Increasing processor performance and virtualized network architectures are opening up new opportunities for rackmount appliance platforms. Service providers are finding they can replace fixed function network appliances with virtualized network functions (VNFs) running on rackmount appliance platforms and carrier grade servers. In some cases an $80,000 network appliance can be replaced by a 2U rackmount appliance platform and third-party software at a significantly lower cost. Rackmount appliance platforms can also be used to replace large and relatively expensive chassis-based systems that used previous generations of processors.
Network appliance platforms are being used for a wide range of networking applications, including security, media gateways, wide area network (WAN) optimization, load balancing and Open vSwitch (OVS). Network appliance platforms and carrier grade servers can also be used more widely in software-defined networking (SDN)-based data centers and virtualized network solutions based on network functions virtualization (NFV).
Rackmount appliance platforms provide an ideal solution for medium scale SDN and NFV implementations. The blend of high performance server class processors, packet processing acceleration, storage and high speed networking interfaces delivers performance previously expected from much larger systems. The use of standard server processors, acceleration software and hardware designed to work with standard operating systems and VNFs, means there is no development downside to using rackmount appliance platforms rather than standard enterprise grade or carrier grade servers.
The next generation of rackmount appliance platforms will support a significantly greater number of 10GE, 40GE and 100GE interfaces. These next generation platforms will also need to provide more advanced packet processing acceleration. To keep the cost of these platforms under control the packet processing acceleration will need to be integrated into the main system processors. These could either be the future Intel Xeon D or one of the ARMv8 based processors that already have advanced packet processing acceleration. These developments will further enhance the value of rackmount appliance platforms.
Rackmount Appliance Platforms Accelerate SDN/NFV details and analyzes rackmount appliance platforms, carrier grade servers and software solutions from 15 leading vendors in this important market. The report profiles the vendors and reviews specific platform architectures, identifying the key features and highlighting the advantages they hold for system developers and service providers.