Getting Real Performance from a Virtualized CCAP (2017)

By Mark Szczesniak, Casa Systems, Inc.

Virtualization of network functions and software defined networking (SDN) control of those functions promises service providers tantalizing benefits including faster time to market for new services, lower costs, and higher customer satisfaction. These benefits are particularly important as competition and user demand continue to rise year after year. But, virtualized solutions need to not only exist but also perform at least as well as their legacy counterparts. This is the challenge service providers are coming up against as virtualization initiatives try to make their way out of the lab and into the field.

The good news is that there are answers for the performance challenge. In the technical paper “Getting Real Performance from a Virtualized CCAP,” Casa Systems will present the underlying performance challenges inherent in implementing converged cable access platform (CCAP) functionality (video, IP voice and data) on the current generation of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) x86 servers.

These challenges include:

  • Guaranteeing performance of shared network function virtualization (NFV) infrastructure
  • Designing for security in the face of cryptographic performance constraints in virtualized environments
  • Providing maximum packet throughput for virtual network functions (VNFs)

This paper will explore each of these challenges and present the underlying factors driving these issues. Further, this paper will explore alternative solutions available today and options service providers should consider as they introduce virtualized CCAP in their networks. Some of the solution aspects to be explored include:

  • Optimum server performance characteristics
  • Optimum NFV infrastructure and configuration
  • Using software solutions like Linux new API (NAPI) or data plane development kit (DPDK) to enhance server performance
  • Enhancing VNFs for maximum performance and throughput

By analyzing the underlying challenges inherent in virtualizing full CCAP functions, and understanding the options available today to help overcome those challenges, this paper seeks to aid the advancement of virtual CCAP in the field.

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