Business & Technology

The Killer App For Cloud: Accelerating the Deployment of NFV Solutions

By James Cabe | October 19, 2016

“The cloud,” a word that used to cause network folks to roll their eyes, is now a reality. Public cloud architectures are quickly becoming the backbone, no pun intended, of the corporate IT infrastructure. There are some compelling reasons for this. The first that comes to most people’s minds is price, but that’s not really true. The greatest misnomer of “the cloud” is that it is cheap, although it may be inexpensive to try out, or to put minor business assets in the cloud. For small businesses, it is a panacea. A credit card and a few hours at a keyboard gives you your own office network - one that has many 9’s of uptime, and that you can reach from anywhere in the world. But larger and more established businesses - that have much larger needs - quickly realize that replicating of older and more traditional architectures in the cloud can get very costly very quickly.

Many of those companies experienced a large learning curve over the last two years.

The major, and probably most unexpected pivot that organizations are having to make is accepting that WAN services as we know them will likely no longer exist within the next five years. Every major ISP and carrier realizes this and is building services to address this transition. SDWAN manufacturers, like some of our own partners – such as Brocade, Velocloud, and Silver Peak - have begun creating their own little clouds-in-a-box to deliver IT services at the edge. These Virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) devices are replacements for your edge firewall, router, link load balancer, caching mechanisms, URL filtering, and in some cases, even servers. These onsite cloud-in-a-box devices talk directly to “the cloud” where the datacenter has been relocated. As a result, there is no need for expensive dedicated T1, MPLS, or fiber WAN services. The only thing a company needs is a single fast internet connection. These smaller, simplified, and easy to service cloud-in-a-box devices speak to a cloud which can be located anywhere, and if those resources are not close, use the SDWAN to magically hop over painful Internet peering points where much of the internet slows down.

This solution is a game changer, and a “killer app” for cloud adoption.

Fortinet has recently partnered with Wind River to push this technology forward. Fortinet’s security oriented Virtual Network Features and Wind River’s NFV infrastructure software platform, Titanium Server, combine robust engineering, the ability to deliver security from small IoT devices to the cloud, and the integration provided by the Fortinet Security Fabric to tie them all together. Fortinet has performed the testing and validation process as part of the Wind River Titanium Cloud ecosystem program dedicated to accelerating the deployment of solutions for NFV.

The Fortinet and Wind River partnership is a win for consumers, service providers, and telecom equipment manufacturers. Service providers can benefit from the NFV-optimized solution to quickly achieve their goals, such as reducing OPEX while accelerating the introduction and time-to-market of new high-value services.

There is a bit of irony that a smaller onsite cloud makes the use of “cloud” even more compelling. Price is not the driver, but the simplicity of delivery, the convenience of total fabric integration with multiple security providers, and the flexibility that drives down TCO on multiple fronts (simplified security, robust infrastructure, and ease of use), all driven by a post Next Generation partnership, provides a compelling solution organizations can’t afford to ignore.