Opera’s Rocket platform extends lead in NFV applications, with new container support and elasticity

NFV-ready platform now supercharged for private or public cloud deployments

Opera announced today the availability of two important new Network Function Virtualization (NFV) features: containers and cloud elasticity.

Opera’s Rocket suite of analytics, optimization and monetization applications for service providers is already known for being first to market in virtualization, with deployments on virtual machines in public and private cloud. Now, with the addition of containers and cloud elasticity, the Rocket platform can automatically scale in or out in less than a second, ensuring mobile operators have the capacity they need when they need it.

“That means fewer server deployments and lower operating costs, while integrating seamlessly with NFV orchestrators using RESTful APIs,” says Nitin Bhandari, SVP of Products at Opera.

Container technology and cloud elasticity

Container technology, with its shared Linux kernel resources, allows operators to pack many more Rocket Optimizer container instances on a host machine (as shown in Figure 1), which means efficient use of server hardware, power and an overall lower footprint. Additionally, each of these container instances can be instantiated, operational and performing its optimization, monetization, or analytics function in real time.  These new NFV features are currently undergoing trials with a Tier-1 customer.

Figure 1 – Traditional virtual machine vs. container architectures

Elasticity allows Rocket applications to monitor resource utilization in real time. When available resources are insufficient to meet demand, new containers or virtual machines – depending on the deployment – will be requested and instantiated.  Likewise, when demand is reduced and can be serviced with fewer resources, containers or virtual machines will be destroyed and their resources returned to the shared pool (as shown in Figure 2). 

Figure 2 – Elasticity and dynamic allocation of shared pool

Advantages of Rocket platform over competitors

The Rocket platform architecture provides a unique advantage, as it decouples compute- intensive, data-plane tasks (e.g., optimization, analytics, monetization functions) and allows mobile operators to transfer these tasks to private or public cloud data-center infrastructures. For example, the Rocket Optimizer application can provide ~50-60% optimization savings while only inspecting 1% of the data-plane transactions. This is in contrast to competitors’ architectures that require inline appliances to inspect 100% of the data-plane and inefficiently hairpinning the traffic while generating far lower savings. 

Deploying virtualized Rocket applications in the cloud provides mobile operators various advantages.  First, a virtualized deployment does not require expensive, dedicated hardware. Second, the Rocket platform’s architecture allows mobile operators to use private, public or hybrid cloud infrastructures, allowing operators great flexibility in allocating costs as capital vs. operating expenditures and enabling them to easily deal with unexpected spikes in traffic.  Lastly, it helps them simplify software upgrades by simply instantiating a new container or virtual machine with new software pre-installed instead of going through a standard and time-consuming software upgrade process.

The Rocket suite’s new container and elasticity capabilities, driven by customer demand, is part of Opera’s ongoing commitment to innovate while lowering costs and increasing functionality and the efficiency of service delivery.