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CIO Review >> Magazine >> March - 2015 issue

5 Reasons Why NFV Deserves to be on your Radar


With ever increasing network traffic, service providers need to continuously ramp up their services to respond quickly to the rising market demands. Changing business requirements also call for rapid deployment of new services. Therefore, service providers are looking at effective ways to accelerate the deployment of network services and reduce process time. NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) and SDN (Software Defined Networking) solutions can help service providers reduce deployment time and can lower the risks of rolling out new services.
As enterprises and vendors increasingly look to take advantage of cloud principles such as virtualization and automation to streamline IT infrastructure, NFV and SDN will play a major role in the overall industry shift toward network and application virtualization. While SDN has gotten a lot of buzz in the media and other circles, NFV may actually have a much greater impact for corporate and service provider networks. A few points to consider:

• A recent poll showed that among CIOs and CTOs, NFV was the top trend impacting their roles (80%), and 36% chose NFV as the single most important trend affecting their roles. (This is far above mobility or any other single trend.) In addition, 85% predicted that NFV would become a major player in the communications service provider market within 3 years. NFV can enable communication service provider to introduce new and are able to run services quickly and cost-effectively. NFV drastically can reduce the costs and lower the risks of introducing new services.

• NFV is complementary to SDN. While SDN is focused on creating network abstractions to enable faster innovation, NFV holds the promise of reducing CAPEX, OPEX, space and power consumption – all worthy goals that will contribute to improved network performance and economics. NFV and SDN can lessen the CAPEX for wireless carriers as they come with the ability of eradicating the dependency on proprietary hardware platforms which are quiet expensive. In addition, both movements have the potential to foster open innovation, which can open markets to new third-party applications and tools. Besides this, with new network complexities entering the market there is always a need for emerging functionalities to resolve the network complexities.

• NFV (and SDN) can address most, if not all, of the inefficiencies and barriers to innovation that exist in current network infrastructures. Moreover, our SDN and NFV software offers service providers, semiconductor vendors, communication equipment providers (CEPs) and independent software vendors (ISV) with functions which can enhance the costs and accelerates time to market for innovative SDN solutions. Much as the public switched telephone network moved from all-analog, to digital for backhaul only, to nearly all digital transmission, corporate and service provider networks can move from the current status quo to a more efficient and manageable model.
Fragmented non-commodity hardware and physically installing appliances at each site? Gone. Is the hardware development barrier for new vendors? Also gone, and creating a massive opportunity for new breakthroughs.

• Application delivery networking (ADN) can provide great benefits for SDN. SDN is primarily focused on network control at the switch and controller level. With its granular visibility into applications, ADN can collect application-level intelligence and thus guide SDN-based switch packets for improved performance and security. ADN facilitates the extensibility through programmability. ADN along with SDN can afford and control the traffic management. ADN comes with an ability of ‘plug-in’ applications.

• OPNFV has brought together some of the best and brightest in the networking industry, with the goal of creating an open platform to support NFV. OPNFV will ensure reliability, consistency, performance and interoperability amongst the numerous open source components. I don’t think I need to belabor the point, but open, community-led and industry-supported initiatives have brought about great innovations that helped power the tech industry now and into the future.
Furthermore, Network Function Virtualization can replace the traditional hardware which is running on network functions by virtual servers running on a cloud platform. NFV can allow operators to deploy new features for their customers and build faster networks which are software-centric.
Network Functions Virtualization and Software-Defined Networking form a critical part of the industry’s shift towards network and application virtualization. They bring the benefits together and ensure high level of flexibility along with providing good opportunities to service providers. There is a lot more on the horizon for NFV, and in particular, the OPNFV. Keep them on your radar, and stay tuned for more to come!