Accelerating the Shift to NFV and SDN with Optimized Solutions from Intel and Red Hat

Network transformation is an end state for many in the industry, yet I think of it as more of an evolutionary journey. It is the collective effort of the industry ecosystem to move the network infrastructure towards a state that is agile, flexible, reliable, optimized, and full of rich services that can be easily deployed to the consumers. As part of this journey, two years ago we launched Intel® Network Builders to accelerate the network function virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) ecosystem. Whilst working closely with numerous ecosystem partners and service providers, we realized our transformation journey requires additional pillars in the form of optimizations for carriers, integration to pull pieces of the use cases together, and interoperable solutions. These pillars address key barriers to deployment and provide end-to-end solutions to service providers.

These new pillars are at the heart of collaborations between Intel and Red Hat unveiled today. Via the Intel® Network Builders Fast Track program, Intel and Red Hat are working together to deliver end-to-end solutions for NFV and SDN that are optimized, integrated, and interoperable—the three pillars of the Fast Track program. These collaborative efforts will drive the development of integrated and deployable solutions, promote interoperability across different ingredients in the overall solution, and accelerate the adoption of standards-based technologies using Intel® Architecture (IA).

Let’s take a closer look at the three pillars of the Intel-Red Hat collaborations for NFV and SDN.


At the optimization level, Intel and Red Hat are working to create a robust, highly optimized hardware and software foundation for NFV and SDN. The building blocks for this foundation are proven Intel and Red Hat offerings that the industry can use to jumpstart solutions.

Intel technology ingredients currently integrated successfully into Red Hat’s commercial offerings are CPU pinning to NFV workloads, NUMA awareness, Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK), Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard Instructions (AES-NI) and Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) for OpenStack Enhanced Platform Awareness (EPA).

In another area of optimization, Intel and Red Hat are working to accelerate innovation on the Intel® Open Network Platform reference architecture. The goal is to enable the development of solutions with compelling total cost of ownership (TCO) for customers.

Future areas of optimization on which Intel and Red Hat may collaborate include OpenStack and Neutron, containers, service assurance, OpenDaylight, virtual switching, and NFV infrastructure

And as part of  Intel® Network Builders University’s goal to drive technical education for the broader Intel® Network Builders community, Intel and Red Hat plan to provide training on the Red Hat products and offerings, optimized on IA, that are critical for end-to-end NFV solution deployment.


Under the integration pillar, Intel and Red Hat will collaborate to deliver integrated solution blueprints for the most critical NFV use cases. These use cases, the ones most requested by customers, include Virtual Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE), Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC), and Virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS).

Intel and Red Hat plan to collaborate with key telecommunication equipment providers, system integrators, and independent software vendors to deliver integrated and optimized solutions targeted at various joint customer engagements.


Interoperability, of course, is a big focus of the collaborative efforts.  Under this pillar, Intel and Red Hat will work together to enable third-party interoperability testing through activities such as performance tuning, plug fests, and hackathons.

These interoperability activities will be supported through new and existing innovation centers. Both companies will contribute resources to benchmark and validate Red Hat NFV and SDN solutions optimized on Intel Architecture.

Ultimately, all of these efforts are driven by the needs of service providers. They are looking to the ecosystem for NFV and SDN solutions that will allow them to quickly assemble the hardware and software they need to support new services and to enhance existing services to generate new revenue streams. To get there, they need parts that plug and play when combined into systems.

That’s a key goal of the Intel and Red Hat collaboration for NFV and SDN, as well as the broader Intel Network Builders Fast Track program. Visit the Intel Network Builders site to learn more on this and other collaborations to accelerate NFV and SDN.