What do we want to give users with SURFnet8? This was the key question that we asked ourselves before we started building SURFnet8. And the answer? A network that allows users to explain what they want and then sets about accomplishing that autonomously.
From stable Internet connection to firewalls
At the same time, we noticed that the demand from the institutions connected to SURFnet had changed. Previously, they were looking for a fast and stable Internet connection or light path, perhaps to a data centre or other site, but that has since evolved into a demand for additional service provision. This includes the elements that are essential to many institutions, such as firewalls and Virtual Private Network (VPN) concentrators.
From the procurement of major equipment to licences
Developments in technology in recent years contribute to realising these ideas – not only are virtualisation technologies better and more efficient, but developers are seeing the role of software licences change. In the past, a major hardware item was purchased with a licence for specific functions, and that licence would last for the entire service life of the equipment. Today, there is much more focus on software over hardware, with developers modelling their licences on usage – pay-per-use licences. This gives institutions the opportunity to purchase products such as firewalls for a period of, for example, just two hours on a Tuesday afternoon with a licence for a basic firewall and no more than one Gigabit of traffic. The licence is charged on the basis of duration, use of resources (such as memory and processor capacity) and the licence, which in turn is based on the options required. Nothing more and nothing less.
Cloud-style service provision
By combining virtualisation technologies, pay-per-use models and our Automation and Orchestration platform, which is still under development, we can offer flexible service provision because we are accustomed to work with the cloud. This way, we can issue licences for virtual equipment, such as firewalls, routers and switches, based on usage and duration. We can also provide, configure and manage the virtual equipment using automation.
Towards a network function virtualisation infrastructure
In this blog series, we want to share information on the development of infrastructure that is based on network function virtualisation (NFV). NFV allows us to replace a network’s physical hardware components with an unlimited number of virtual, software-based components. This makes NFV an ideal solution for a more flexible and scalable network – a cloud-type system where we can manage and/or process network traffic at high speed with as little delay (low latency) as possible.