NFV is the acronym which stands for “Network function virtualization”. It was basically an idea that we can take physical propriety hardware and virtualize big portions of it. You can still have physical components but a large percentage of the process is moved in to a virtual campaign. The concept and technology of virtualization has revolutionized the networking industry. It is very much the approach of deploying what we know today as our network application on virtual machines or a server rather than deploying them on bespoke hardware. This is being highly utilized and deployed by service providers today but we see this model being rapidly adopted by the rest of the service provider community as a whole and also very quickly in to the enterprise data center as well.
When deploying this it’s very much not a rip and replace and an absolute complement to your existing network architecture. It’s really deploying very rapidly and dynamically network functions on virtual machines or server hardware.
NFV is highly complementary for SDN (System defined network). The former is very much an evolution of your product strategy whereas SDN is the idea that hardware can be controlled programmatically. So in the market place you see both being used interchangeably and almost as the same thing but they are very different from each other. They are not dependent on each other; however, they can be combined for greater value.
Benefits of NFV:
- The deployment of this system is much faster, more rapidly and often as compared to the old hardware based system.
- There are business benefits attached with it particularly for service providers as they can provide services in seconds or minutes rather than days or weeks.
- In enterprise data center the ability to very quickly and dynamically deploy application delivery control type environment or router environment where they needed sometime by line of business in line with application needs.
- The biggest benefits for enterprises and service providers is the cost reduction element associated with it. Two major cost are capex and opex, capex is capital expenditure in assets and long-term projects where as opex is operational expenditure associated with the running cost of business. When it comes to capex enterprises can leverage their existing IT infrastructure and investments they have made in their current IT infrastructure. From opex point of view there is lot of scope for automation which brings down the operational costs. There is also power savings, better resource and inventory management and multiple factors associated with component savings as well.
- There is an agility to add new services .For example an enterprise has a virtual cp as a network service deployed in their IT infrastructure .Now to add a VPN service behind virtual cp with NFV architecture it’s almost like a single button push.