Orchestration-First, Model-Driven NFV Cloud Management

NFV (network functions virtualization) is the evolution of telco and enterprise networks from propietary, physical network boxes to using specialized software to deploy, manage and scale network functions and services on generic, off-the-shelf hardware. Cloudify is an orchestration-first, model-driven cloud management platform native to NFV, that is open source and based on the TOSCA standard. Cloudify is inherently built for integration, OEMability and interoperability, enabling organizations to build best of breed NFV stacks - breaking the heavy, costly, and proprietary black box model of OSS and BSS.

Cloudify can be leveraged as both the NFVO and G-VNFM in the context of the ETSI MANO architecture, and is able to interact with multiple VIMs, containers, and even external and non-virtualized infrastructure and devices, OSS and BSS in a brownfield environment, all through a single pane of glass. VNF providers, telcos, and operators alike can realize the benefits of the cloud with Cloudify's assistance in the transition from non-virtualized appliance to virtualized, through cloud-native virtual network function (VNF), with full lifecycle management and orchestration - from the deployment phases, through intelligent placement awareness, service function chaining during runtime, all the way through Day 2 operations of management, monitoring, self-healing, scaling, and tear down.

Cloudify can communicate with any northbound or southbound API, along with any modeling language or protocols - NetConf, RestConf, YANG, Tail-f - enabling service providers, operators, and VNF vendors to plugin to Cloudify and revolutionize the way NFV can be delivered today.

Open and Embeddable NFV Orchestration for Cloud Native VNFs


Telcos and enterprises alike have been undergoing a transformation in the network, moving from physical appliances - firewalls, load balancers, routers, etc - to virtual network functions (VNF), which are essentially software versions of the same appliance running on generic, off-the-shelf hardware. While this move does make the network more dynamic and performance optimized, the next stage in this evolution is even more significant.

Cloud native VNFs are a much more disruptive revolution to this industry in both the architecture, to accommodate hyper-scale and multi-tenancy, as well as the business model, which needs to be more consumption based, rather than fixed.

Requirements for Cloud Native VNFs

The main requirements that differentiate a cloud native network function from the traditional network function are self-management, multi-tenancy, and scale. As we move to a cloud native virtual network function, the management piece, which formerly with a traditional network function was just an enabler that provided web-based configuration and control over the network function for the most part, has now become a central piece in the architecture that handles not just the configuration but the deployment, scaling, upgrades, and essentially the entire service’s lifecycle.

Cloudify & ARIA Cloud Native Support for Existing and New VNFs

ARIA is an open source, open governance lightweight TOSCA orchestration engine under the Apache Software Foundation. VNF providers should consider ARIA to gain TOSCA support, automation of deployment and configuration across multiple clouds such as OpenStack, VMware, or any other cloud, as well as portability between different container-based architectures such as Docker Swarm or Kubernetes.

Cloudify includes ARIA as its core orchestration engine, so by definition, it inherits all of ARIA’s capabilities in addition to the capabilities that are provided by Cloudify Manager. VNF providers should consider Cloudify in cases where they would want to gain more advanced management, ongoing automation and security such as:

  • Self-healing
  • Auto-scaling
  • Monitoring
  • Policy Management
  • Security and Multi-Tenancy

Cloudify vCPE & SD-WAN Network Orchestration


vCPE and SD-WAN are arguably the top priority for CSPs and Telcos right now as they look to significantly lower costs associated with virtualization and automation of their networks. However, there are two areas that are holding them back from reaping the benefits of pure, open source network automation: vendor lock-in and business model.

Vendor Lock-In

Most CSPs are looking for a turnkey solution that will take care of their network and automation, but when they get to orchestration, they generally settle with whatever orchestrator their proprietary hardware vendor gives them because it's free. And now, the Telco is stuck with that vendor - because it was easier.

vCPE Business Model

The vCPE business model was supposed to make a monumental shift when it was introduced, by lowering costs at all areas of the network and shifting only some of that cost to the Telco cloud side with software-based Virtual Network Functions. However, this didn't quite work for various reasons, including vendor lock-in.

Open Source, Future Proof vCPE with Cloudify

Open source orchestration from Cloudify enables Telcos and CSPs to break free from lock-in with a model-driven service design that delivers those same turnkey capabilities, and allows switching between network functions - physical and virtual, open and proprietary - in real-time, all while ensuring Day 0 to Day 2 operations are completed from a single blueprint.

It's time for Telcos take back their networks.


vCPE and SBC VNF Orchestration on VMware

Cloudify serves as both the NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) and VNF Manager (VNFM) in the ETSI NFV architecture model. Cloudify provides not only the power of TOSCA and open standards, but is also tightly integrated with the entire VMWare NFV stack. In this use case, we showcase how Cloudify orcehstrates the different pieces of an NFV stack on VMware. In this example, we have Brocade Vyatta as the basis for the vCPE VNF for connecting multiple branch offices and allowing for chaining additional services on the cloud. Metaswitch SBC was chosen to allow the customer to utilize existing on-premise PBX assets while enabling connectivity across branches and to external PBXs managed by a cloud based Session Border Controller.

Cloudify has a Netconf plugin as well as Netconf blueprint, that you can find in our examples catalog.


Show Me the Code

Clearwater vIMS VNF Orchestration

A Virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS) is a core network solution that delivers rich, real-time communication services to client devices, such as voice, video, etc. The Clearwater vIMS from Metaswitch is an open source VNF that is quite complex with over six microservices. Cloudify is able to configure, provision, and deploy the vIMS VNF in order to create an online Skype-like communications system with audio and video.

The OPNFV Functest team uses Cloudify to test the deployment of the Clearwater vIMS using the OPNFV platform numerous times per day as well.

Checkout the README and Clearwater blueprint in our examples catalog.


Show Me the Code

Cloudify participates in and sponsors diverse NFV projects and standards organizations, to help contribute to open source NFV MANO adoption.

GigaSpaces is an active participant in the TOSCA Technical Committee (TC) with 10 current members, while co-chairing the Instance Model workgroup, tasked with providing a complete representation of the state of a TOSCA service template deployment, as well as the Technical Marketing and Education ad-hoc, which promotes TOSCA's message and capabilities, and is building a community around the standard.

Cloudify has decided to release its core capabilities to the Apache Foundation through the ARIA project. ARIA is an open governance and source orchestration engine, providing an actual code base and library built on TOSCA, to strengthen TOSCA's adoption and enable simple incorporation to orchestration projects.

ONAP is a Linux Foundation project, merging both Open ECOMP and Open-O, that is working to allow end users to automate, design, orchestrate, and manage services and virtual functions in the network. Led by AT&T and China Mobile, Cloudify (GigaSpaces) is one a Founding Platinum member of this new initiative.


 Read More About Some of Our NFV Use Cases

Read our blog post on how Openness is the True Path to NFV.

Visit our Examples Catalog to Discover our NFV Blueprints & Plugins