Network utilization is dependent on time, varying according to the hour, day, or week and reflecting activity spikes due to special events. Primetime growth is outpacing average traffic growth, and thus is driving CapEx spending for new access equipment to meet this demand. Fixed appliances used to deliver network functionality (switches, CCAPs, EPCs, firewalls, etc.) are hardcoded with certain ...features and capabilities despite a clear underutilization of their compute, network, and storage resources during large parts of the day. However, with the emergence and maturity of SDN and NFV, the network architect can take a more intelligent path and design a flexible system reactive to the needs of both users and operators.
This paper specifically focuses on optimizing power usage for a virtual Converged Cable Access Platform (vCCAP) data plane VNF running on standard COTS servers, and will allow an operator to understand the potential of their SDN- and NFV-based network infrastructure to enable overall greater business agility and reduce network TCO. The first section discusses power management features native within COTS servers and techniques that can be used to save power when demand is low. The next section evolves this basic approach, allowing intelligent orchestration layers to make use of workload consolidation across a pool of servers to bring average server power down to the absolute minimum. The last section look to using this downtime in one access application to do other revenue-generating work, in particular it focuses on the potential for looking across multiple fixed, mobile, and enterprise needs with the goal of maximizing total resource utilization, thus maximizing the value of the investments of the operator.
Equipping your SDN- and NFV-based access network properly can provide the capability to:
1. Pay as you grow where labor costs for upgrades are high—for example, installing based on future-forward requirements and waiting to activate until the right business case is defined
2. Reduce OpEx by pocketing power savings when demand is lower
3. Use these savings to support more system maintenance and/or security (e.g., equipment failure detection or prediction, optimized redundancy schemes, security scans)
4. Enable new commercialized and next-generation services, such as VR/AR, smart cities and homes, autonomous driving, and IoT, on the same server infrastructure.