By Jeff Gowan
Once critical infrastructure operators decide to virtualize network functions and applications, getting started can seem daunting even for the most advanced IT teams. If the project overruns the budget or schedule, anticipated cost savings and efficiency gains can dwindle and undermine the original business case for virtualization.
But implementing network virtualization doesn’t have to be so difficult. The level of complexity, as well as the time and resources required, will depend in large part on the design of the underlying virtualization platform. Operators have various choices when it comes to software platforms, but few can deliver the full business benefits of operational cost savings and increased flexibility and productivity. A well-designed virtualization platform will make getting started simple and cost efficient.
Let’s look at the installation and commissioning process. Installation may not be top of mind in an operator’s vendor selection process, but it is an important factor in the calculation of projected cost savings. The process varies widely among different platforms. For example, operators can build their own platform by starting with the latest OpenStack distribution or adopt a platform that was originally designed for enterprise environments.
If operators choose to build their own platform by starting with the latest OpenStack distribution, they can expect installation to be time-consuming and complicated while also requiring significant in-house expertise. With plain, vanilla OpenStack, users must set up a separate installation node and every server must be manually configured, whether it is a controller, compute or storage node. All the images needed for deployment need to be acquired as well as the separate installation instructions for the images.
There is no automated provisioning with vanilla OpenStack. If someone introduces a mistake in the configuration, troubleshooting takes a long time. Indeed, it could take days to complete the installation, configuration and troubleshooting. Going with a build-your-own platform can add as much as 12 to 24 months to the entire deployment process.
For most critical infrastructure operators, such a scenario would be unacceptable. They need the installation and commissioning process to be automated, repeatable and efficient. And that’s exactly what the Wind River Titanium Cloud portfolio of virtualization platforms delivers.
Titanium Cloud is inherently designed to be fast and easy to install and configure. For starters, it is delivered as a pre-integrated, single image package that can be deployed from a USB or download. There is no need to get multiple different images and installation instructions, nor is there a need for a separate installation node. Installation is run on the initial controller node, rather than a separate installer node. Unlike the build-your-own approach, Titanium Cloud can be up and running in just 20 minutes.
Automated provisioning and simple GUI and CLI-based wizards enable the single image to install and configure each node without manual intervention for any sized deployment – from two nodes to a large-scale implementation. The system automatically discovers nodes and resources and then assigns the profiles and functions for each one, be it a control, compute or storage node. The network interfaces are also defined.
But the installation and configuration process doesn’t end there. The set-up wizard stores all the configuration parameters so that when the system needs to be expanded, users do not have to start all over again from scratch. Titanium Cloud nodes then perform a system self-check and put themselves into service.
Simple, repeatable and automated installation saves time and money for critical infrastructure operators. It not only makes it easier to get started with network virtualization, but it also contributes greatly to the cost savings of the overall business case.
Furthermore, Titanium Cloud’s simple, cost-effective installation and commissioning allows critical infrastructure operators to focus on their core business. They are responsible for communications networks, transportation systems, energy production, industrial manufacturing and healthcare provision, just to name a few of the critical operations they deliver. With Titanium Cloud, they don’t have to devote a disproportionate amount of time and resources to the virtualization of network functions. They can instead focus on what matters most to their businesses, such as service quality, workplace safety and operational efficiency.
For more on how Titanium Cloud virtualization platforms deliver business benefits for critical infrastructure operators, please watch our recent video series and download the new whitepaper on this topic.