Quobis is a Spanish company leader in the delivery of carrier-class unified communications solutions with a special focus on security and interconnection.
“Thanks to SONATA, in Quobis we are successfully adopting NFV paradigms in our product lines.”
“Network slicing is one of the most innovative and challenging features in SONATA and it can give a meaningful foundation to be able to deliver QoE-aware services in the short term”
(Antón Roman, Quobis CTO)
Modern applications, from critical Internet of Things (IoT) systems to real time multimedia communications, require low and stable latencies in order to be useful. NFV architectures associated to running the network services must be able to warrant that latency values are contained within a range of tolerable values. The extension of Network Slicing to the SONATA NFV Service Platform allows to customise end-to-end QoS to the different applications and the specific user profiles. This is achieved by enforcing the use of the network segment which better fits the QoS profiles specified in the network service definition. The use of this extension in SONATA enables the control of all the network segments that the traffic of a specific network service goes through.
Another innovation in SONATA enabling the deployment of services with very low-delay requirements is the introduction of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which are agreed by the operator and business customers (industries) so that both of them can know beforehand what performance can be expected from the network. SONATA provides a monitoring system to watch the performance of the network service and it triggers an SLA violation alert if any compromised parameter reaches the defined threshold (e.g. the real-time traffic jitter exceeds a defined value). This enables the setup of premium and added-value services, which can help operators to use their networks in a more efficient way and, at the same time, increase their average revenue per user.
SONATA’s innovative combination of network slices and SLAs enables the application of different QoS not only within the datacenter, but also in network segments controlled by the service operator.
Adopting SONATA integrated platform, Quobis demonstrates how these new features can be applied to a real environment, concretely, running a complete video-conference real-time application based on the Sippo Unified Communication solution developed by Quobis. In order to take advantage of the newly-introduced capabilities, Quobis has implemented two services (Gold and Silver) which use different network slices in order to provide different QoS parameters to the final user of the video-conference. Each service flavour enforces different values of jitter and packet loss in the network segments controlled by the SONATA NFV platform. For example, an operator could assign the Gold flavour to enterprise subscribers and the Silver flavour to free best-effort users.
Quobis is testing four different scenarios adopting SONATA NFV platform with a developed videoconference network service.
Best-effort video-conference services
The network service provides best-effort real-time communication capabilities to the users to enable videoconferences, IM and other real-time collaboration tools.
Premium video-conference services (Gold and Silver QoS)
The network service is sensitive to some of the QoS measures such as bandwidth, packet loss and jitter, serving two kinds of users with different requirements. Network slicing provides flexibility to the owner of the physical resources when deploying different QoS over the same physical network.
Edge video-conference services
The videoconference service improves considering the delay sensitive VNFs, such as the media server (VNF-MS).
Video-conference scaling out/in services
The videoconference service considers the need to scale in or out the VNF-MS and the VNF-WAC (web application controller).
The second scenario, “Premium video-conference services (Gold and Silver QoS)”, needs to provide different QoS for different types of clients. Therefore, the main goal of using slices in this pilot is to provide flexibility when deploying different QoS over the same physical network.
Both network slices will have the same exact services but each one with a different QoS. By doing this, the owner of the physical resources will be able to create multiple network slices and manage them by fulfilling each one individually with QoS requirements. Using QoS parameters, such as allocated bandwidth, will provide different QoS characteristics at link level. Using SONATA platform, it is possible to select the QoS needed by selecting an SLA for each network service within the slice.
To deploy a collaboration system for real-time communications over SONATA NFV Platform, Quobis has setup multiple network slices. Each instance of a collaboration system for real-time communications is deployed on each network slice, with different QoS requirements, leveraging all the automatic procedures provided by SONATA to instantiate an operative network slices including network services in just a few minutes with almost no effort.
NETWORK SERVICES DEVELOPED
The videoconference service enables real-time videoconferences using media, application and platform VNFs.
To implement the four scenarios defined above, one network service is necessary that enables real-time videoconferences using media, application and platform VNFs. Concretely, the Videoconference Service consists of 6 VNFs: Reverse proxy (VNF-RP), WAC (VNF-WAC), Backend services (VNF-BS), Dispatcher (VNF-DS), Media server (VNF-MS), Function Specific Manager (FSM) and Service Specific Manager (SSM).
Reverse proxy (VNF-RP)
Its goal is to receive all the HTTP and WebSocket traffic coming from the Internet. Besides, it includes a central monitoring system built with Simple Networking Management Protocol (SNMP), used to check network and user management data from every VNF-WAC and VNF-MS. This means, the VNF-RP plays also a role of SNMP proxy in charge of the gathering the SNMP variables from the rest of VNFs and calculate the global variables requested by the SONATA platform monitoring system. The values provided in these SNMP variables will instruct the scale in/out of the VNFs and will also be used to conclude any violation of the SLAs.
The WebRTC Application Controller VNF (VNF-WAC) includes the Sippo Server and the Signaling Server (QSS) in charge of the WebRTC communication. Besides, it includes an SNMP service used to monitor user data, such as the user registrations. This information is requested by the SNMP proxy in the VNF-RP to inform of the need of either increasing or decreasing the number of VNF-WAC in the service.
Backend services (VNF-BS)
It is composed by a MongoDB database and RabbitMQ server and it is common to all the VNFs requiring of these services.
It is used to ask for media rooms to create the multimedia sessions. Any new Media Server added to the system will register against the Dispatcher so that it can be eligible to create new rooms. The same happens with any new instance of the WAC, they will contact this VNF to request new rooms.
Media server (VNF-MS)
It is in charge of receiving and relaying the media during the videoconferences. Furthermore, it includes an SNMP service used to monitor network parameters (bandwidth, jitter and packet loss) affecting the QoS of the communication. This information is requested by the SNMP proxy in the VNF-RP to increase or decrease the number of VNF-MS in the service.
Function Specific Manager (FSM)
Most of the VNFs need an FSM to modify their internal services configuration. Each VNF counts with one or more services running in the inside that need other VNF’s address information to enable the communication inside the NS deployed. Nevertheless, the information relative to other VNFs is not accessible at FSM level. The solution to this problem is to implement an SSM (specific manager operating at service level, see next VNF) to extend the information received by each FSM. Therefore, each FSM will receive information about all the others, allowing the complete configuration of the NS deployed.
Service Specific Manager (SSM)
Its purpose is to increase the information provided to each FSM. It extends the data about the VNFs being deployed (i.e. IPs, names, etc.) in the content sent to each FSM. Therefore, when it comes to configure each service, the FSMs receive this amplified information and they are capable of accessing any data of interest.
Thanks to SONATA, Quobis has been able to evolve their existing real-time communication system redefining the architecture of their platform in terms on NSs and VNFs, using containers for all the services and adding also monitoring elements. This translates into an improvement of Quobis real-time platform that offers now four different new services to their clients. Contact us to know more.