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Virtual Central Office: Laying the Foundations From the Community

By October 5, 2017Blog

By: Hanen Garcia Gamardo, Technical Product Marketing Manager, Telco Solutions, Red Hat

Today’s challenge for communication service providers (CSPs) for delivering services as close as possible to customers cannot be overcome without leveraging capabilities at the edge of the network. On the path towards the edge, tens of thousands of central offices stand on operator’s networks across the world. The last frontier between customers and services, redesign of central offices (CO) has become a key competitive advantage for network and cable operators on their digital transformation journey, especially in the preamble of virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) for 5G, virtualized Content Delivery Networks (vCDN) for 4K, and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) technologies.

A few months ago, I wrote about the Virtual Central Office (VCO) project and the rewarding experience of putting together a demonstration of pure community effort for the OPNFV summit in Beijing. Since then, the demo has been shown at other industry events such as the CableLabs Summer conference, Cisco Live, Huawei Connect and the Red Hat Telco Road Tour; the demo videos on YouTube and TelecomTV have received 1,500+ views, and it has been the subject of over a dozen meetings with CSPs across the globe.

The success of the VCO proof of concept (PoC) has come as a direct result of the interest conveyed by the telecommunications industry. Leveraging two of the most important open source projects into a single architecture to realize a Virtual Central Office: OpenDaylight as a common SDN controller for both the virtual network overlay and the physical network underlay; and OpenStack as a common platform, for both the NFV Infrastructure and the VIM, to ensure an orchestrator agnostic framework. In the latest OPNFV solution brief, you can read how Open Source Project Spins Up A Virtual Central Office to know all details of  VCO PoC.

It has been a long journey for the community members of the VCO project between the first interactions and the latest version of the reference architecture recently published by OPNFV and OpenDaylight to promote the distribution and adoption of open source SDN and NFV platforms driven by the industry and the community at large. The whitepaper Building a Virtual Central Office (VCO) with open source communities and components explains the industry trends leading the need for the VCO reference architecture, its requirements, detailed use cases and available technologies.

What’s next?

In Beijing, we demonstrated how the VCO architecture can be used to realize residential and enterprise use cases. Rich of all the lessons learned from this experience and with the same energy as before, the community has already started preparations for the next iteration of demonstration aiming to show the VCO mobile use case including vRAN.

To learn more about the VCO project, listen to my colleague Azhar Sayeed, chief architect for the telco group at Red Hat, talk about the project’s PoC in this video on Telecom TV. And check out the OPNFV / OpenDaylight whitepaper to learn more about the reference architecture.