NFV Management & Orchestration with TOSCA

NFV, (network function virtualization), is the growing need by Telcos and enterprises to deploy, manage and scale their network functions and services on standardized hardware. Cloudify, provides the full end-to-end lifecycle of NFV orchestration, from installation, provisioning, configuration and deployment through management and monitoring of your application or service in order for the system to take proactive actions, such as healing and scaling based on custom triggers, i.e. Day 0 through Day 2 support, all through a simple TOSCA-based YAML blueprint.

NFV Lab On Deman

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Cloudify participates in and sponsors diverse NFV projects and standards organizations, to help contribute to open source NFV MANO adoption.


GigaSpaces is an active participant in the TOSCA Technical Committee (TC) with 10 current members, while co-chairing the Instance Model workgroup, tasked with providing a complete representation of the state of a TOSCA service template deployment, as well as the Technical Marketing and Education ad-hoc, which promotes TOSCA's message and capabilities, and is building a community around the standard.

GigaSpaces is a member of the MEF Forum, and a leading member of the OpenLSO Service Function Chaining team. This team introduced service function chaining to the MEF's CE 2.0 services for the first time at the Euro16 LSO Hackathon, and is hard at work with introducing added functionality to the L3 layer to support complex SFC use cases.

Cloudify has decided to release its core capabilities to the Apache Foundation through the ARIA project. ARIA is an open governance and source orchestration engine, providing an actual code base and library built on TOSCA, to strengthen TOSCA's adoption and enable simple incorporation to orchestration projects.

The Open-O project is a Linux Foundation-backed project to develop an open-source NFV orchestrator that is also trying to standardize the way the orchestrator interfaces with other software elements in NFV. Cloudify are premier and founding members, joining immediately when launched in February 2016. The Open-O Mini Summit took place during the OPNFV Summit in Berlin, where the Cloudify team led a panel and a session on TOSCA/YANG interoperability. The Cloudify team serves in diverse roles in Open-O, Board Members and Treasurer, as well as on the Technical Steering Committee and Marketing Committee.

Deutsche Telekom SDN & NFV Architecture Using Cloudify Orchestration

Watch the video from the SDN OpenFlow World Congress on Deutsche Telekom's journey to becoming a Software Defined Operator with open source tooling, including Cloudify.

Pure-Play Standard-Driven NFV Made Easy

Cloudify, was built from the bottom up as an open source pure-play generic cloud orchestrator, enabling us to focus entirely on optimizing orchestration and management targeted towards NFV, being designed to integrate seamlessly with industry-embraced networking standards and modeling languages such as ETSI & MANO, YANG, NETCONF/RESTCONF, and TOSCA. This means it is specifically geared for integration, making it possible to run any workload on any cloud environment, regardless of vendor or technology stack.

Many big Telcos have chosen and are evaluating Cloudify in large part due to it being open source, as well as modular in nature, enabling pluggability with existing and new toolsets and environments. In addition to serving as the NFVO, Cloudify is also capable of fulfilling the role of VNF manager (VNFM), and has proven multi-VIM capabilities.

On top of this, Cloudify provides many plugins to interface with peripheral network databases, such as DNS and LDAP, SDN controllers - ODL and more - including the full service management and chaining, and has already demonstrated its capabilities to orchestrate large subsystems like IMS, internet activation and provisioning per tenant out of the box . With the ability to have one manager that supports multiple clouds (from VMware to OpenStack) as well as multiple data centers and availability zones, Cloudify, is very attractive to mid to large Telcos, ISPs, and enterprises with a hybrid cloud model, enabling easy migration between past install-bases, and the current trendiest infrastructure including containers (see our Kubernetes example), through the next technology that hasn’t even yet landed.

Key Solution Benefits

Cloudify is the only pure-play orchestration framework uniquely positioned to fit into heterogeneous enterprise and Telco environments, and also includes:

  • TOSCA-based, pure-play standard-driven orchestration
  • Topology-driven and application-centric management and monitoring of the entire NFV lifecycle
  • Integration with any tool chain
  • Support for any application stack, with native OpenStack, bare metal, and virtual appliance support (enabling portability to any cloud and hybrid cloud models)
  • Support for containerized and non-containerized workloads
  • Designed for federated deployment
  • Support legacy network functions
  • Built in auto-healing and auto-scaling policies for deployed applications
  • Embeddable (OEM)

  • VMware is just one such company that has selected Cloudify as their orchestration platform of choice to launch applications and VNFs on vCloud Director (vCD), VMware Integrated OpenStack, vCloud Air, and even vSphere and vRealize. To watch the recent webinar on this, as well as a live demo visit: Cloudify for VMware.

Use Case: Data Plane Acceleration with Enhanced Platform Awareness

The successful adoption of NFV highly depends on the ability of a virtualized cloud infrastructure to deliver sufficient performance compared to existing proprietary network appliances. Many network functions today are I/O intensive, sending many packets of data over a short time frame, and the generic hardware prevalent among telcos and carriers is simply not equipped nor configured to handle this kind of load, or deliver the level of performance required.

Advanced processor and networking technologies embedded in silicon and in PCIe devices (commonly referred to as Data Plane Acceleration) solve the hardware challenge - but only when coupled with Enhanced Platform Awareness (EPA) and Intelligent workload-aware orchestration, telco and carrier-grade NFV performance are enabled.

The ability of an intelligent orchestrator to perform both smart placement and configuration to be able to best leverage these capabilities, all while ensuring high availability and low latency is critical to the performance and reliability of large-scale NFV systems these days.

Doing so on a multi-VIM environment, supporting both OpenStack and VMware stacks, enables carriers to run their mission and performance critical workloads in cloud environments without compromising performance, all the while getting simple, easy to use, service orchestration, leveraging cloud management best practices and a truly open architecture.

Watch the demo to learn more.

Cloudify & ETSI's MANO

ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, defined a standard reference architecture to achieve NFV, where an integral part of this architecture is the MANO - the NFV management and orchestration layer.


MANO based on TOSCA

MANO is the layer defined by ETSI that manages and orchestrates the cloud infrastructure and resources, and it is comprised of the following elements:

  • The VIM (Virtual Infrastructure Manager), essentially controls the interaction of the VNF with the compute, networking and storage resources of the chosen NFVI (i.e. cloud or virtualization layer).
  • The VNFM (Virtual Network Function Manager), is responsible for the VNF lifecycle management - e.g. it takes action on instantiation, termination, failover, scaling in and out, and more. Cloudify serves as a generic VNF manager (G-VNFM) and enables full automation of all lifecycle stages for any network function. See this video example of vIMS management.
  • The NFVO (NFV Orchestrator), as its name implies, basically serves the purposes of orchestrating and managing end to end network services, through the complex NFV architecture, including integration with SDN controllers, OSS/BSS systems, and more. Cloudify provides a fully open NFVO, learn more about NFV & SDN, and more.

ETSI's MANO is intended to provide the full end-to-end lifecycle of NFV orchestration and management – from installation and deployment through post-deployment, or in the telco industry terminology - Day 0 through Day 2 support.

As MANO is currently just a guideline all implementations of MANO are proprietary, aside from the TOSCA-based agnostic implementation that also enables the plugging in of additional standards like YANG/Netconf for service chaining.

The telco industry is known to be very standard driven, therefore, the alignment with MANO is an important element for NFV adoption, where many Telcos and Enterprises these days are searching for modeling languages to help achieve the goal of application and network orchestration, and are betting on OpenStack and the nature of standards-driven open source cloud to help deliver this in the real world. This is where the importance and adoption of a standard like TOSCA becoming an important criterion in the choice of an orchestration platform.

TOSCA has the combination of declarative descriptions of the application topology with all its components - including the load balancer, network, the compute resources, software and everything else, along with an imperative set of workflows to describe the logic of any process we need to automate. What this means from an NFV perspective, is that TOSCA is very good when it comes to defining virtual application topologies, VNF dependencies and relationships, actions to be performed as part of a lifecycle. This significantly simplifies the complexities involved with exposing networking elements and end-to-end lifecycle management for NFV, by abstracting the networking piece of the deployment into an application blueprint.

You can learn more about the TOSCA spec in our docs.

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