Network functions virtualization (NFV) brings the benefits of the cloud to telco operators. One of those benefits is the wide array of support software, including Linux, KVM, OpenStack and Open vSwitch (OVS). These software packages provide a base of well-known functionality upon which operators can build innovative new virtualized services. There are two limitations of this environment: OVS’ packet forwarding performance and its networking capabilities.

OVS shines in terms of providing a standard switching layer to connect virtual network functions (VNFs) under the control of OpenStack. However, its limited packet throughput and unpredictable latency impair its utility for service providers. In addition, a separate Ethernet Access device is required in order to connect to a standard Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) network interface.

An Answer for Networking and NFV Performance

ADVA Optical Networking provides a powerhouse alternative with Ensemble Connector. Ensemble Connector is equivalent to OVS in that it runs on KVM and Linux hosted on standard compute platforms, and works with standard VNFs. Ensemble Connector outperforms OVS in two major ways: Carrier Ethernet functionality and pedal-to-the-metal performance.

1. CE 2.0 Functionality

ADVA Optical Networking brings its long history and expertise in Carrier Ethernet to the virtualized environment. Ensemble Connector provides full CE 2.0 functionality, enabling a single server and VNFs to replace both an Ethernet access device as well as a stack of network appliances (e.g., router, firewall, etc.) and still connect to a standard CE 2.0 network interface.

2. Forwarding Performance

ADVA Optical Networking has focused for years on implementing high-performance packet forwarding in software data paths. We have combined that knowledge with the power of DPDK to set an entirely new standard for performance.

Ensemble Connector has higher packet throughput and lower, more predictable latency than OVS, enabling use of low-cost Atom platforms for vCPE applications while maintaining stringent service provider SLAs.

With its CE 2.0 functionality and high throughput, Ensemble Connector enables service providers to deploy NFV at customers’ sites with a single low-cost server. With its performance and CE networking, Ensemble Connector makes NFV real.

The Proof Is in the Pudding

Anyone can claim high performance and CE 2.0 functionality, so we decided to prove it with an objective test lab.

ADVA Optical Networking engaged with EANTC to perform a side-by-side test of Ensemble Connector and the latest DPDK version of OVS running on the same low-cost Atom server. Here is the online report at Light Reading, along with commentary from Ray Le Maistre and a video overview.

Here’s the punchline from the report:

  • For service chains with multiple VNFs, Ensemble Connector provides as much as twice the throughput as OVS for IMIX and smaller packet sizes.
  • For bridging applications, Ensemble Connector delivers up to almost 100 times better latency than OVS when non-trivial numbers of MAC addresses are present.

Ensemble Connector Is the Choice for Tough Applications

Software-based forwarding solutions are stressed by the cases that maximize the processing being done. For NFV the tough cases are small packets, long service chains or Layer 2 applications that require learning of numerous MAC addressed. The tougher the application, the more you need Ensemble Connector.

Join our upcoming webinar at Light Reading to find out more about the impressive capabilities of Ensemble Connector.