Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) offers a flexible and scalable way to deliver and deploy Virtual Network Functions (VNF) services. Use of virtualization and cloud computing is becoming increasing popular as these techniques can dramatically reduce time-to-market. However, the transformation to VNF services and deployment scenarios needs an API framework - and OpenStack is a suitable candidate. But is it enough, and what improvements are needed?
API framework for NFV

As an IaaS framework constructed as pluggable API components, OpenStack provides a given level of automation and orchestration to deploy and provision NFV services. The primary benefits are faster time-to-market, and elastic scaling of VNF services – with maximum utilization of hardware resources and associated cost reductions.

The benefits of OpenStack derive from its pluggable architecture. The resulting flexibility allows service providers to choose among different backend solutions, as they can be easily connected through appropriate plugins.

However, to ensure carrier-grade service, some extensions to the set of APIs are needed, and OpenStack as whole needs to be embraced by NFV. This is where the challenge lies.

This Ericsson Review article outlines the current OpenStack architecture, how this architecture lends itself to NFV, what the benefits are, and crucially, what extensions are needed.

OpenStack as the API framework for NFV: the benefits, and the extensions needed

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