Akamai AURA Licensed CDN (LCDN) has been part of the thought leadership leading towards NFV and SDN. To begin with, members of the Akamai AURA team participated in the pre-NFV PoC (via Verivue) that led to the vCDN use case defined in the NFV whitepaper [http://bit.ly/nfvpaper]. Furthermore, Akamai has validated and deployed the AURA components leveraging VMware vSphere at existing customer premises since 2012.
Moving forward, Akamai is pursuing a comprehensive network operator NFV/SDN strategy, which has three key objectives:
1. To prepare Akamai’s LCDN capabilities so as to natively support the network operators’ orchestrated virtualization efforts.
2. To explore the ways in which SDN solutions simplify the integration and deployment of a virtualized LCDN in the operator’s overall network footprint.
3. To participate in the emerging NFV MANO [http://bit.ly/nfvmano] efforts in order to insert into the integration effort needed to manage virtualized LCDN elements via 3rd-party service orchestration solutions.
In pursuit of this strategy, Akamai is feeding requirements and features into NFV and SDN solutions through our strategic partners. Akamai’s goal for LCDN is to be a Virtual Network Function (VNF) that will work with the any of underlying Network Function Virtualization (NFV) platforms, thereby preventing vendor lock-in and providing a wider choice for operators. For example, Akamai has announced a partnership with Juniper to demonstrate the various ways its Contrail SDN Controller significantly reduces logistical and administrative overhead for the broad scale deployment of the AURA LCDN at network operators [http://bit.ly/SDNNFV]. Juniper is a founding member of the Open NFV Project - OPNFV [http://bit.ly/opnfv] and is a member of the ETSI NFV [http://bit.ly/ETSINFVmembrs].
At present Akamai’s AURA Licensed CDN is leveraging Openstack, as it is the leading virtualized infrastructure orchestration solution promoted by the ETSI NFV ISG. Openstack based solutions -- such as Juniper Contrail, VMware Integrated Openstack (VIO) and HP’s Helion Openstack -- enable Akamai to quickly and efficiently automate laborious tasks of building and deploying CDN infrastructure.
Furthermore, Openstack based solutions together with Contrail SDN enable network provisioning automation that leads to a set of benefits such as Elasticity, Consolidation and Hardware Abstraction. The OpenStack VM automation and Contrail SDN network automation lets the Aura LCDN solution elastically spin-up or spin-down CDN infrastructure resources on-demand throughout the operator’s network footprint. Conversely the Aura LCDN solution can consolidate CDN infrastructure onto less physical server infrastructure to achieve higher CDN density per rack unit of hardware. Hardware Abstraction separates the AURA Licensed CDN Software from the underlying hardware to provide true Software-as-a-Service while providing much greater choice of hardware for the operator.