ZTE discusses construction of NFVI networks in 5G transformation

Chen Zhiwei, Deputy General Manager of ZTE Transport Network Product Line, is responsible for operation and management of switch product line. Mr. Chen joined ZTE in 2006 and engaged in product R&D, market operation, and product management. He has more than 10 years of R&D and product management experiences in the data communication field.

I’d love to hear a little more about the company — what are some of the differentiating factors and value propositions that you provide in terms of scalability and enterprise readiness for your devices? This is a good time to share some keywords that you’d like to use in terms of your messaging.

ZTE provides complete product solutions in vertical network function virtualization (NFVI) scenarios. Simultaneously, ZTE builds an open ecosystem that supports layer decoupling for NFVI.

In operators’ telecom cloud scenarios, customers primarily show interest in manageable and controllable networks. ZTE’s complete solutions in the vertical scenarios provide unique toolsets to improve network O&M efficiency and resource utilization. 

In enterprise private cloud scenarios, users pay more attention to the adaptability of the solutions, so the open ecosystem built by ZTE can play a more valuable role.

Finally, ZTE’s devices also support 1:N and N:1 virtualization to meet differentiated demands of network capacity in various other NFVI scenarios.

Who is the ideal ZTE customer and how are you helping them succeed?

The ZTE NFVI solution targets the operators’ telecom cloud scenarios, IT cloud scenarios, and enterprise private cloud scenarios.

ZTE is a traditional telecom equipment provider. In operators’ telecom cloud scenarios and IT cloud scenarios, we introduce the “manageable, controllable and visualized” O&M ideology in traditional WAN into the telecom cloud and have developed a series of tool kits. 

Based on ZTE’s accumulated experience in traditional WAN, they can well address the operator’s requirements for agility and automation, as well as carrier-grade manageability & controllability in NFVI scenarios. 

Moreover, together with ZTE’s WAN solution, ZTE’s NFVI solution can provide a cloud-network synergy solution and differentiated advantages for customers. In enterprise private cloud scenarios, customers prioritize different things. We can build customized solutions for the customers based on the open ecosystem built by ZTE. 

Tell me a bit about the first version of the NFVI solution — what were some of the original customer pain points you were initially aiming to solve?

NFVI1.0 is mainly used in commercial scenarios of SDN-based cloud data centers. Compared to the traditional data center, the major demand of cloud data centers is virtualization – to support elastic scaling and dynamic migration of tenants’ services. 

The core dilemma in the network is agility and automation, so the final goal is to enable network deployment to the cloud.

Can you talk to me a bit more about what sets your company’s NFVI solution apart — versions aside?

ZTE is the only vendor in the industry that can provide not only complete end-to-end solutions but also open ecosystem solutions based on multi-layer decoupling. 

Further, ZTE can also provide cloud-network synergy solutions for server operators. 

What triggered the movement towards your  product or solution? What was the journey like for your team to get there?

Cloud data centers feature virtual-physical decoupling to enable network deployment with the cloud. The solution addresses the requirements of fast service deployment, elastic scaling, and migration. 

Virtual-physical decoupling makes O&M like a black box. The O&M mode in traditional data centers is invalid in the virtualized scenarios, and virtual-physical decoupling also brings unbalanced resource utilization.

ZTE is planning to solve the above problems by enabling the following network capabilities:

1) Network health inspection: We know cloud data centers feature virtual-physical decoupling, making it difficult to locate faults. Through network health inspection and prediction, the probability of network faults can be reduced efficiently. 

2) We introduce the “manageable, controllable and visualized” ideology of WAN to offer the cloud data center networks fast fault location and self-healing capabilities. 

3) Two-way adaptation: the current cloud data center network adapts to the requirements of applications, which often causes an unbalanced network load. ZTE is planning to enable applications to adapt to the status of network resources.

These capabilities can help improve network O&M efficiency and resource utilization. 

The race to 5G is imminent. How is your company prepared to keep up with some of the changes that come as providers begin the process of restructuring from 4G to 5G?

The telecom cloud is now in the window phase of 4G core network virtualization reconstruction and virtualization-based 5G core network construction. ZTE’s NFVI provides multi-level DC construction solutions: from core DC to 5G-oriented MEC solution, and from single-DC construction to cross-DC construction solutions to meet the requirements of various application scenarios. 

Do you have any advice for telecom cloud networks looking to keep up? How can you help them with the transition?

ZTE’s NFVI is a solution that addresses the requirements of telecom cloud networks, as ZTE provides end-to-end solutions in the vertical scenarios. To meet the operators’ requirements for differentiated competition, ZTE also provides cloud-network synergy solutions to bring the advantages of operators’ WAN networks into full play. 

What challenges did the MAN solution pose, and why would you say the integration with NFVI is such a complex challenge and concern for operators?

Compared to other cloud service providers, the operators’ advantage lies in cloud-network synergy. But to make use of this advantage, operators must reconstruct their existing MANs. The design ideology – online devices and technical solutions on the existing MANs – is far from meeting the requirements of cloud-network synergy. 

At the same time, operators also need to upgrade the existing MANs to support 5G networking: bringing the advantage of cloud-network synergy into full play during the upgrade reconstruction is the main challenge and concern for operators. 

ZTE’s cloud-network synergy solution is designed to help with this challenge. It can address the 5G upgrade demand, all while realizing cloud-network synergy at the same time to make the best of operators’ differentiated advantages.

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