Transition to NFV, Cloud and SDN-based infrastructure paves a range of opportunities to innovative services. However, as network functions are moved from dedicated hardware to cloud infrastructure, an additional performance impact is introduced in network services. Hence, service providers need to assess the potential impact of SLA metrics due to transition to NFV.
In addition to this, troubleshooting in a next generation network involves correlation of information across various cloud resources. This increases operational costs and makes it challenging for the administrator to correlate information across heterogeneous entities and determine the root cause.
The above factors mandate specialized monitoring and diagnostics of networks which support NFV capabilities. The diagnostics capabilities should be enabled on-demand during both validation and live deployment. Further, gaining visibility into the network and awareness of the performance levels is paramount importance.
SAMTEST for NFV Service Testing helps service providers to measure key performance indicators and troubleshoot the service degradation. The solution includes a virtual probe entity called SAMTEST vProbe, which has an ultra-compact foot print and can be quickly spun up. SAMTEST NFV is hence ideal for the Life-cycle Service Orchestration (LSO) world where dynamic service configuration, turn-up testing, on-demand monitoring is required.
SAMTEST NFV provides range of testing and monitoring across Layer 2 to Layer 7, using Veryx Virtual Test Probes (i.e. test function as a VNF). Veryx vProbes, can be spun up on commercial off the shelf (COTS) x86-based servers, or as virtualized test functions on any virtualization capable network elements including switches, routers and demarcations devices.
The coverage includes MEF CE 2.0, Y.1564, RFC 2544, Y.1731, TWAMP, TCP Benchmarking (RFC 6349), HTTP, VoIP and Video on Demand.
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With SAMTEST NFV, service providers can measure various performance metrics including bandwidth, frame delay (FD), frame delay variation (FDV) and frame loss ratio (FLR), utilizing physical or virtual probes. Further, SAMTEST NFV workflow provides automated service turn-up testing and generates birth certificate reports encompassing range of pre-built standards-based test scenarios covering 802.1 ag, Y.1731, Y.1564 and CE 2.0.
SAMTEST NFV provides the ability to ensure that the performance measurements of individual VNF entities that relate to a service, are associated correctly. For instance, the DNS query request and response time taken by a vDNS can be measured. Similarly the relevant performance metrics for other VNFs like vRouter, vCPE and vEPC can be measured.
In this scenario, a service provider can validate NFV-based network service offerings. Pre-deployment validation can be achieved utilizing physical probes or virtual probes or a combination of both. Service providers can validate SLA metrics leveraging multiple features such as bandwidth profile test. In addition, the performance can also be determined using live application servers.
Figure 1: Network Function – Pre-deployment validation on an EPL service
In an NFV deployment, while determining the end to end latency could be feasible, the root cause could be the VNF, the platform hosting the VNF or any other component across the network. SAMTEST NFV utilizes service chaining, thus allowing the service provider to determine the latency caused by select VNFs on-demand. Thus, instead of providing the end to end latency, the solution offers scope to determine intermediate latencies thus helping service providers to troubleshoot and determine to the actual bottleneck causing service degradation.
Figure 2: On-demand troubleshooting NFV latency using service chaining