SevOne and Red Hat today announced the culmination of a year's work to bring together the former's service assurance capabilities with the latter's NFV infrastructure (NFVi) offering, creating a platform that lets network operators deploy NFV with greater confidence that stuff will actually work.
SevOne Inc. has a long history of providing service assurance for complex networks in the traditional networking realm and has been transitioning its expertise into the virtual realm, says Jim Melvin, the company's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. The company has already partnered with Verizon and Viptela Inc. to bring service assurance and visibility to that carrier's SD-WAN service offering but today's announcement marks a broader push into the virtualization space.
Teaming up with Red Hat, which has a significant NFVi presence in the carrier market based on its OpenStack distribution, SevOne is saying it can bring the ability to pull in data from the diverse elements used in delivering virtual network functions, normalize that data and analyze it, and use that analysis to drive automation of processes.
That addresses a key challenge posed by NFV, Melvin notes: Enabling operators to know that a function is performing when it is being delivered using resources pulled from all over the network operation and not from a single box running an embedded software stack.
"What service assurance is all about is being able to deliver a service as it was intended, as defined by an SLA [service level agreement] and know that you are meeting the SLA or if there is a problem, you can resolve it quickly," Melvin says. "We are doing that and taking people out of the equation as much as we can."
Doing that on an end-to-end basis, starting with the provisioning process and continuing through each step of service delivery and authentication, is going to require standards that don't yet exist, he concedes. What SevOne is doing with Red Hat is offering an option for today's early NFV deployments with an eye toward evolving to the standards as they develop.
"Everyone is screaming for standards, but for us, this is a huge opportunity," Melvin says. That's because SevOne is used to delivering service assurance in a physical hardware world in which vendor proprietary approaches are the norm and can and does work with vendors to incorporate their versions of protocols and data models into a consumable service assurance package.
The immediate goal is to give network operators "a service level view of what is happening" to enable "some level of at least piloting services," Melvin says.
For Red Hat, this addition represents another way to differentiate its NFVi solution in a competitive market for such platforms.