Mirantis unveils new VNF certification program for CSPs

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Mirantis has certified dozens of VNFs but realized they needed individualized verification. (FierceWireless)

Mirantis is changing how it deals with virtual network functions (VNF), creating a more individualized VNF validation program that consists of a three-way effort between Mirantis, telco customers and VNF vendors.

What prompted the move is a general misconception in the market about what the typical VNF certification program is about, explained Boris Renski, co-founder and CMO at Mirantis.

“Typically a VNF certification program is about showing, ‘yes we work with this VNF vendor,’ and 'yes we did some basic testing,'” with some basic agreement that they know how to work together, he told FierceTelecom. Many customers assume that if there's a VNF certified on a solution, “that means you can click a button and everything will work” and be interoperable at different layers.

But that's not exactly how it works in reality. "There is no generic approach to this,” he said. “What we’re announcing now is effectively that we are doing a bit of restructuring … such that we are moving most of the resources towards a customer-centered on-boarding program” versus a bellwether generic VNF certification.

The new program was developed with VNF partners and carriers to deliver a more tailored, customer-specific validation matching customers’ specific business objectives to their NFV infrastructure (NFVI).

To date, most OpenStack VNF certification programs focus on demonstrating that a VNF can be onboarded within a lab environment without addressing any of the carrier’s requirements for production deployments. Because all NFVI environments differ, it makes sense to offer a certification program that speaks to this requirement.

“NFVI environments differ customer to customer, and for good reason,” Renski said in a blog post. “The throughput and latency goals, network chaining architectures, and physical network and compute infrastructure implemented by service providers are finely tuned to particular business use cases. Even within a single service provider you’ll usually find multiple hardware specifications and reference architectures for hub data centers vs. edge NFVI environments.”

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From here on, Mirantis is evolving its generic VNF certification program in favor of a VNF validation approach that tests VNFs against the actual customer NFV infrastructure, “which lets us take customer-specific business objectives and individual circumstances into account,” he added.  

One of the first solutions to be validated with this new approach is Metaswitch's Perimeta, a virtualized Session Border Controller (vSBC).

Mirantis works with Tier 1 operators in the U.S. and abroad and its customers include AT&T, Comcast, Reliance Jio, State Farm, Vodafone, Volkswagen and Wells Fargo.