Data is exploding as billions of devices connect with each other, which is why network transformation to 5G is key. There are requirements for new business and use models, along with higher speeds, greater capacity, and lower latency for everything smart—be it retail and hospitality, healthcare, smart cities and stadiums, autonomous driving, or edge cloud gaming; the list goes on.
Intel's communications service provider (CoSP) customers are moving in that direction as they replace their fixed function hardware infrastructure with software-defined networks (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) technologies to build such smart, intelligent, powerful networks that span from cloud, to core, to access, to edge.
Intel enables every aspect of the 5G value chain through its 5G end-to-end strategy. We are working with ecosystem partners, CoSPs, and industry groups to lead a network transformation - driving the development of capabilities in networking components, standards, and intelligence. Across all of these areas, Intel has products and solutions to help bring about the 5G era.
Intel® Select Solutions for the Network enable this 5G strategy by using all our expertise to accelerate the network transformation journey. This article addresses questions around the what, why, when, and where aspects of the Select Solution for the network.
Why Intel® Select Solutions for the Network?
Choosing, deploying, and optimizing the core, access, edge, or even the data center cloud infrastructure isn’t easy. Customers want to virtualize the network to gain flexibility, agility, and scale, but it can get challenging with the complexity involved in the provisioning of newer services like analytics and content delivery network (CDN), as well as workloads like vEPC, vRouter, vRAN, vFW, and SD-WAN.
Network Transformation To Support Business Transformation: The NFVi Challenge
IT managers face a more expensive and time-consuming process to evaluate, integrate, procure, and deploy next-generation infrastructure. Intel Select Solutions for the Network are designed to solve this problem.
What Are the Intel Select Solutions for the Network?
Intel® Select Solution Reference Design Methodology Based on NFVi BKC
Intel® Select Solutions: Base and Plus Configurations
To accelerate deployment or go-to-market (GTM) strategy, Intel Select Solutions provide a recipe (ingredients and methodology) in the form of a reference design.
While every Intel Select Solution reference design is unique to its targeted workload, you can expect that a reference design includes a mix of required and recommended components spanning the various ingredients—CPU, chipset, accelerators, NICs, storage, and so on. Intel works closely with independent software vendors (ISVs) and operating system vendors (OSVs) to ensure system-level optimization from the hardware, to the software, to the firmware, including the bios, and other settings.
BKC Process Results Ensure Consistency and Stability to Simplify Evaluation, Ordering, and Deployment
Intel has a well-defined process behind an optimized and well-engineered solution based on a best-known configuration (BKC). The Intel Select Solutions for the Network are based on a BKC that:
- Was defined in collaboration with CoSP and ecosystem
- Is a hardened hardware/firmware/software foundation for CoSPs to build upon
- Employs Intel internal testing throughout the lifecycle of the product
- Establishes a common debug platform between Intel and the customer
- Streamlines debug effort and root cause determination in the event of a platform issue
- Includes network virtualization test cases and ingredients
- Is extensible, as it:
- Has a growing list of test cases
- Includes an expanded set of platform technology ingredients
- Provides for continuous improvement of our validation capabilities
Already Selling Intel® Select Solutions for the Network
There are currently three Intel Select Solutions available for the network.
Intel® Select Solution for NFVI
This solution is tied to various network function virtualization infrastructure (NFVI) workloads like vRAN, vBNG, vIMS, and vEPC. It is a non-uniform memory access (NUMA) balanced dual-socket configuration with Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) and Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor being the hero features. It comes in three flavors: Ubuntu*, Red Hat*, and FusionSphere*.
Intel® Select Solution for Universal Customer Premises Equipment (uCPE)
This Intel Select Solution is targeted for SD-WAN workloads at the edge along with vFW and vRouter. It is a single-socket Intel® Xeon® D processor design with Intel QAT, and available in two flavors – Ubuntu and ADVA* Ensemble Connector.
Intel® Select Solution for Visual Cloud Delivery Network (CDN)
The Intel Select Solution for CDN is a derivative of the NFVI solution that targets CDN workloads. It is a dual-socket configuration with Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory, Intel QAT, and Intel Xeon Scalable processor as its hero features.
When and Where Should We Consider Deploying Intel Select Solutions for the Network?
The disaggregated architecture of SDN/NFV can make procurement harder. Challenges include identifying a balance of “best of breed” and open solutions, managing the complexity of deployment across multiple sites, and sizing correctly to meet SLA requirements.
Intel Select Solutions for the Network provide consistent building blocks that allow the deployment of optimized, open infrastructure, multi-vendor solutions offering high VNF density and distributed storage utilization for reduced TCO on future-proof hardware. This enables generation over generation performance improvements and seamless migration of workloads.
Intel Select Solutions for the Network—RFP Enabler for CoSPs
Intel Select Solutions promise three benefits: simplified evaluation, fast and easy deployment, and workload optimized. Intel Select Solutions for the network can be used to:
- Right-size the CoSP infrastructure footprint easily with respect to service-level agreement (SLA) requirements for various NFV use cases or workloads.
- Simplify multiple vendor procurement options.
- Respond to any CoSP RFPs or RFIs, and completely use the various Intel technologies that constitute the solution to drive scale.
- Drive lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and improved operational efficiency through standard reference architecture.
- Derive long-term benefits with future-proof hardware that enables generation-over-generation performance benefits and seamless migration of workloads.
In a nutshell, Intel Select Solutions for the Network provide you the recipes to build standard, high-volume servers with tested configurations of leading software and system components designed to deliver consistent performance for NFVi and real network workloads. Benefits are simple—consistent building blocks to ease interoperability, gain stability, and speed deployment. For more information, visit the Intel® Select Solution for Network Transformation and watch Intel® Select Solutions for the Network on Intel Software TV.