AMD's Hierofalcon SoC aimed at operators implementing NFV

AMD took the wraps off its 64-bit ARMv8 system-on-chip (SoC) that is designed for network function virtualization (NFV), showcasing the processor running virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) applications during the ARM TechCon event in Santa Clara, Calif.

Codenamed "Hierofalcon," AMD's Embedded R-Series SoC is already sampling to the company's embedded customers. The company contends its NFV solution "will be especially valuable for telecommunications network infrastructure providers interested in a flexible software-defined networking (SDN) implementation to manage networking services with configurable hardware to help reduce complexity and cost."

NFV enables telecom operators to virtualize hardware functions and shift network functions from dedicated hardware appliances to generic servers, helping operators slash capex and opex. SDN complements NFV by enabling operators to use software to control network functions and policies in the cloud, which can open the door to service agility and new revenue opportunities.

AMD said its TechCon demo included an embedded Linux-based virtual NFV solution that showed a mobile packet core network running subscriber calls from simulated evolved Node B (eNodeB) user equipment, such as a cell phone or tablet, with serving gateway (SGW), packet data network Gateway (PGW), and mobility management entity (MME) control and data plane functions hosted on the Hierofalcon AMD Embedded R-Series SoC.

Scott Aylor, vice president and general manager of the embedded systems division at AMD, told The Register that AMD chose the ARMv8 processor rather than an Intel x86 for the Hierofalcon because ARM cores can be coupled tightly to network interface controllers in silicon, which enables optimized NFV. The resulting SoCs can consume less power than x86 versions and be delivered in small packages for easier installation in dense, urban areas.

AMD's demo showcased a live traffic migration between the Hierofalcon Embedded R-Series SoC and the x86-based second-generation AMD R-Series APU. "By leveraging ARM and x86 architectures and NFV, AMD is moving beyond just enabling enterprise and data center solutions, to the communications backbone where service providers need cost reduction and increased bandwidth," said Adrian Neal, technology leader, Vodafone Group Services.

For more:
- see this AMD release
- see The Register article

Related articles:
AT&T, Sprint, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia and more join forces for open-source NFV effort
MEF paves own SDN/NFV path with its 'Third Network' concept
Infonetics Research: New revenue is leading driver for SDN and NFV

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