Verizon reveals biggest OpenStack cloud build

26 April 2016 |


Verizon has revealed further details of its 18-month long NFV (network functions virtualization) architecture build, said to be the largest NFV OpenStack cloud deployment yet across five major data centres in the US.

Verizon is building the new architecture with Big Switch Networks, Dell, and Red Hat.

Verizon made the announcement of the build start at the Open Networking Summit in March  this year, and the latest developments were reported at the OpenStack Summit in Austin, Texas.

Verizon has been holding formal tests since last year and has had the first production sites running since December.

The experiment is as much to do with proving the suitability of Open Source and the efficiency of its community as a suitable partnership model for this type of ambitious build.

Verizon’s three partners have to integrate open source elements in such a way that they provide resiliency, security and stability of a carrier network with speed and bandwidth flexibility.

The four companies developed what they called a ‘pod-based’ design and have gone from concept to deployment of 50 racks in five data centres in less than ten months.

The project will be deployed at other data centres over the next few months said Verizon.

Verizon also intends to use the NFV design in  edge network sites by the end of 2016.

At the event, Darrell Jordan-Smith, Red Hat's vice president for worldwide information and communications technology, said the NFV core architecture gives it the ability to: "…build a network that changes at the pace of software, not at the pace of hardware."

Open Source was used by Verizon because it can theoretically be more reliable than the hardware it is running on. This is despite the fact that newer Open Compute installations will be installed on white-box hardware that may not boast the reliability that proprietary hardware boasts.

The sheer scale of this deployment may be the sign that the OpenStack cloud operating system is now a strong alternative to traditional IT enterprise deployments.

The fact that Verizon chose Red Hat against using their own OpenStack or OpenStack from Ubuntu is also interesting since the cloud giants such as AWS and Google  use Ubuntu Linux and their own OpenStack.

Verizon used OpenStack with Red Hat Ceph Storage, and Big Switch's Big Cloud Fabric for SDN controller software managing Dell switches.