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Virtualization tech suits Carrier Grade Linux requirements

Jun 25, 2013 — by Eric Brown 757 views

Wind River has announced a KVM-based virtualization extension to Wind River Linux designed for the telecom industry. The Wind River Open Virtualization Profile offers an open source, real-time kernel virtualization platform that features CPU isolation and under 3-second latency, and supports future network functions virtualization (NFV) standards, says Wind River.

With bandwidth demands continuing to soar on 4G wireless networks, the telecom industry increasingly is seeking scalability short-cuts like virtualization, software defined networking (SDN), and cloud platforms.

As explained in a Wind River blog entry, the challenge lies in the fact that the performance, latency, and reliability requirements for networking equipment are much higher than for IT in general. Hence, the demand for Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) versions of embedded Linux distributions, such as Wind River Linux. Getting virtualization to work within these requirements is even more challenging, however.


Wind River Linux with carrier grade and virtualization add-ons
(click image to enlarge)


To address this conundrum, Wind River is readying a new Wind River Open Virtualization Profile (OVP) for its Wind River Linux that combines the open source Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor with a hardened, real-time Linux kernel based on Wind River Linux. The profile offers a real-time, deterministic KVM solution, complete with virtual machine management and minimum latency of less than 3 microseconds, says Wind River.

Wind River Open Virtualization Profile architecture
(click image to enlarge)


OVP enables the deployment of network services on virtual machines, enabling customers to “flexibly run intelligent services anywhere on the network, from access right to the core,” says Wind River. This can result in easier hardware consolidation and scalability, and the ability to run multiple operating systems on the same equipment simultaneously, says the company.

Wind River OVP features are said to include:

  • Real-time deterministic performance with latency measuring as low as < 3 microseconds
  • Flexible provisioning of virtual machines
  • Live migration of virtual machines
  • CPU isolation
  • Open source and compatible with Yocto Project, oVirt, OpenStack, OpenFlow, and OpenDaylight
  • Broad support for a variety of guest operating systems
  • Intel architecture optimization

The profile is initially — and perhaps exclusively — optimized for Intel CPUs. (Wind River is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel.) It is integrated with Intel Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), a set of software libraries designed to accelerate packet processing on Intel processors such as its Xeon CPUs. The profile can be used with the Intel DPDK Accelerated Open vSwitch to create an optimized virtual switching fabric, says Wind River.

According to Wind River, its new profile “is a natural step” toward emerging network functions virtualization (NFV) standards for the virtualization of telecom applications.

“Operators are looking toward NFV to support the transition to scalable platforms that enable flexible deployment of network services,” stated Jim Douglas, SVP of marketing at Wind River. “With Wind River Open Virtualization Profile, we are delivering a real-time virtualization solution to support the rigorous SLAs [service-level agreements] of a carrier network and enable them to gain the flexibility, scalability, and cost and energy benefits cloud data centers already enjoy.”

Open Virtualization Profile draws upon related technologies such as Wind River Intelligent Network Platform and the Intel-focused Wind River Open Network Software. The company also sells the Wind River Hypervisor for small-footprint embedded virtualization.

Wind River Open Virtualization Profile will be available in Q3 2013. More information may be found at Wind River’s Open Virtualization Profile product page.

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