MWC15: VMware vCloud for NFV with Integrated OpenStack

During Mobile World Congress 2015, VMware announced VMware vCloud for NFV with Integrated OpenStack (Link1 / Link2) – a new offering for Telcos to support their journey and success with Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Core details from the Press Release:


  • VMware vCloud for NFV Helps CSPs Achieve Sustainable Cost Reductions, Improve Time To Market
  • VMware Offers CSPs a Fast, Simple Path to OpenStack Adoption
  • Multi-Vendor vCloud NFV Platform Supports 40+ Virtual Network Functions from 30+ Vendors


The offering is tailored to the needs for Telcos to run and manage a scalable horizontal NFV Infrastructure (NFVI). It will consist of VMware’s proven Software-Defined Datacenter components: vSphere, vRealize Operations, Virtual SAN, NSX, vCloud Director and vCloud API and it will also add VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO).

vCloud NFV

To find out more about VMware’s announcements during Mobile World Congress, check out:

To find out more about NFV with VMware, check out the microsite

The VMware vCloud for NFV is the only production proven, multi-vendor NFV cloud platform and supports over 40 Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) from over 30 ecosystem partners.

With the vCloud for NFV Platform, communication service providers (CSPs) can leverage VMware’s industry-leading cloud infrastructure for faster time to market of new and differentiated services while driving sustainable cost reductions through a cloud operations model.

The VMware vCloud for NFV features VMware vSphere®, the industry-defining compute virtualization solution for the cloud; VMware NSX™, the only network virtualization platform that delivers the entire networking and security model from L2-L7 in software; VMware Virtual SAN, software-defined storage that reduces storage CapEx and OpEx; and VMware vCloud Director, a management tool for Telco cloud architectures

By moving Network Functions Virtualization into production today, VMware customers are accelerating their transformation into next-generation cloud providers, building the operational expertise needed to succeed in the cloud era ahead of their competition.

This transformation is possible as a result of the deep multi-tenancy/multi-vendor capabilities of the VMware platform combined with highly developed operations support services that deliver FCAPS for the cloud and the open application programming interfaces (APIs) for integration northbound to applications and service orchestration platforms.

VMware NSX – ESX for Networking

Do you still remember the first virtual machine you created? The first hypervisor-based server that you worked with? I do. And do you want to know why? Because it was such a great experience compared to all the steps that were related to setting up a physical server in the datacenter. Identifying a rack, network cabling, ordering storage capacity, labeling all cables… But before that you had to choose the appropriate (final) server hardware. What does the customer actually need? 2 or 4 sockets? How much memory? How many NICs? Because any hardware upgrade would become pretty complex. You still remember those days? I don’t want to go back…

So, where are we today? We still need to deploy servers in racks. But (at least to my observation), this process has lost it’s complexity. Besides a certain standardization of ESXi hosts and their storage and network connectivity, resource pooling and capacity management on a cluster or virtual datacenter level brought more agility to the infrastructure.

Deploying a new VM on an existing vSphere infrastructure is pretty easy. From a compute and memory perspective, there is (nearly) always an empty slot somewhere in the cluster.

For storage, the introduction of Thin Provisioning and Storage DRS have provided lots of flexibility as well. You are now able to place new VMDKs on shared datastores more efficiently. And – if necessary – there is still the option to change the size of the individual VM or to (Storage) vMotion a VM for example from it’s temporary to a production location. Elasticity, flexibility, agility – we are done, aren’t we?

We are not. One of the biggest limitations I am seeing these days is around networking. Truth is, compute and memory resources are very often fragmented by networking constraints. “This VLAN is not available in this part of the datacenter”, “the customer can only work with this VLAN/IP range”, “we don’t have Firewall capacity and need to order a new hardware appliance in this network segment”. If you hear any of these comments, it means additional complexity. And time.

Last year, VMware acquired a company called Nicira to address this “missing piece” of the Software-Defined Datacenter vision. And just a few weeks back, VMware announced “NSX” – or “ESX for Networking” as I will call it.

In VMware NSX, the very best of Nicira’s Network Virtualization Platform (NVP) and VMware’s vCloud Networking and Security will come together to virtualize the network.

Quoting the blog article:

VMware NSX exposes a complete suite of simplified logical networking elements and services including logical switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, VPN, QoS, monitoring, and security; arranged in any topology with isolation and multi-tenancy through programmable APIs – deployed on top of any physical IP network fabric, resident with any compute hypervisor, connecting to any external network, and consumed by any cloud management platform (e.g. vCloud, OpenStack, CloudStack).

Personally, I am pretty excited about the things to come. And the day, on which I can say: I virtualized my first network