Mapping AWS Services to the NFV Framework - Amazon EC2 Overview and Networking Introduction for Telecom Companies

Mapping AWS Services to the NFV Framework

To begin, it’s important to understand how AWS services relate to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) network functions virtualization (NFV) framework. It’s impossible to relate all services and the roles that they could play in building the entire stack, as this would be implementation-dependent. Instead, the roles of key services and how they map to the framework will be explained. A high-level mapping of AWS services to the ETSI NFV framework is depicted in the following figure.

Figure 1 - AWS services mapping to the ETSI NFV framework

The NFVI layer is built using Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, instance storage, Amazon VPC, AWS Direct Connect, and AWS Transit Gateway. The Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM) layer in traditional implementations is typically OpenStack, however, in AWS, VIM is represented by AWS native APIs. VIM can also be based on VMware. However, for most core telecom workloads, AWS native APIs represent the most relevant, cloud native approach.

Virtual network functions (VNFs) can run as either VMs or containers on top of the compute and storage infrastructure. The VNF Manager function can be fulfilled by using tools, such as AWS CloudFormation, to provision the entire infrastructure stack and then leveraging Elastic Load Balancing and dynamic scaling to elastically spin-up or spin-down the compute environment. In on-premises environments, you must purchase or develop dedicated VNFM software modules. But with AWS Cloud, the VNFM function is performed by AWS services such as AWS CloudFormation and Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling. Amazon CloudWatch provides appropriate alarm triggers to scale up or down the entire environment. CloudFormation allows you to use a simple text file to model and provision, in an automated and secure manner, all the resources needed for your applications across all Regions and accounts. This file serves as the single source of truth for your cloud environment. 

The NFV Orchestrator function is provided by the application vendor in partnership with AWS.