise.

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About Advantech - Founded in 1983, Advantech is a leader in providing trusted, innovative products, services, and solutions. Advantech offers comprehensive system integration, hardware, software, customer-centric design services, embedded systems, automation products, and global logistics support. Our mission is to enable an intelligent planet with embedded computing products and solutions that empower the development of smarter working and living. With Advantech, there's no limit to the applications and innovations our products make possible. For Telecom and Networking markets, Advantech provides mission-critical hardware to the leading telecom and networking equipment manufacturers. Advantech's standard and customized products are embedded in OEM equipment that the world's communications infrastructure depends upon.


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