The telecommunications industry has ways to make even the smartest of us sometimes feel lost, confused, and sometimes a bit dumbfounded. Another new concept pops up that might give you a headache when you catch the latest hot button buzzing in the industry, such as cloud computing, OpenFlow, and software-defined networking (SDN).
The latest new concept is called Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), and it has rightly established itself in industry conversations as another step towards creating a more agile and cheaper network infrastructure.
But what exactly is NFV, and how does it fit the current industry’s desire to implement more open, integrated, packet-based networks? Let’s start with the basics. According to ETSI, NFV’s goal is to transform the way network operators design their networks by advancing standard IT virtualization technology to integrate many types of network equipment into industry-standard high-capacity servers, switches and storage that can reside in data. centre, network or end customer premises. NFV replaces the traditional custom-designed network equipment (black box) that continues to dominate the installed network infrastructure.
Network operators should explore a host of NFV standards organizations whose agendas for NFV architectures overlap. These choices currently include ONAP, Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV), ETSI, Open Day Light Foundation (ODL), OpenStack, and Open Source MANO (OSM). Although most operators have a lot of open source NFV software to consider at the NFVi and MANO layers, they have little experience integrating the complex software systems required for a complete NFV solution.
- Reduce the cost of purchasing network equipment by migrating to software on standard servers
- Space, power and cooling efficiency
- Reduce deployment time
- Flexibility – Elastic capacity expansion and contraction
- Access to a broad independent software community, including open source